Attracting Students with Brochure Marketing

Are you searching for innovative ways to attract new students to your university? We have years of marketing experience to help you design an effective brochure to promote your uni and get ahead of your competitors.

At Where The Trade Buys, we have years of experience in producing promotional materials for businesses and organisations — but more than that, we also know a lot about effective marketing techniques. If you work for a university and are looking for the best way to attract new students, why not consider launching a brochure marketing campaign? 

Universities in 2018 are under pressure to attract the best students and boost UCAS application numbers — reportedly, most students must pay £9,250 for courses beginning in 2018! Although there are some exceptions, this large fee may cause young people to reassess whether they should apply for a university space, which means you must work harder to persuade them to enrol at your establishment.  

Sleek and professional-looking, a brochure can really catch your target audience’s eye and promote what you can offer. Not sure how to design one? No problem. Simply follow this step-by-step guide we created specifically for universities and create a fantastic brochure campaign that will engage with your audience and promote your courses.  

Basics of brochure designing

Getting that critical overview of how a Brochure should look is essential to making a success of your university-specific one. 


Every headline, subheading and text box must be clear — no ambiguous words or odd page placements. Make your text attractive to read by splitting it up into bitesize chunks and ensure that you only write useful descriptions — remember, your subheadings are bridges that take the reader from the eye-catching header to the descriptive body copy.  

Rule of thirds 

A brochure should be split into thirds. The ‘rule of thirds’ — which applies both vertically and horizontally — helps a designer match-up text and photos to ensure a brochure looks neat and professional. 


Simple and smart fonts work best to ensure consistency and professionalism — two font styles and three font sizes are best. Don’t embolden or italicize your text too much (you’ll weaken the effect, which is meant to be there to emphasise a point).  

Now you have the basics, it’s time to see how to create a functional and effective university brochure… 

Research your university thoroughly

We’re always researching the next new trends in marketing and print, and you should do the same for your brochure. Take the University of York, for example: the team here conducted widespread research across three years into over 70% of its departments to discover the reasons behind a student choosing to study there. Following this preparation, the university created excellent brochures and online content to promote itself — the Director of External Relations at the university, John Concannon, also said that the marketing material had been “positively received by prospective students and parents at open days.”

Although you don’t have to spend three years in research-mode; you should still spend time with each of your university’s departments and its students. Send out surveys via the university emailing list or question students when they’re relaxing in their communal areas to gain an insight into what matters to them. 

Each course is different, which means students enrol on them for different reasons. So, make sure you’re clued up on what new students want out of a uni place.

Utilise imagery to boost engagement 

Make sure you pack your brochure with lots of images — an all text brochure won’t work. Not only will this give your university ‘personality’, but it will also help you break up your text and make the entire product seem more ‘user friendly’. 

When you consider that imagery is 40 times more likely to be shared (or engaged with) on social media, can you afford to not get on board when creating a brochure for a similar target audience? Research published in the Journal of Chemical Education shows that the first attention lapse incident happens just half a minute after taking part in an activity — if images can help make your brochure more exciting to read and engage with, is it not worth including plenty of them? 

Not sure which photos to include? We recommend going for ones that are very positive, descriptive and show plenty of action — students laughing together, taking part in sports, trying out hi-tech equipment, and joining forces on projects are ideal. 

The influence of statistics 

Check out a few brochure examples online, we’re sure you’ll find plenty of incidences showing pages with emboldened percentages and highlighted key details. Your audience is looking for something to make your uni stand out — what better way to catch their eye and deliver instant information that an impressive stat? During your research time, collect data that might excite a new student — like how many students go onto full-time employment or how highly your student accommodation is rated. Then, make these leap out of the page using colour and enlarged fonts. 

Content: what you must include  

How you write and what you write can mean the difference between success and failure. In our experience, writing with an exciting, optimistic and inspiring tone is the only way. A soon-to-be uni student is eager to start a new chapter in their life, and you must match this feeling — use phrases like vibrant city, thriving student life and award-winning courses to pique interest, and make sure to pay attention to the below factors: 

• Funding: is it easy to get a scholarship?  
• Employability: will students likely get a job after they graduate?  
• Accommodation: is student accommodation good and residential areas surrounding the university nice? 
• Social life: a big part of university — are there good bars, restaurants and activity centres around? 
• Out-of-class activities: do you offer study abroad programmes and lots of student clubs?

We’d advise you devote a section of your brochure to each of the above topics — they’ll be what your student is looking to learn about to make their choice! 

Get your current students involved 

Many marketing campaigns rely on collaborations — and who better to work with than current students who chose your university years ago? See if your design students will create a brochure similar to the design you’re after, and ask your marketing students to get involved, too. 

Not only will you get a greater understanding of how your finished product may look, but the students might also offer creative advice that you never considered to improve your design.

Grab and hold your audience’s attention

A recent article by The Guardian stated that UK sixth formers achieved some of the best A-level grades for many years at the end of the latest school term. This means that grabbing students’ attention at exhibitions and enrolment events is critical in 2018. 

With so much competition around, it’s critical that your brochure attracts attention instantly. Reportedly, marketing material has eight seconds at most to grab attention — which means designing a bold and attractive product is vital. Are red or yellow your university’s colours? If so, great! Red is the most attention-grabbing colour for humans and yellow is the most visible!

Bold fonts and good use of colour are important, but so is language — make your audience want to read your brochure by creating an emotive title. How about something similar to Durham University’s ‘Let’s make things happen’ and ‘Redefine your future’ used by the University of Stirling? Inspirational language will spark your reader’s imagination and get them wondering how good their life could be if they studied at your university. 

What you must consider when designing a brochure…

Curious, eager and excited perfectly describe your target audience’s emotions when they’re searching for a university. To engage with them, make sure you:

• Create content that’s exciting and easy to read.
• Don’t include dull language, unimpressive statistics and patronising tones. 
• Think about colour, layout, copy, and images.
• Conjure a positive identity that will intrigue a new student. 

At this point, your audience is at its most hopeful and motivated — mirror their excitement and show them that your university can help them achieve their dreams. 

We have wide collections of professional promotional material available for you to order at Where The Trade Buys. Browse our ranges of Business Cards , Casebound Books , Perfect-Bound Books , Leaflets , Posters , and Banners for options – or contact us if you have a query!


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