CVB News

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?

CustomViewbook 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.

A Message From The CustomViewbook Team

On behalf of all of us at CustomViewbook, we hope this message finds you safe and well. As we all do our part to inhibit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our communities and campuses, we want to be of help to Higher Education in any way we can.

We are grateful to see our clients taking the right precautions to mitigate the spread of this virus, and to keep students, faculty and communities as safe and as informed as possible.

We are fortunate that our parent company, Antech Systems, Inc., puts health and family first and provided a work-from-home policy, allowing us to continue the high level of service our clients expect.

As we all navigate through the months ahead, virtual tools will be especially vital to your Admissions and Recruitment efforts. And you may already have powerful solutions at your disposal to support student engagement – including CustomViewbook’s ability to safely reach students around the world when you can’t be there in person. We’re ready when you are to help engage prospective students – together.

Wishing good health to you and those around you,

The CustomViewbook Team

Colorado State University and CustomViewbook: When Client Insight Meets Student Needs, An Engagement Innovation is Born!

CRM YouBlast: The Power of Personalized CustomViewbooks, Automated From Your CRM

Noting that prospective first year students often indicate a diverse set of academic and student life interests, our Colorado State University client asked us: Is there a way to provide students individualized, tailor-made content, straight from their Slate CRM?

Great question!

The CustomViewbook team dove right in to plan and develop an innovative solution that allows Slate’s CRM (and all popular CRMs) to share data with our secure server. The result, our new CRM YouBlast tool, gives Colorado State the power to automate creation of personalized CustomViewbooks from within Slate. With the click of a few buttons, they are now able to create personalized CustomViewbooks that match any combination of the diverse Academic and Student Life interests their prospects have.

Prairie Smallwood, Content Marketing Specialist at Colorado State, gives the new tool high marks.CRM YouBlast has allowed Colorado State University to introduce an instant, personalized experience for our prospective students who may have previously interacted with us. Sending a student an email with their personalized link to their very own CustomViewbook means they can get to the information they want to see – and only the information they want to see – without having to wade through pages and pages of academic, housing, and extracurricular information they aren’t looking for. Everything they’ve previously shown interest in will already be selected in their CVB, along with the option to easily edit as they narrow their search and hone their interest areas at Colorado State University. Right now, we are using CRM YouBlast early in the recruitment funnel, and are really pleased with the engagement rates we are seeing, with unique open rates at 39.6% and unique click rates at 9.2%.”

Go Prairie and Team CO State!

More good news? Colorado State has no hesitation about sharing this breakthrough – the CRM YouBlast feature has been added to our suite of tools and is available to all clients. And yes, it works with all leading CRMs.

For more information on how CustomViewbook digital viewbook platform can help you capture high value leads, and boost student engagement throughout the recruitment funnel, please contact

At UIC The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Creativity Drives Student Engagement

When Jannie Kirby accepted her post as Director of Communications and Marketing at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC LAS), she set out to support the recruitment team by adding a digital experience that prospective students could not refuse!

Jannie worked with her Student Affairs group and CustomViewbook to tackle one of the main challenges that many Liberal Arts schools have – capturing the attention of Gen Z prospective students who have interest in the liberal arts, but may be concerned about career preparedness and a viable post-college path. Together, Jannie, with input from LAS’s Career Development folks, created a Viewbook experience that brings alive the spirit and depth of their diverse programs and vibrant campus life, while providing academic content that underscores the ‘real-world’ value of a liberal arts and sciences education. This content includes inspiring student testimonials, faculty videos, alumni career profiles, experiential learning and internship highlights, and information about minors that can offer a pragmatic complement to a liberal arts’ major.

So far, LAS’s CustomViewbook has proven to be a big hit with prospective students and the recruitment team alike! Jannie noted, “We had a fall Open House and were really pleased with the student enthusiasm for CustomViewbook. The recruitment team really made it a fun event with large banners and signage with QR codes, snippets of student testimonials to encourage prospective students to explore our majors, and chances to win prizes with a ‘Wheel of Fortune’-styled giveaway for those who created their own Viewbook. We captured over 426 new leads through face to face interactions, alone.

