User focused content

Freeze Out Summer Melt. Engage Students and Families with Virtual and Digital Tools.

The dreaded phenomenon of summer melt: three months that feel like a year for college admissions and enrollment management. Each year, 10% to 40% of students, accepted and deposited in the spring, drop off before completing their enrollment journey.

We understand how 17- and 18-year-olds who just spent months getting accepted can feel overwhelmed at this stage. Suddenly confronted with complex forms and deadlines, they grapple with FAFSA applications, supplemental loans, the reality of tuition costs, housing, orientation, registering for class, confirming their major, transportation and the most current COVID requirements. Not to mention the big leap away from home, family, and friends. Especially at-risk are low-income, first generation, and underserved populations who may lack the support system at home to help push through these barriers to the final stages of enrollment. Confusion, self-doubt and anxiety can set in. And for certain, COVID-19 has only complicated matters.

For college admissions, it’s more vital than ever to support and encourage prospective students and their families, especially those most vulnerable to melt. At the same time, many schools are having to do more with less – leaner budgets, reduced admissions and recruitment staff, and summer months filled with administrative tasks. While no college app or AI chatbot can replace the personal individualized touch, virtual and digital tools are powerful ways to combat overwhelm, provide clarity, and have future students seeing and feeling the bigger, brighter picture just over the horizon, right on your campus.

  • Offer Centralized Support
    Create a ‘first stop’ student portal on your website so that accepted students can ask questions, be directed to the right resources, and confidently take next steps.
  • Inspire with Quality Content:
    At this stage, your accepted students have already formed a strong impression of your unique value proposition and brand. Digital ads, email, text, and social media campaigns should direct future students to website landing pages and multimedia experiences where students can explore and immerse themselves in the best of your academic, campus and experiential offerings with high quality videos, imagery, and interactive experiences.
  • Peer-to-Peer Impact:
    Provide a level of authentic connection and mentorship with student takeovers of your social media platforms. Have student ambassadors, honor society members, and program rock stars primed and ready to take over your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Providing students with a peer-to-peer, day in the life peek behind the scenes at academics, student life, research, clubs, and organizations brings possibilities to life with joy and fun – and can bring a new confidence to students’ decision making.
  • Maximize the Use of Virtual Tools.
    Virtual tools have provided a level of connection and access previously unavailable, especially for international and out-of-state and students who may not be able to make it to campus. Use these newly integrated tools to host town halls, open houses and decision day events where prospective students and their families can be introduced to and have direct access to the college president, leadership, faculty, and staff.
  • Engage Parents
    The parents of your accepted students, Gen X, primarily use Facebook as their preferred social media. Target parents with social media advertising that has messaging distinctly for them, driving them to landing pages and resources specific to their primary concerns, like financial aid, health resources, commuting, housing and safety.
  • Provide Continual Engagement and Nudges
    Texting and Chat bots have been shown to be effective ways to keep this non-linear decision-making process moving forward, with students getting real-time answers about orientation, housing, financial aid, loan applications and deadlines.

Let us help!
CustomViewbook provides prospective students with all the information they want in one personalized best-in-class digital experience. And, the highly-qualified inquiries you need. Mobile ready and with nothing to download, students are immersed in the best of your academic, student life and experiential offerings, with helpful next steps to support them through application, financial aid, connecting with campus, and more.

Contact Mary Pannullo for demo. ( )
We’ll can’t wait to show you how CustomViewbook and its suite of tools will help you capture stealth shoppers, including international and out-of-state students, and nurture inquiries at every stage of the recruitment journey.

Inspiration From Across The Globe. The Alice Smith School’s CustomViewbook Wins a Brilliance Award.

We were thrilled when our clients at the Alice Smith School, an international private school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, told us that they had submitted their CustomViewbook to the 2020 InspirED School Marketers’ Annual Brilliance Awards, sponsored by miXed digital EDU.
(Brilliant ideas and brain food for private school marketing worldwide).

Alice Smith’s captivating CustomViewbook earned a Bronze Award in the category ‘Out of the Box’, with some wonderful comments from judges, and from our esteemed client.

“In a year in which many schools were closed, this feels like a personalized visit . . .”

” . . . it resonates with the next generation of prospective families. Where this approach shines is in the displaying of what the viewer wants to know about the school, not what the school wants the viewer to know. Really smart.”

The team at The Alice Smith School utilizes vibrant images and clear messaging – the perfect recipe for an effective, award-winning and captivating CustomViewbook.

