Posters are a great way to raise awareness, just like billboards and outdoor ads you see on the street. While they are effective, you need to look at the posters from a student’s point of view. School walls are full of posters, and are usually ignored. Because of this, you need to ensure your posters stand out. Try to:
- Find an empty area on the wall or bulletin board, but at the same time ensuring there’s a good amount of traffic around that area.
- Make your posters looks attractive by using bright colours (but make sure you follow SOS’s Branding Guidelines).
- Be sure to have the logo/slogan, a very brief description of what we do (people won’t spend too much time reading it), and, probably most importantly, your chapter’s website and social media information. Most people will look at this, so they can be on their way, and check it out later.
- It’s also a good idea to have a QR code that leads to your website and social media platforms. A great website to generate QR codes is qrstuff.com.
Check out some more poster guidelines here.
Another great way to raise awareness is to set up a booth with marketing materials to hand out (brochures, promotional items [pencils, bookmarks, etc.], flyers, etc.). You want to explain what SOS does, so make sure you have enough information to give to students when they come to your booth. Have a good 30-second-1 minute answer to tell students what we do, similar to an answer you’d have prepared for the “tell me about yourself” question in a job interview. Setting up a booth is best when there are events going on at school, when there are many groups doing the same thing. If there is a specific event going on and all the boots are promoting similar clubs or events (for example, a dance where all booths are promoting/selling products that relate to the dance), you don’t want to set up a booth during that event, as no one is interested in exams, and are actually looking for a break from exams. If there is an event related to school, such as a job or University/College fair, you may want to consider a booth set up there. In addition to the day/time you set up your booth, you want to set up in an area that is busy, such as common rooms, libraries, food courts, etc. Many schools also have “Puppy Therapy” to help students unwind during exam time. Setting up booths near Puppy Therapy sessions would be a great idea!
Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth (WOM) is one of the best ways to advertise your product. One of the good things about is that it’s free. Obviously, you need to spend some money to get it started, but once it starts, there’s no stopping it (at least not for a while!). That being said:
- You need to realize that WOM could be both positive and negative.
- If what you do is good, and people are impressed, then the WOM will be positive.
- On the other hand, if people aren’t too impressed with what you do or how you did it, then the WOM will be negative.
Creating a good first impression is key, and the deciding factor between positive or negative WOM. This will be further discussed in First Impressions are Lasting Impressions.
Speaking in Classrooms
Most classes have breaks usually halfway through class. While some people leave the class, many do stay. This is a great opportunity to speak directly to your Target Market. It’s a good idea to speak to your Professor before speaking. If the class is short, you could also speak to the class before or after class. If you do it before or after class, make sure there’s a significant amount of students; you don’t want to talk to five students in a class of 30. Having 10-15 students is a good start. Be sure to raise and focus on important parts, such as who we are, what we do, and what we offer, etc. You don’t have much time to go into too much detail. Another point to keep in mind is that people tend to doze off when people just talk, so it’s good to have some visuals. A PowerPoint is a good idea. This will be discussed next. Be sure to have your PowerPoint saved to a USB and/or on your email, so you can access the computer that’s already connected to the projector.
As mentioned above, a PowerPoint is a great visual for presentation. You want to keep a few points in mind. Many people put too much content in their slides, thus defeating the purpose of a PowerPoint. The PowerPoint is there as a reference so that listeners know what you are talking about. You don’t want to put paragraphs on the slides, as this will distract students since they’ll be more focused on reading than on what you’re saying. If that happens, then there’s no point of having a speaker. On the other hand, you don’t want to give them a bunch of papers to read, as this can get tedious. Students don’t even want to do class readings, so imagine how they would treat some random pieces of paper. Instead of doing one or the other, it’s best to have a balance. There’s a phenomenon called “Death by PowerPoint.” As defined by whatis.com, Death by PowerPoint is “caused by the poor use of presentation software. Key contributors to death by PowerPoint include confusing graphics, slides with too much text and presenters whose idea of a good presentation is to read 40 slides out loud.” Some useful PowerPoint tips are:
- Try to have five or less points per slide; three is a good number
- Six words per point should be enough (doesn’t include function/small words [and, as, for, of, etc.])
- Use effective visuals, but be sure not to too big, as they may overlap text and take away focus from the text, which is more important
- Use darker backgrounds, as opposed to lighter colours, as it’s harder to see bright colours on a projection screen
- Make sure you’re text is easy to read in any lighting. Do this by using a font that is lighter than the background (or darker if you have a bright background, which should be avoided anyway). The best background colours are dark blue and black, with white fonts. A white background with black or red font also works well. However, don’t feel that you have to use these colours, try other colours or backgrounds with designs; as long as it’s easy to read on a screen, there should be no problem. Keep in mind that SOS’s colours and blue and white.
- Make sure you use legible fonts. In regards to sizes, a good rule of thumb is to have titles size 44 and body text 32. This is usually the default size in PowerPoint. However, be sure to change these sizes to accommodate those in the back row.
- Don’t have too many slides. Many people have so many slides that listeners just doze off, especially if they catch a glimpse of how many you have. This will quickly disengage them. Ten slides should be plenty for an informational presentation. You could have more, if they are important, or if they’re just pictures. On the other hand, you could also have less than 10, if it covers all the material. Adjust the number of slides accordingly.
- Be sure to use pictures! You can show pictures of Exam-AID sessions taking place, pictures of booths you’ve set up, and, of course, pictures of the outreach trips.
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