1. Optimized website: A website is the first college space that a student visits and hence becomes an important influencer. According to the findings of the survey published by The Pie News, the university website was the only source of information for over 50% of the respondents! An optimized, updated and mobile-friendly website, with info-graphics and virtual tours, has now become inevitable. Visually appealing info-graphics help quick understanding and leave long lasting impact than text based content, while virtual tours have become an important tool to attract international students. Further, websites of universities and colleges must also act as a platform to engage with its traffic so visitors can be converted into applicants. As much as it is important for the website to provide as much information to prospective students and engage with them, the website must be kept light too. According to market research by an online marketing site, 40% of people expect that a website must load within 2 seconds, and 47% leave the website if it takes more than 3 seconds! Hence it is important that the website and all third-party tools tied up to it, keeps pace with the fast-paced, impatient youth.
2. Digital Marketing: It is not just important to be where prospective students are, but it is also important to do the right things on the Internet. Increasingly, international students are making their decisions based on information available online and on social media, without even visiting the campuses. Although virtual space has made the world smaller, human touch has retained its importance. Testimonials by alumni, reviews by student persona, webinars by mentors, and student-led marketing campaigns are ways to ensure just that. For optimum use of social media, it is important to choose the right platform. A Global Higher Education Digital Marketing & Web Survey conducted in 2018 opines that while Facebook remains a preferred channel for student engagement for universities and higher education institutions, Instagram’s growth has leaped from 20% to 36%. Further, mobile phones and tablets are becoming a necessary appendage for the millennials and generation Z, interacting with prospective students through mobile apps is a great idea!
3. Special focus on high growth regions: Region-wise analysis is a requisite before carrying out marketing campaigns. When FPP EDUMedia Inc, along with Intead LLC, surveyed over 807,000 students from 94 countries, 75% of the respondents from Indonesia said that scholarships was their top criteria; 76% of respondents from Philippines wanted to study abroad for quality education; while 50% from Malaysia wanted to study abroad to explore new culture and lifestyle. Such insights are helpful to recruiters in formulating clever marketing strategies targeting specific student personas. Recruiters must also concentrate on high growth regions: For now, China and India are hot destinations. Half of the total international students in USA are from China and India. A report by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, along with Institute of International Education, has found that the growth rate of incoming students from India was the highest for the third consecutive year; while China sends in the largest number of students, which is almost twice the number from India. International students’ recruiters should focus on these favorable numbers by offering easy to apply graduation, post-graduation and work experience programs. Colleges must seek technological assistance to solve students’ queries, track applications through every stage of the admission process and streamline operations.
4. Be an early bird: A report by Sqore says that 60% of international students plan their education at least 2 years beforehand. According to a survey conducted by International Student Admission Service, 25% students planning for higher studies abroad research about universities one to two years before application, while 20% do so two to three years ahead of admission deadlines. So recruiters must offer meaningful, engaging and collateral information, to prospective students, along with exciting offers round the year. It has become important to design marketing campaigns to targeting high school students, so the best brains are caught early.
5. Have the right tie-ups: Various third parties are engaged by universities to aid recruitment process. Of which, pathway program providers and enterprises offering student lifecycle management services are on the rise. Pathway Programs help prepare students who aren’t well versed in the English language or need more insight in their core or allied subjects or require imparting study skills and cultural adaptation skills. They offer a ready-made pool of qualified students so universities can eliminate the risk of admitting incompetent students. Student lifecycle management, on the other hand, is a comprehensive, one-stop suite that helps effectively manage every stage of the students’ lifecycle. They help engage with students from the time they are a prospect until they become an alumni! At the recruitment stage, SLM suite help run marketing campaigns and automate the entire admission process.