The Story That Students Buy

At Greenstone Media, we understand what colleges want – more students enrolled in their institution. So much money goes into all sorts of marketing, but in many cases, that marketing doesn’t achieve the desired results. 

It’s no secret that marketing works. We see evidence of that every day. So, what’s going on with your marketing message that’s preventing it from doing its job and attracting prospective students? 

That’s what Greenstone Media is here to help you uncover.

Telling the Story

If you think about it, life is one big story. It’s composed of a number of chapters, each with its own degree of importance. This is something that you’ve got to take advantage of in order to get students to enroll. They have to want to make your college part of their story, and they have to want to play a role in the story that your college is writing. 

Telling a story isn’t something you do passively. And it’s not something that occurs without adequate planning. If you jump into your story headfirst, with no strategy and no map, you’ll find that the plot is aimless and meaningless. 

Your story needs guidelines. Your audience needs to understand that you’re taking them somewhere, and they need to feel secure throughout the journey. All of this should be engaging enough for students to want to get involved – AKA enroll in your college. If they can envision themselves in the protagonist’s seat at your educational institution, you’re doing something right.

Components of a Story

A good story has seven key parts. While there are millions and millions of different plots in the creative world, if you look closely, every good one follows this framework. 

Here are the seven parts of every good story:

  1. A Dynamic Character

    1. In your college’s case, this character is the prospective student.
  2. A Problem

    1. An audience wants to see a problem solved. What you need to do is figure out the problem that your audience (prospective students) is facing and offer a solution.
  3. Meeting a Guide

    1. In this case, that guide is your institution. This is who offers your ‘hero’ a helping hand. At this point, you will teach your protagonist how to solve their problem.
    2. It’s important to note that using the word ‘we’ in your copy isn’t as effective as using the word ‘you.’ Your audience is looking for a solution to their problem. At the moment, they are centered on themselves and what your institution can do for them.
  4. Making a Plan

    1. Without a plan, your audience won’t be inspired to act. To get them to make a move, your plan needs to have a simple and clear first step.
    2. Clear means avoiding vague language like ‘read more’ or ‘learn more.’ In this instance, your audience needs you, the authority, to tell them what moves to make. Language like ‘schedule a call today’ works much better. It’s actionable.
    3. After the first step of the plan, move them onto the second. Let them know what comes next. For most colleges, this involves filling out an application.
    4. The last part of your plan is showing your audience what success looks like if they enroll with you.
  5. Calling to Action

    1. Without a clear and concise call to action, your audience won’t be inspired to engage with your content. The call to action should be what your audience needs to get them to change their life by enrolling at your school.
    2. Don’t be vague! Tell them exactly what they should do in order to brighten their future.
  6. Avoiding Failure

    1. You want to make your audience feel as if they’re doing something valiant by enrolling with you.
    2. Placing a bit of pressure on your prospective students is a good thing. Let them know what could happen if they don’t enroll with you. This allows them to see the flip side of the coin – the result they don’t want.
    3. Don’t overdo it; simply allow them to see the consequences.
  7. Achieving Success

    1. What you want to do is create a dreamboard for your audience. Show them what success looks like before they achieve it themselves. That way, they know what they’re striving for. It’s so close that they can taste it!
    2. This taste of success is what many prospective students need in order to make it through the application process. If they’re given a vision of a bright future for themselves, it makes them want to do the work to achieve it.

Writing Your Story

You want your story to be the one that students buy, and we want to help make that happen. This blog post outlined the general idea of putting this idea into action, but our ebook goes even further into detail. 

Download the ebook here and learn how you can attract your audience by including them in your story! 

Want to know more about telling the story that get’s student to buy?

Get the eBook