“We are really happy with the level of enthusiasm we’ve seen to date. We are not merely pushing info. Students are telling us what interests them the most, which is a great setup for more meaningful dialogue with advisors. We were surprised by some of the most popular areas of interest under ‘Campus Life’, which in turn has informed our web content and communications efforts. We’re incorporating the ViewBook into our social media outreach as well.  It’s exciting to see the number of repeat visitors grow and gain new insights about student preferences. For us, CustomViewbook has been a great addition to our lead nurturing and yield efforts, and we are excited to be leveraging digital technology, creative storytelling, and a tailored student experience to reach Gen Z. They’ve pretty much grown up with digital.  We want to connect with them using a customized approach that they understand and can fully appreciate.”

To learn more about how CustomViewbook can help you capture high value leads and drive lead nurturing and yield efforts, contact

5 Ways to Help Your Email Campaigns Avoid Spam Filters

News flash from the future (aka 2020): email campaigns are still one of the most effective components of a college’s admissions marketing strategy. In our GenZ Labs user testing sessions, prospective students point to email as the most trusted form of communication from Admissions offices. But they also report that their inboxes are flooded with messages and they quickly determine the good, the bad and the “hit the spam button!”

Whether you rely on a sophisticated CRM or a more basic email software to reach them, prospective students are acting as real live spam filters. Fortunately, they’re candid about what turns them off or earns their focus. Combine their insights with tried-and-true best practices for email campaigns, and you’re on your way to open and click-through rates that sing “ROI!’

1. I’ll pass on a weak subject line. Both your recipients and spam filters begin with the subject line of your email to judge its worthiness. Choose your words with care — you want concise subject lines that are personalized in a natural-feeling way, relevant to the student’s expressed interests and offer a compelling reason to open. Keep spam filters happy by avoiding all caps (WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?), excessive punctuation (…, !!!, and ???), and overly “spammy” words and phrases (free, act now, guaranteed, be amazed, etc).

2. Make it personal and keep it simple. While spam filters can be triggered by an imbalance of images and text or excessive links in email content, prospective students have their own criteria. Emails that are generic, obviously cut-and-pasted, too “salesy” or simply irrelevant to their actual interests are a big turn-off. “Generic cut and paste. Ewwwww.” Students feel the same about complex or confusing content that isn’t quickly consumed. Whenever possible, focus on the recipient’s known interests, speak to them by name, and make it clear how they can learn more with a singular call-to-action. Simple, visually interesting content is far more likely to achieve high click-through rates – use it to gain their trust and keep nurturing!

3. Don’t be redundant. These digital natives move quickly across media (email, websites, social media, texts, chatbots, instant messaging) and devices (smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop), all in one day during their college search. They pick up on and are turned off by repetitive messaging, so make sure yours is varied. Consider decreasing your planned push communications – a less is more approach – and be sure to exclude students from receiving duplicate emails.

4. Let me unsubscribe. Offer a link to opt out of future emails and honor unsubscribe requests within 10 days – it’s a good practice that will keep you compliant with the Federal CAN-SPAM Act.

5. I get a ton of emails – are you even sure I’m getting yours? Test your emails to ensure deliverability. There are various tools to help you pull a report on how email providers view your IP address, and ensure deliverability. Knowing where you stand will help you focus on what needs to be improved.

Quality is King! Having the most highly qualified leads available is the foundation for creating the most compelling – and spam-proof – communications. We’d love to show you how! Contact and schedule a demo to learn how the CustomViewbook platform will help you capture leads that are 4.5X more likely to become enrolled.

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.


Holiday Gratitude List …

This past year at CustomViewbook has been one of continued growth, collaboration and innovation.
We are grateful for so much!

Our clients’ success. Working with the best Higher Ed clients on the planet has been an honor and a pleasure. We love hearing about their every success, including more effective engagement campaigns, increases in yield, and more cost-effective, targeted use of print materials.

New ways to innovate. We became a Slate Preferred Partner in 2019 and launched our latest innovation, CRM YouBlast. It’s been thrilling to watch as it works right from Slate and other popular CRMs to achieve fantastic engagement rates with prospective students.

The best collaborators. We have much gratitude for our Advisory Panel, each member a seasoned expert in Higher Ed Admissions or Marketing Communications, for providing clear-sighted feedback and insights that are gold. And we are grateful for the steadfast support of our vision and efforts by our parent company, Antech Systems, Inc.

