As we’ve extensively written before, one of the main goals of scholarships as a marketing tool is to get the word out about your company and its mission. There are many ways of doing this, but by far the cheapest and fastest way of promoting your scholarship is organic – others sharing it on your behalf, without you lifting a finger.
The problem is, many scholarship providers (businesses like yours) have a good idea of how to market their product, but no idea how to promote a scholarship. I sat down with the team at ScholarshipOwl (our sister company) and they told me about the main issues you need to fix to make your scholarship more appealing. That way, your scholarship will have much higher chances of getting noticed not only by students but other companies and news outlets as well.
1. Be very clear about your deadlines
Put yourself in the shoes of a student who’s applying for a scholarship. They’ve found that they meet all the criteria and they’ve spent hours creating that perfect application. They send it in, only to find out that the scholarship deadline is June 20, 2018, and not June 20, 2019.
When creating your scholarship, be very clear about the full date (including the year) of the application period. You’ll avoid confusion and unnecessary emails or calls. Moreover, if your scholarship is recurring (and repeats itself each year/month/semester/etc.), put it in writing and make it extremely easy to notice. Gen Z are all about user experience so make it crystal clear what they need to do and when.
2. List how many spots there are for winners
Here’s another case for putting things in plain sight. If someone wants to apply for your scholarship, they want to know their chances of winning. While they can’t tell how many people have applied, they definitely will appreciate knowing how many spots you have open for winners. If you’re giving rewards to three people – good going, this will ensure that more people apply since their chances of winning are higher.
Once you choose the winners for your scholarship, publish their photos and names on the scholarship page. We’ve seen too many businesses list their scholarship winners on their social media pages, but not the scholarship page. However, it’s a really nice gesture to feature them on the scholarship page so that the next time around, more students are motivated to apply – they can see that winners are real people.
3. List specific details
A lot of times, students will go through all the steps in your application process, only to find out that they don’t meet your criteria at the very end. One of the best ways to ensure more applicants (of better quality) is to give them all the information they need upfront so that you don’t waste their time. If only certain countries or states are eligible, put it in writing. If it’s open for high school seniors, put it in writing, somewhere visible.
On the flip side, if your scholarship is available for everyone, make sure to list this somewhere. Otherwise, your applicants will have to assume whether they qualify or not.
4. Double-check your application system and email
Everyone makes mistakes. However, not checking that your applications actually work before making them go live on your website is a pretty basic mistake. Before your scholarship goes live, test it out a few times just to make sure that applications are coming through. More often than not, scholarship applications have an error or two and countless students have their applications lost before you can notice it.
Moreover, it’s crucial that your email on the application form is correct. Our team at ScholarshipOwl has a situation with incorrect emails at least once per day.
5. Have a separate email for inquiries
Once again, put yourself in the shoes of a student who wants to apply for a scholarship. Not everyone wants to apply immediately – perhaps they have a question and they want to learn more before applying. For these cases, it’s incredibly useful to have a separate email where they can ask questions. That way, the email address for the applications won’t be flooded with questions and spam.
6. Have a common application system
A scholarship management app such as ScholarshipApp is extremely handy, for many reasons. You can easily streamline the whole process of creating the scholarship, collecting the applications and choosing a winner, all within 15 minutes of work. What’s more, you won’t have to create your scholarships from scratch if you repeat them every year.
Using a system like ScholarshipApp also makes it much easier for the students who are applying. Instead of collecting a bunch of documents and sending them out through email, they can just tick off a few boxes and upload their most important paperwork and they can be done with the application within minutes. Moreover, they can save in the middle of their application and pick up at a later point.
If you keep all of these tips in mind, you will have a scholarship that students will love applying to. And once you create a great experience for students, the word about your scholarship is sure to spread to news outlets, universities, and other businesses.
By the way, if you’re looking for an easy way to create scholarships within 15 minutes – ScholarshipApp is completely free!