Columbia College in Chicago is an interesting, little-known artsy school that struggles for name recognition against bigger, better-known competitors nearby and in other cities (think Columbia University in NYC). With an atrophying enrollment, Columbia revamped its web site into a model of prospective student-focused friendliness. And applications are up!
One-size-fits-all web sites rarely work, for universities or for independent and international schools. Maybe the most salient lesson here is about the need to know one’s market before planning and launching marketing initiatives. Just who do you intend to reach? And with what message, exactly? Few schools can be all things to all people. Even fewer marketing strategies can afford a shotgun approach.