1. Optimised website: A website is the first college port of call for a student to visit, and hence is an important influencer for student recruitment. 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 optimised, updated and mobile-friendly website, with infographics and virtual tours, has now become absolutely necessary. Visually appealing infographics help quick understanding and leave a longer-lasting impact than text-based content, while virtual tours, chat etc. have become important tools to recruit international students and are part of the trends in higher education. Further, the websites of universities and colleges must also act as platforms to engage with their traffic, so that 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 keep 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 optimal use of social media, it is important to choose the right platforms. 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, so interacting with prospective students through mobile apps is a great idea! College-branded mobile apps are effective ways to keep in touch.
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 the 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 the Institute of International Education, has found that the growth rate of incoming students from India 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 student recruiters should focus on these favourable numbers by offering easy to apply graduation, post-graduation and work experience programmes. Colleges must invest in a good admissions CRM to solve students’ queries, run campaigns, conduct events, track applications through every stage of the admission process and streamline operations.
4. Be an early bird: A report by Score 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 to recruit students. It has become important to design marketing campaigns to targeting high school students, so the best prospects are caught early.
5. Have the right tie-ups: Various third parties are engaged by universities to aid the student recruitment process. Of these, pathway programme providers and enterprises offering student lifecycle management services are on the rise and are an important part of international student recruitment strategies. Pathway Programmes help prepare students who aren’t well versed in the English language 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, the student recruitment CRM suite helps run marketing campaigns and automate the entire admission process.