“When the pandemic hit and we could no longer provide in person events and tours the CustomViewbook became a significant feature in our enrollment campaigns being used both in outbound advertising and lead nurturing but also by our Admissions team who provide bespoke viewbook links to families based on the information they have shared with us. The system is easy to use and update and the time invested in providing the depth of information for each family’s individual needs has been incredibly worthwhile.” – Andrea Grassby, Director of Marketing and Admissions

Bravo to Andrea, Karen and the Alice Smith team!

You can check out their CustomViewbook and more about the awards here.

Client Spotlight: Newman University

In Challenging Times, Creativity Wins Out.

All years must come to an end – to ring in something new and better. Good-bye 2020. Hello New Beginnings in 2021!

Before we part for the Holidays, we want to express our gratitude to our amazing Clients, and our admiration to the Admissions, Enrollment Management, Marketing and Digital Communications professionals we’ve met throughout the year. Despite the extraordinary challenges of COVID-19, the grit and determination of these Higher Education pros shines through!

Here is a fine example…


Geoff Louvar

Geoff Louvar, Admissions Digital Marketing Manager at Newman University, shared how he and the team are keeping it real and student-focused, while pivoting to virtual recruiting events and online sessions.

“As an Admissions team we are very fortunate to have CustomViewbook in our toolbox to recruit students during the COVID19 Pandemic. With students unable or willing to visit campus in-person, we have moved our recruiting events and visits online in a virtual format. The CustomViewbook allows students to receive and create their own personalized view book in a medium they use the most often – their phones. CustomViewbook has provided us with a “cool” factor advantage versus our competition that are relying on printed view books alone.”

Geoff generously shared some of the photos created for upcoming social media and print campaigns – cool, casual and sure to engage eyeballs and capture fresh new student inquiries.

Onward — to meet the challenges of 2021 with online and digital tools that meaningfully personalize the college search experience for prospective students, enhance virtual and in-person connections, and empower students and recruiters.

Connecting With Students In A Digital-First World

Just as colleges and universities swiftly implemented new ways to provide academic continuity for enrolled students during the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, higher ed admissions offices have found themselves mastering new skills as well. Constantly changing messaging, remote recruiting and virtual events – online student recruitment? You are already there.

The shift has been seismic for prospective students well. High school sophomores and juniors can’t help but feel sidelined themselves, as senior classmates graduate with very little pomp and circumstance. In these distant times, how can you connect with them in a more meaningful way?

CustomViewbookTM was designed to help students focus on how education can bring their hopes and dreams closer to reality – even the current one. Answering the questions about your institution that continue to be top of mind – what’s here for me, how can I make it happen, and where can I go from here – CustomViewbook allows you to email personalized content to engage, inform and reassure each prospective student.

A few things to keep in mind when helping your Generation Z prospects find their way in this season of uncertainty:

  • They’re digital natives accustomed to having things personalized for them, from playlists and newsfeeds to all kinds of product features. Help them feel seen with specific, dynamic, customized communication.
  • They aren’t excited about more frequent emails – just more relevant ones.
  • They’re pragmatic and rethinking what’s possible all the time. You can take a segmented approach to offer individualized options, such as regional campaigns that focus on local alternatives for college.
  • They’re cautious marketing targets. Authentic, brief and direct subject lines and calls-to-action give them the confidence that you can be trusted.

Whether capturing stealth shoppers on your website or from social media, or strategizing email campaigns that cut through the clutter and deliver meaningful engagement, we are here to help! Contact Mary Pannullo ( for an informative demo.

Reduce Print Costs: Striking the Balance Between Print and Digital in Higher Ed Admissions’ Marketing

The trends vary. While every institution has their own take on the strategic use of print pieces for prospective students, each grapple with the same considerations. What is the right balance between print and digital? Where in the recruitment cycle? What kind of pieces? Does Generation Z even look at print? Is it really just for parents?

In our Gen Z Labs user testing sessions, the students are pretty adamant. They only prefer print pieces:

  • if they asked for it
  • if the information is specifically relevant to their interests
  • if it’s brief, factual – not too ‘salesy’
    *Oh, and they like stickers, too.

Our CVB Clients tell us that print is here to stay, though how they use it is evolving. Many are shifting away from expensive, one-size-fits-all print viewbooks. Instead, they start the recruitment cycle with inexpensive print pieces (postcards, tri-fold brochures) inviting prospective students to create their own CustomViewbooks. Once more qualifying information about the prospective student is captured, a targeted print piece is sent, with content relevant to the prospect’s interest. For many of our clients, this streamlined approach has resulted in reduced print production costs.

