Recruiting Intelligence

The State of International Student Recruiting

With this past week, the world of student recruiting is in a bit of an uproar here in the US and around the world. As we review the executive orders, court decisions and various statements from university presidents, NAFSA and the like, we know that many are gathering to raise our concerns and consider the options before us.

In times of great change, there is a strong inclination to take a wait and see approach. In our view, we see opportunity. Not to make light of the situation. It is quite serious. Nevertheless, planning is always valuable, regardless of how unclear the future may be.

We just completed our first annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp held in San Diego. An intrepid, forward thinking set of universitites, boarding high schools and other academic industry providers gathered for two days to share their experiences and map out plans to move forward despite the turmoil in our industry. Whether you were an attendee, a speaker, partner or sponsor, the Bootcamp was a success because of you.

And special thanks to Zepur Solakian at CGACC for her leadership.

Our goal, as always, is to help you make smart recruiting and marketing decisions. We think everyone came away with useful information, tools, best practices and insights into international student recruiting and digital marketing and that you will be able to share that knowledge with others in your office who were not able to attend. From the conversations we overheard in our speaker sessions, break-out groups and networking receptions, and even the 3K sunrise run, it seems everyone was able to connect with others facing similar recruiting challenges and share solutions to overcome them. We think that's pretty cool.

We are already thinking about next year's conference and can't wait to share details. And for those unable to attend this year, we will be sharing marketing planning material and worksheets from the conference in the weeks ahead, so check back often! We want you to be able to plan and move forward even when the headwinds are strong.

In the meantime, we want to thank our speakers for bringing their expertise to our conference attendees....Want to see who spoke? It's a truly incredible line up and we owe them all such gratitude for their willingness to share. 

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Measure What Matters: Build an Academic Metrics Dashboard

What are the Top 3 Metric Areas you should be tracking? Does your answer match ours?

Former CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina, once said, “the goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” This is the essence of analytics. It’s exactly why you are (or should be!) taking the time to track traffic on your website and social media engagement. It is all for that valuable insight that can introduce you to the student leads you want and help you understand their needs/motivations.

We know we might sound like a broken record but analytics are important. And we know how difficult it can be to get started. The good news is that it’s not as complicated as you think.

Come meet us in San Diego this weekend (a quick jaunt to the sun!?!) to learn more about metrics, tactics and other international student recruiting approaches from experts in the field at our upcoming International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. It is all about What Works Where.

Have you seen our speaker list? A range of experts, our conference faculty, will be on hand January 29-31. Today is the LAST DAY to take advantage of regular pricing. Spaces are limited and going fast. REGISTER HERE.

The Bottom Line: The key to successfully tracking analytics is to set up a system that is easy to use and accessible–your dashboard. Just like your car dashboard, a metrics dashboard stores all your “go-to” data in one place. This can help know how your digital marketing is performing. If you take the time to do this regularly, a big IF based on what most of us have time for, you will spend your marketing budget more wisely every year. If nothing else, your bosses will be proud of you for that ;-)

Trying to collect data without setting up a dashboard is like trying to make a recipe you’ve never made before without the ingredients list. You might know where to find one or two of the pieces of data you are looking for, but you need to know how to piece them together to make a tasty meal. Read on for our list of the Top 3 Metrics Areas we think you should be keeping tabs on. This is the kind of data we think should be on your dashboard to support your international student recruitment efforts.

Pro tip: this is one of those posts you’ll want to share with a select few others on your team.

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International Partnerships – Academic Connections Support Student Recruitment

Is your institution using international partnerships effectively? There are benefits beyond the academic collaboration. Have you examined your faculty’s international connections from an international student recruitment point of view?

Study abroad programs, research exchange programs and dual degree programs take time to build, but they have lasting value and, nurtured well, can grow into significant international student recruitment pathways beyond the academic bridges they build. These relationships often become significant differentiators for the institutions making the effort to build them.

At our upcoming International Student Recruitment Bootcamp, presented in partnership with CGACC, we will have speakers, discussion groups and work sessions focusing on the tactics that work best in regions around the world based on the type of academic program you offer. It is all about What Works Where. International academic partnerships represent an important tactic to consider.

Secure your spot and meet us in San Diego on January 29-31.  We've held regular pricing in place through 1/25/17. It is a small venue for a highly-focused gathering. Spaces are limited and going fast. REGISTER HERE.

Bottom Line: Creating international partnerships can be time consuming, but done well, have lasting and significant value. These partnerships help increase your institution’s international presence. Courses, published research and events shared by your institution across borders help market to your prospective students in their native language, and through the media channels they use most. These initiatives increase your opportunities to reach international student influencers: parents, agents, counselors, university and high school administrators. In concrete numbers, we’ve seen this work where a partnership is the source of four international student enrollments each year at the start and slowly builds to a consistent pipeline of 20+ international students from a single source. That, in addition to the many other benefits of these cross-border collaborations.

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Reader's Choice: Intead’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

It's 2017 and Intead's Recruiting Intelligence is back! And we are flying forward. So glad you are with us!

