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Recruiting Intelligence

Ben Waxman and Reina Sekiguchi

Do You Understand You?

How well can you talk about you?

Quick! Give us your institution’s elevator pitch! Easy, right?

What if the other person in the elevator is a 28-year-old from Milwaukee? Now a 17-year-old from Miami. Now you’re in an elevator in Shanghai. How about Mumbai? Ho Chi Minh City? Bogotá?

If you’re an admissions rep covering one of these places, chances are you’re well-practiced at spinning up your strongest differentiators for your given audience. But for enrollment marketing staff and administrators looking at the big picture, understanding each of your target markets gets a little harder. We know, that whole “only-24-hours-in-a-day” thing makes it difficult to keep up with the entire global student population.

A little thing called COVID-19 hasn’t made things any easier for those of us in enrollment marketing. Your institution’s value, and how you deliver that value to your students, has changed. What your students, both domestic and international, want, has changed. Maybe just for the foreseeable future. Maybe for much, much longer.

Loyal readers of this blog (and Intead clients) know this: the most effective messaging is targeted messaging. Without a deep and nuanced understanding of your institution’s unique value proposition and which elements of that proposition speak to your segmented target markets, you are missing significant student recruitment opportunities. In fact, some of your marketing efforts are likely a complete waste of time and money. And if you don’t believe us, an analysis of the ROI on your digital ads will speak for itself…

Your institution’s journey to effective messaging begins and ends with an understanding of who you are.

Now before you spiral into an existential crisis, remember: as enrollment marketers, we’ve been leading these journeys of self-discovery for a long time. Read on for (some) of our secrets to understanding and communicating your value, no Eat Pray Love required.

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One Million Student Prospects Vanished This Spring

Just poof, gone!

But we know where they are hiding.

An excerpt from Jeff Selingo’s highly anticipated forthcoming book, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions:

“A student’s name is sold by College Board, on average, 18 times over her high school career, and some names have been purchased more than 70 times…The coronavirus prevented more than a million first-time SAT takers in the high-school class of 2021 from taking the test this spring or summer. The canceled ACT/SAT doesn’t only leave rising seniors lacking a score; it also results in the loss of names for colleges to fill the top of their recruitment funnel.”

 

If you have typically used those purchased names to fill the top of your recruitment funnel…it’s time to rely more heavily on digital marketing to generate those leads.

Generating your own leads instead of purchasing them produces prospective students who have clearly expressed interest in what your institution offers. Higher quality prospects produce more efficient, lower cost results. In the end, a streamlined recruitment process to fill your classes.

But contrary to what Facebook and Google might have you believe, a successful lead generation campaign is more than just a few clicks in an ad platform. You’ve got to have the expertise to set up your audience criteria and so much more.

If you are concerned about meeting your enrollment targets, may we suggest a bit of help from the Intead team and our Intead Plus resource library?

Our Intead Plus members have access to the worksheets and data that help them justify their student enrollment marketing plans and craft targeted, ROI-positive campaigns. A year-round resource, Intead Plus offers strategic support, data analysis, recruitment planning, student personas, and industry perspective.

Oh, and did we mention that we are offering steep Intead Plus membership discounts to state consortium members? Study Illinois started the trend and now it might be available to you.

If you are a member of your state consortium, be in touch: info@intead.com.

Read on to figure out where those 1M students went and how you can reach them.

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The New Student Enrollment Playbook is Here

We’d like to think that your Wednesday ritual includes reading our latest Recruiting Intelligence blog release over your morning coffee, but we know that you’ve had a lot on your plate recently, and we don’t mean breakfast.

What a difference a week makes? Last week everyone was reacting to the ICE guidance that if U.S. classes were online only, international students had to head for the exits. Now, 7 days later, that order is rescinded and international students may stay in the U.S. and study online.

While this is welcome news, if anyone thinks this is the end of the headaches, confusion and policy level chaos on this topic, they've not been paying attention for the past few years.

Throughout the rise of COVID-19 we’ve been offering quick-hit, actionable advice weekly on this blog, advising on how to weather this storm, salvage your enrollment, and pivot your digital marketing strategy in response to this unprecedented global crisis.

This Not So Fun Fact from UNESCO still boggles our minds: By the first week of April, 190 countries closed kindergartens to higher education institutions simultaneously affecting 1.6 billion learners, 90% of total enrolled learners globally.

If you’ve missed any of our valuable insights these past few months, or if you just need a refresher — we know, there’s a lot to keep track of right now—you’re in luck. Our latest eBook, The New Student Enrollment Playbook: COVID-19 Edition is now available to download for free.

Consider it your one-stop-shop for all things COVID-19, and not to worry, we disinfect the download button following each click ; -)

From advice on crisis contingency planning to a review of the best online learning resources, The New Student Enrollment Playbook will help you and your leadership navigate this new normal and emerge stronger for it. Read on to download your copy.