Big things ahead. We’re excited to continue to evolve and deliver a product that improves Admissions and Recruitment practices, helps our clients stay on track with changing needs in the marketplace, and meets the needs and wants of prospective students.

We wish you Holidays filled with laughter and joy, and an outstanding, successful New Year.

Onward to a wonderful 2020!


“A Statistically Significant Positive Enrollment Indicator”

When it comes to statistics, our client at SUNY Buffalo State College does not mess around.

Dave Loreto, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, has presented nationally on CRM technology, predictive analytics and international student recruitment. He has also coauthored a research publication in Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly on the use of predictive modeling and CRM technology in admissions recruitment planning. So, when we hear some really cool results from Dave – we are elated!

“We have used our CustomViewbook in ViewbookBlast campaigns to accepted students; in calls-to-action on our website; and in lead nurturing email campaigns. Each type of campaign has contributed positively to yield, with those students who found CustomViewbook organically indicating the greatest interest and engagement. Regardless of the source, we see any interaction with the CustomViewbook as a statistically significant positive enrollment indicator.”

Total Yield for Fall and Spring (18/19):

  • Unique CVB users | ViewbookBlast: 82% Increase in Deposit Rate
  • Unique CVB Users | Website: 102% Increase in Deposit Rate
  • Unique CVB Users | Lead Nurturing Campaigns: 123% Increase in Deposit Rate

 Thank you for sharing some great news, Dave!

Want to know more about how  we can help you capture, engage and convert prospective students?
Contact Mary Pannullo for an informative and fun demo and learn how the CustomViewbook platform including the Recruiter App™ for iPad, ViewbookBlast™ and CRM YouBlast™ tools can help you meet your recruitment goals!




NACAC 2019: Louisville, KY – Here We Come!

The CustomViewbook team is headed to Louisville, where we will be exhibitors at the NACAC National Conference, (September 26 – 28). 
If you are headed to NACAC – please stop by Booth #229!

Jenna, Ginny and Mary will be at the helm with warm greetings and demos to show you how CustomViewbook helps our clients get the most highly-qualified leads available, and soaring campaign engagement rates.

We are now a Slate Preferred Partner.  And we have great new features to show you:
• CRM YouBlasts™
• New Client Demos
• Rock-Solid Client Results

Participants will receive the latest reports from our GenZ Labs user testing sessions – “Generation Z College Search Report” and “Generation Z and CustomViewbook.” And of course, one of our famous, super-soft t-shirts.

Want to know more, now?
Check out our brand new video and learn how CustomViewbook can help you capture the Most Highly-Qualified Leads Available and amplify Engagement Rates throughout the student recruitment journey.

Can’t wait to connect with you soon!

Announcement! CustomViewbook is a Slate Preferred Vendor …

We get it – CRMs are command central for much of Higher Ed admissions and recruitment – and for some institutions, the entirety of the student lifecycle. Data integration and automation have become tools of the trade to attract and engage more prospective students, simplify the admissions process and increase conversions.

Our aim is one with our clients – and prospective clients!  We are happy to announce that we are now a member of the Slate Preferred Partner Program, a network of organizations that share a commitment to support transformational effects on the world of higher education. The Slate Preferred Partner Program recognizes organizations that integrate with Slate and offer implementation support, and have a deeper understanding of the Slate product functionality and processes and have access to a variety of resources and insights into best practices.

The CEO of CustomViewbook’s parent company, Antech Systems, Inc., Vincent Martinez, is fully on board. A data man himself, Vince says, “CustomViewbook is excited to become a Slate Preferred Vendor. This is the next step in our platform’s evolution and it will enable future innovation to expand on our existing CRM integration features. We’ve clearly heard from our higher ed clients that these data integration features are important to maximize their return on investment of their CRM purchase and becoming a Slate Preferred Vendor will assist in that objective.”

Slate Preferred Partners have an expressed commitment to providing Slate users with options for only the most exceptional service. Each vendor or organization has meet key requirements and adds unique value to the Slate user community.

Slate Preferred Partners are listed in a directory available within all Slate databases. Institutions looking for supplemental Slate support and integration services can use the directory as a resource and have confidence in knowing each participant has been vetted by Technolutions and approved for participation.

Please contact Mary Pannullo ( if you have any questions about CustomViewbook data integration with Slate, or other popular higher ed CRMs.