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Audiences

To achieve university website goals, our pages must seamlessly connect users with relevant content that speaks to them and answers their needs. Consistently shaping messaging to align with university guidelines and voice, while presenting a homogeneous web format and image furthers overall web success.

Content will resonate differently with each user, depending on their needs and interests when visiting the site. Decide what audience you are trying to reach, and develop content based on your target; this can be broken down into persona groups.

We use personas, or fictional representations of our ideal users, when creating and structuring website messaging.

Generally, a user will fall into one of these groups:


Prospective students

Light-hearted, digestible content appeals to this group. During the evaluation stage of the college search, prospective students browse the website to get a feel for what the university offers. They are less likely to spend an extended time on a single page as they scan for a quick reflection of the university as a whole. They are unfamiliar with the website’s navigation, and will get lost in text-heavy or image-less pages.

This group is likely to respond to messaging that reflects:

  • Advantages of SDSU campus life
  • Student involvement
  • Campus clubs and organizations
  • Academic opportunities
  • Brookings community

Our recent prospective student market research outlines top reasons for interest in considering SDSU, including: affordable tuition, safe environment, high job placement rate of graduates, university size, strong academics in desired majors and good financial aid packages.

Consider developing your messaging strategy to mirror these attributes. Here are a few example statements that positively impact a prospective student’s impression of SDSU:

  • SDSU is committed to providing access to higher education for all types of academic abilities and financial circumstances.
  • SDSU educates students beyond the classroom in experiential learning, leadership and global awareness to prepare them to be citizens of the world.
  • Surrounding students with academic excellence and a powerful network of support services enables dreams to be realized and assures that graduates are exceptionally well prepared for their future careers.
  • The educational experience at SDSU is about so much more than the classroom. It’s about innovation and discovering real solutions for real problems.

Although prospective students look for quick information, they also are positively engaged by language that excites. When encouraging prospective students to complete an action on your web page, shape messaging to inform and excite the user.


Current students

Content that emboldens campus spirit and engagement appeals to this group. Current students search for content that connects them to university resources—tutoring, advising, event listings and involvement opportunities. Now that they’ve committed to the university, they look for ways to branch out. They may be uncertain of the best route to find this information on the website.

This group is likely to respond to messaging that reflects:

  • Academic support
  • Campus events and news
  • Student clubs and organizations
  • Experiential learning opportunities
  • On-campus employment
  • Intramural sports

Parents

 As an influential figure in a prospective student’s college decision, parents respond well to tailored content that reflect their point of view. They seek validation of a university’s ample academic, financial aid and safety resources. Straight-forward messaging that outlines what they can expect from the university enhances their website experience.

This group is likely to respond to messaging that reflects:

  • Scholarship and financial aid
  • Safety and security
  • Academic opportunities
  • Advising resources
  • Student clubs and organizations

Stakeholders and partners

As investors in the university, stakeholders and partners look to keep updated on ongoing research, infrastructure and academic program developments. This group may have trouble working through the mass of student-centered web pages to find content specific to their interests. To effectively speak to this group, shape your messaging to reflect an optimistic tone that conveys progress.

This group is likely to respond to messaging that reflects:

  • University-wide research efforts
  • Faculty and staff accomplishments
  • Campus events and news
  • Academic department and program growth

Resources

*NOTE: THIS GUIDE IS IN DRAFT FORM AS WE ADOPT AND EMPLOY VARIOUS METHODS FOR GOVERNING AND MAINTAINING CONSISTENT CONTENT.