“CustomViewbook has played a significant role in reducing our print costs. We don’t use very much print anymore, and are making our main piece even smaller. Our bigger main piece is for out-of-state. Our smaller bread-and-butter pieces are driving students to create their own CustomViewbook. When we have VIP visitors to campus, we print out the Viewbook itself.”

“Print is here to stay but its purpose is changing. Because there is a big shift to digital, we use print pieces as something special and extra-personal to get. We use them less often.”

“There are shifts happening but not as quickly as you’d might expect. People are still using quite a bit of print, maybe shorter pieces and not as frequently.”

We get it – print and digital communications should work hand-in-hand!  CustomViewbook has two customizable print designs available for our clients, (a hand-out piece and a self-mailer), each working to build awareness and drive prospects to create their own CVB.  And, we can help clients track the effectiveness of these print campaigns with specific source URLs.

Want to learn more about how CustomViewbook can help make your print strategy more effective? Contact Mary Pannullo ( and schedule a demo, now.


Generic Email = “Eewww”

How To Cut Through the Clutter and Grab the Attention of Generation Z   

In our recent GenZ Labs User Testing Group, we asked college-bound juniors and seniors, “Do you receive emails from colleges and universities?

Their answers were quite impassioned:

“My inbox is flooded with emails from other colleges. I don’t even look at my emails now. So much clutter.”

“A lot of the email feels like generic information – they are not targeting you. It feels like they copy and paste a template and feels very generic. Eeewww.”

“If the information is not targeted for me – or pertaining to me in any way – it is not important. It’s like, ‘No Thanks,’ You’re just spamming up my email.”

We understand the challenge of actively engage Generation Z students.

Providing opportunity for a simple, immediate exploration of your offerings, with follow-up that is student-interest driven, personalized and authentic – is key.

That is exactly how we designed, and continue to evolve, the CustomViewbook platform. By keeping the end user experience in focus, our clients continue to get outstanding results.

Check it out for yourself! Contact Mary Pannullo to schedule a fast-paced, informative demo of CustomViewbook, including the Recruiter App for iPad and ViewbookBlasts. (


The mobile natives aren’t restless. They’re hyper-connected.

While their millennial siblings may be the pioneers who blazed trails with mobile phone in hand, GenZ is the first truly mobile native generation. For student prospects who grew up with connected devices within reach, instant access to information at all times is expected, and judgment can be swift. With a lifetime of practice bouncing rapidly from one subject to another, hyper-connected GenZ uses their cell phones for everything from staying in touch with friends to confidently navigating unfamiliar territory – like their futures.

Think about it: more than 80% of your GenZ prospects will be using a smartphone when they first search your school’s website. Nearly the same percentage say the school’s website influences their perception of a school, making their experience at initial inquiry a critically important touch point to compel engagement and give them confidence in your school’s ability to meet their needs.

So, how can higher ed successfully engage GenZ prospects from the start? By helping each mobile native focus on what really matters during their college search. Linked to from your website, CustomViewbook provides a user experience specifically designed with GenZ in mind. As a student prospect creates a digital Viewbook featuring information she chooses herself, she begins exploring how your school fits into her plans and dreams, including academic subjects, campus life, financing, future job prospects and more.

The result is a personalized resource that instantly makes each student prospect feel seen, heard and connected. And because their interests have been captured for your database, and will continue to be updated upon revisits, you’re in a better position to assist their journey.

That’s a hyper-promising way to start finding the right fit for both of you.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo.

“Going All-In On Prospective Students” Webinar is Available!


The 2nd of our ENGAGE Z webinar series, “Going All-In On Prospective Students: How To Improve Your Web Content Strategy” is available.

Our presenter, Tony Rose, Partner and Executive U/X Strategist at Digital Wave Technologies, has generously made a copy of the presentation available to anyone interested. We also have a recording of the presentation we can share with you.

Please contact Mary Pannullo at to request these materials.

To Your Success – and a Happy Thanksgiving, too!

Don’t Miss out! Free Webinar: How To Improve Your Web Content Strategy

Mark Your Calendars!  As part of our ENGAGE Z Webinar series, we will have a presentation of
“Going All In on Prospective Students: How to Focus on Your GenZ Users Without Alienating Everyone Else.”

Hear from Executive UX Strategist and Partner at Digital Wave Technologies, Tony Rose.
With Tony, and our own James Horigan, EVP of CustomViewbook onboard, a depth of good information and insights will be shared! And, we’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A.

Thursday, November 9 at 11:45AM
See more and be sure to Register Here!