The school year is approaching, and doors to community education programs are open for the first time in over a year. As school districts and enrichment programs around the country prepare, build and release their course catalogs for the rest of the year, we want to discuss some foundational elements and best practices for creating cool digital catalogs. 😎
Building an engaging program catalog really comes down to two elements: branding and digital experience.
Branding is what brings community members to programs, sites and social channels. Effective branding generates excitement and inspires confidence in families and individuals to sign up for programs. It can also create a strong sense of place and togetherness, which entices readers to be more involved with community education.
When building digital or print catalogs, a necessary first step is to connect the established district branding elements to the catalog. A lot of traffic from online after school and enrichment catalogs is generates from the main district website. When audiences leave the district site for a program catalog, the more connected the experience is, the more likely they are to stay, engage, and register. Make the branding experience seamless with the same fonts, colors, logos, graphics, imagery use and formatting.
For example, creating hero images or banners that can live on both the district site and a catalog is a way to create a cohesive brand throughout both pages and remind people that they are on the right digital journey when registering for programs.
Tip: There are some excellent free or affordable tools to help build, organize and package creative and compelling visuals!
- Canva — Graphic design platform used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content.
- Noun Project — Website that aggregates and catalogs symbols that are created and uploaded by graphic designers around the world.
- Keynote or PowerPoint — Software applications that allow you to package and design various communications — everything from PDFs and Handbooks to ads and banner images for your site.
If effective branding brings community members to a program catalog, a seamless, accessible digital experience keeps them there and helps them take the next step in registering and purchasing. As highlighted in our 2021 Registration Workbook, make it a priority throughout the year to optimize your program’s web presence.
Course catalogs are a great place to start making offerings accessible, understandable and dynamic. Here are some places to get started:
- Updated imagery — Current seasons, area-specific locations and scenery. Does imagery give off the impression that programs are new and refreshed?
- Course descriptions — Fun, light and informative. Will first-time visitors quickly learn if it’s a good program for them?
- Re-introduce video — After the past year, every program has a story of inspiration and resilience to tell.
- Transparency — Make cost, time commitment levels and logistics easy to understand.
- Functionality — Take the time to ensure any hyperlinks are current and functioning properly.
- Tailor the experience — It might take different visuals and messaging across programs — especially if the program provides lifelong learning.
When creating catalogs this year, leverage the excitement surrounding communities coming back to programs around the country. Have fun putting offerings together and the authenticity will shine through. And, when going through the process of catalog creation, remember that focusing on branding and digital experience can help go a long way.
Are you planning for your next registration season? Discover Eleyo’s Registration Workbook to help organize and inspire your planning process.