Bradley has become a new member of Facebook, but it isn’t using the site for social networking.
The university is finding new, cost effective ways to recruit prospective students as people begin to spend more and more time on the Internet, specifically social networking sites.
“Currently the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is running a national advertising campaign on Facebook using Google AdWords,” said Thomas Richmond, Executive Director of Enrollment Management for Admissions Marketing and Communications. “[They are also] using an Internet marketing company to place advertisements at hundreds of national websites and dozens of lesser-known sites.
“By using an Internet marketing company. They can target the ads to specific areas to gauge interest. A current campaign we are running with an Internet marketing company has displayed more than six million advertisements at hundreds of popular sites in targeted cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and New York.”
Richmond said the campaign has already attracted a lot of attention for Bradley.
“In the past six months we’ve had more than 47 million impressions on Facebook pages targeted to high school students, resulting in more than 4,000 of these students clicking on a Bradley advertisement and being driven to the Bradley website,” he said.
Though a smaller number, Google AdWords also helps to drive site traffic.
“On Google, using AdWords, we have made more than one million impressions resulting in more than 700 people clicking on our advertisements and coming to the Bradley admissions website.”
Aside from Internet advertising, Bradley sends out a lot of direct mail to prospective students, Richmond said.
“The majority of Bradley advertising and promotion outside of Peoria is direct mail,” he said. “Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions spends about 25 cents per name for students across the United States who have taken a survey or test and indicated an interest in a major that Bradley offers. This is fairly effective, as we don’t end up advertising to people who are looking for majors in agriculture, architecture, dance and other popular programs that we simply don’t offer.”
Richmond said Bradley does not do much traditional print advertising.
“We spend almost none of our advertising resources on traditional print, though we do have a full-page paid article in the magazine called Private Colleges and Universities,” he said. “We find the online opportunities and direct mail are more cost effective for reaching the kinds of students and families that might find the Bradley experience worth considering. For the same price of one month on a billboard in Chicago or a half-page advertisement in a St. Louis newspaper, we can reach millions of potential students across the country.”
Associate Vice President for Communications Shelley Epstein said Bradley’s new advertising campaign is relatively different and new compared to what most universities are doing.
“Tom has purchased ads on various social media to promote Bradley and try to recruit more students,” he said. “The university’s initiative in that area is pretty cutting edge.”