2016 saw a lot of change – a new U.S. presidency is just days away, Brexit has made an impact on international relations, safety concerns have heightened, new government policies have changed the landscape across the world, and currency exchange rates have presented challenges for international student mobilization – among many other things.

Throughout it all, we have tried our best to present new research and insights, shed light on new markets, and introduce you to new tools and best practices to make your international student recruiting and marketing strategies work to meet your goals. While 2017 will undoubtedly present its own set of new challenges, we checked the analytics on last year's posts and wanted to share those posts that your colleagues found most helpful based on the readership stats.

Read on, and while you're at it, check out Intead’s new blog homepage! This is just a first step as we roll out our website refresh to make all our great content easier to find and access. Our popular e-books, conference slides, market research reports..everything you use to make your international student recruitment and enrollment plans stronger.

Did someone say "recruitment and enrollment plans?" To start your 2017 planning, come meet us in San Diego on January 29-31, at our first annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp (theme: What Works Where), presented in partnership with CGACC. The conference will cover implementing effective strategies, measuring results, and determining what works where. We've held regular pricing in place through 1/25/17. It is a small venue for a highly focused gathering. Spaces are limited.

We are excited to announce our KEYNOTE SPEAKERSSafia Samee Ali (NBC, News Associate) and Paul Jensen (Weber Shandwick, President – Corporate Practices) will present on The Power of Storytelling: Marketing, News Media and the Student Experience. It is sure to be an inspiring talk from two experienced professionals well-versed in the importance of audience engagement. 

Now for our Reader's Choice Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016...

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Students Want Powerful Global Networks

What motivates a student with a global mindset to enroll at your institution?

This is a question everyone here at Intead asks almost every day. How should we shape that digital campaign? What is the messaging we should put into the subject lines of the nurturing email workflow? How about the website copy? The answer is going to be a bit different for each institution based on what you have to offer.

With the changing political landscape here in the US, in the UK and beyond, the answers you need are more important than ever. The doubts you have can be transformed into valuable action plans. How, you ask?

Come learn with us in San Diego: From January 29 - 31, we’ll be at our First Annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp (theme: What Works Where), presented in partnership with CGACC.

Outcomes are increasingly important and on students’ minds. You are asking much of them, after all. You want their time and you want their money. What can they get in return? We have some new research that you’ll really want to consider as you ponder that question: The Top 100 U.S. Institutions with Powerful Global Networks.

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The Essential Guide to Implementing a University CRM

A customer relationship management (CRM) system helps you manage and analyze customer engagement throughout the customer lifecycle. A marketing automation platform (MAP) helps you manage the digital promotions you are launching and measure their success. 

In international student recruiting, CRMs and MAPs are crucial to keeping your prospective students engaged. Knowing when and where they entered your system (by download, by email, etc.) can inform what types of information they should continue to receive in the future. And of course, you want to nurture your leads all the way through to enrollment. And a good CRM, set up well, is going to help you stay connected beyond graduation.

At Intead, we use Hubspot to manage our marketing automation (including this blog) and our leads. For some academic programs, this platform is great. For others, there are more robust CRM's needed (such as Salesforce) tied to a marketing automation platform (like Hubspot). 

More and more of our clients are finding frustration with their current lead management systems and we have been helping them select and implement something new and powerful. Read on to get your hands on Intead's "7 Steps to a Successful CRM Implemantation."

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Top 5 Tactics for Digital Marketing for International Student Recruiting

We write a lot about digital marketing in the international student recruiting field. And we write in-depth about digital marketing. So while we’re down here in Miami at the AIRC and ICEF conferences sharing what we know in various presentations and workshops, we wanted to share our top 5 tactics for digital marketing for our readers who are still back in the office.

If you happen to be in Miami for the conferences, stop by any of our presentations to say hi and learn more about CRMs, using language programs to recruit, and our favorite topic – data, trends and how to use this information to recruit effectively.

Bottom Line: You need to get to know your audience. What works well for them? What do they respond to? Using segmentation and personalization can go a long way in communicating with a lead. Another good way to reach students online is to optimize–everything! You want to be on as many search results pages on Google, Baidu, Facebook, and WeChat as possible and your content should be shareable. But, make sure the content popping up is good content. How will you know if it’s good or not? Analytics! You should always be tracking your analytics to determine which ad, email and social media campaigns are working for you to reach the students you want to reach. Think about it, if you could only choose five things to add to your digital marketing plan to survive in the digital world, what would they be? Go ahead and make your list. We’ll see if it matches up with ours!

Read on to find out our top 5 list for digital marketing tactics…

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So, How Do We Market US Higher Ed to the World Now?

There is a new political landscape here in the US and in the UK. International student recruiting is facing some new, unexpected challenges.

Brace yourself, this is a long post and an incredibly important topic to all of us. We've tried to give some real food for thought and grist for action. As always, at Intead we try to give you the facts and figures in a concrete way. Strategic thinking that gets you to a tactical plan of action. 

I'm betting there are at least a few other people at your institution you will want to forward this post to if you dive into it. 

So, to get right into it, earlier this year we surveyed more than one million prospective international students thanks to FPPEDUMedia's powerful student database. More than 40,000 students responded immediately - that's some incredible engagement right there.

We asked them how current global, economic and political events are impacting their plans to study abroad. No surprise, our somewhat controversial question around international students' desire to study in the US based on the outcome of the presidential election has suddenly become a hot topic. For a variety of reasons, we didn't really expect to be in this place.

Now that we are, we have some new thinking to do. While the student responses we received were speculative (If someone wins, would you be more or less inclined to...), the responses were dramatically telling, nonetheless.

In case you missed it, 60% of 40,000+ responses said they were less likely to study in the US if Donald Trump were to win the election. That number rises to 80% when you look specifically at responses from Mexico. Now we have your attention, right?

So, how does our messaging to international students’ change now? How can we recruit international students who are wary of US travel and their safety here? How can we make our campuses feel inclusive and welcoming for our current (and future) international students? What about parents?

In the past week, we have discussed these topics with reporters at the New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hechinger Report, The Pie News, EL Gazette and others. There are many angles to consider.

In an effort to help this thinking, this conversation, move forward with all of our colleagues in academia, we are hosting a webinar later today (Wed., November 16) at 3pm Eastern Time to consider the angles in our new, post-election landscape. We will discuss what all this means for your recruitment and marketing plans. The webinar is complimentary, but limited to 75 seats. By the time you read this, we are likely already full to capacity, so we are looking into hosting another one. Register here to be put on our waiting list.

Dive into this topic in a more substantial way: Meet Us in Miami or San Diego

We will be sharing our global digital marketing insights and discussing ways to move forward in our new political landscape at some upcoming conferences. In December, we will be presenting at the ICEF and AIRC conferences in Miami. In January, we will be hosting the first annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp (2016 theme: What Works Where) presented in partnership with CGACC. Let us know if you’ll be at any of these conferences–we’d love to chat.

Read on for perspective on how we do that global recruitment thing given the new political landscape…

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Intead’s Top 10 International Student Recruiting Podcasts

Podcasts can be an invaluable tool for international student recruiting professionals. They inspire new ideas, motivate us to try new things, and teach us industry secrets. And, you can listen to them just about anywhere, from your morning commute, to the coach seat as you fly to your next student fair, or just at your desk as you carve out a few minutes for lunch between all the demands of the day. Listening to leaders and experts in the field of international student recruiting discuss the same topics you struggle with can shed light on new solutions.

These are all of the reasons Intead started sharing podcasts a few years ago, and since then we’ve shared insights into everything from hiring admissions staff to innovative education models, to marketing to diverse audiences. This week, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 most listened to podcasts. Here’s what your peers found most valuable.

In all, Intead has produced 46 podcasts with international student recruiting leaders covering all the topics you grapple with all the time. At the end of our top 10 list you will find a link to Intead’s full library of podcasts. Find the insights that are most important to you. Special nod to our co-founder, Michael Waxman-Lenz, for all his work producing these industry-leading resources.

Meet Us in Miami or San Diego!

When temperatures get cold here in New England, we seek out warmer weather ;) Join us at the AIRC and ICEF conferences in Miami in December as we share our latest global digital marketing insights at workshops and other presentations. In January, meet us in San Diego at our First Annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp (2016 theme: What Works Where), presented in partnership with CGACC. Let us know if you’ll be at any of these venues–we’d love to catch up over a cup of coffee!

Read on to find links to our top 10 podcasts, plus one bonus podcast you won’t want to miss. Read on...

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International Student Recruiting in Egypt

It won’t come as a surprise to you that education is important in Egypt, the home of one of the oldest continuous running universities in the world, Al-Azhar University (photo above). But, after the political unrest of the past few years, you might be surprised to know that slowly and steadily Egypt is seeing growth in two essential areas.

Economic growth hasn’t been startling but it has been stable. In addition, increasing internet usage is linking young Egyptians to the global community more than ever before. This might be your signal to look past the Egypt of the Arab Spring and start looking toward the future of its young population. Students are interested in finding education abroad, especially if your institution has competitively low tuition rates and provides financial aid or scholarship opportunities to international students. A subset of our readers, for sure, but that is what marketing differentiation is all about. Promote your strengths where there is less competition.

Bottom Line: Interest in study abroad for Egyptian students is high but low government support makes financing these studies an issue. While the number of students from Egypt studying in the U.S. may be modest, the desire and the growth are not. The US saw a 5% increase in Egyptian students between the 2013/14 school year and the 2014/15 school year according to 2015 IIE Open Doors data. Tackling issues of finance will be key, but there won’t be a shortage of effort on the part of Egyptian students. Many young Egyptians have a good grasp on the English language and programs that help students hone these skills are essential in the region. And, if economic predictions for the future come true, starting in Egypt now will be a pay off in the future.

Meet Us in Miami or San Diego!

We will be sharing all our global digital marketing experience at workshops and other presentations at the AIRC conference, the ICEF Workshop and our latest effort to share knowledge: The First Annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp (2016 theme: What Works Where) presented in partnership with CGACC. Let us know if we can schedule a coffee date at any of these venues. 

Read on for more insights into recruiting students from Egypt.

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Know Your Neighborhood - Fall 2017
Global Alumni Management for U.S. Institutions