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Go with the Flow: The How of Nurturing Leads

The first day of spring, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, is only 15 days away (not like we’re counting or anything.) Those few extra minutes of sunlight and that fresh feeling in the air got us thinking…about gardening. Taking our minds off the non-stop Coronavirus news.

With much of the spring international education conference circuit on hold, you just might catch us spending a bit more time in wide-brim straw hats with a gardening trowel. ; -)

But there IS something about the art of gardening — selecting the right plants, planting them in the right soil, providing them with the appropriate sunlight, water and food, that strikes a chord in our little marketing hearts.

Yes, we’re talking about nurturing.

If we consider your student leads as your fledgling flowers, how are you tending to them? Are you providing them with individualized care tailored to their needs? And, most importantly, are you guiding them towards a pathway to growth, or in our case, enrollment?

We’ve already discussed the power of segmenting your pool of student leads on this blog, as well as outlined different methods to segment in order to effectively develop content strategy around prospective students’ areas of interest. These posts are a few of our most read over time, getting consistent new readers each month.

Now, an important aside about email marketing...if you are among those who say, "Email is dead. Students don't read email." That may be because you are not putting any content in your email worth reading. We ALL delete useless sales emails on sight.

Reality Check (based on data): When a student prospect is engaged, they read your email. The onus is on you to engage them.

Segmentation is the first step to nurturing effectively, so make sure you have those defined audiences in place before you focus on today’s article: The How of Nurturing Leads. We’ll be offering you concrete suggestions for structuring email nurturing campaigns, as well as how to efficiently strategize your email topics and deliverables. Read on. 

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International Strategy in the Time of Coronavirus: Longer-Term Thinking

In the past two weeks, since we posted our near-term thinking about student recruiting, enrollment, and the impact of the Coronavirus, a lot has happened. The advice we gave for institutions continues to hold. And now it is time to share some of our longer-term thinking.

Many of our readers are responsible for international student recruitment, enrollment, and student services. Other readers are in leadership roles with broader student enrollment responsibilities.

Intead has long been advocating for a diversified approach to enrollment growth beyond a focus on just international students -- advice on diversified approaches to enrollment strategy follows. Keep reading, and hang on to your hat…

A given: the virus represents a significant threat to international travel and the economy. This past week the APAIE 2020 conference scheduled for late March in Vancouver was postponed to 2021. Other education industry conferences have been cancelled as well. Some 200,000 international flights have been canceled since the virus outbreak. Academic administrators in Australia are taking the brunt of all the travel restrictions and challenges right now. The rest of us will be feeling it acutely this summer and fall and beyond.

As we mentioned two weeks ago, challenges do arise and when they do, we don’t get frustrated, we get focused. This is an important mindset in any scenario and especially important when your industry is suffering a significant shock.

A few quick assessment questions:

  • Do you have leaders who welcome big picture thinking?
  • Can you execute on your strategic plans?
  • Can you calculate the cost of putting your ideas into practice?
  • Can you provide market data to support your projected results?

Hopefully you answered, “Yes” to the first question (if not, you might be in the wrong place), and you think your answers to the next 3 questions are also, “Yes” (perhaps with the caveat that you’ll need some help to do it).

With this in mind, let’s dive into our longer-term thinking prompted by the latest threat to your student enrollment and revenue projections. Read on. 

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Adjusting Your Chinese Recruiting: 10 Insights to Guide Your Plan

This is going to be a long post with some really valuable insights. We hope you’ll grab some coffee and take time to skim through. This is important to you and your bottom line. You’ll want to share this with specific colleagues with a few highlights based on where the priorities are at your institution…

A word to the wise: people often remember most how you behave in a crisis.

The world of international student recruitment faces consistent challenges. At times they are huge, recall 9/11, and other times they are as small as the annoying intermittent WiFi access at your student recruitment fair in Istanbul.

The past decade has seen a range of significant challenges to your recruitment marketing plans and those challenges have been due to largely unanticipated causes.

  • 2008 brought us the global financial crisis. How bad was it? For a brief period, banks were too afraid to lend to each other!
  • 2015 brought us a new level of anti-immigrant rhetoric out of the US as the 2016 election cycle ramped up.
  • Not long after that, the new White House administration delivered the travel ban (aka the Muslim ban) among other changes to visa approvals.
  • Now the immediate and unexpected challenge of the Coronavirus coupled with an extension of the travel ban to a spate of new countries including Nigeria.

To quote a good friend and colleague, Angel Ahmed, CEO of GNET, “When things get challenging, we don’t get frustrated, we get focused.”

So, what’s an enrollment professional to do when unexpected and significant challenges are disrupting your marketing plans and your results? You’ve probably already given these challenges a lot of your time and thinking, but we know a second (or third) set of eyes is always helpful. Read on for ten concrete recommendations to focus you, Intead style.

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Your Most Influential Recruiter Is Right in Front of You

A bustling campus: backpacks slung over shoulders, coffee cups and water bottles in hand. These thoughtful, exuberant, media-savvy students filling your hallways, classrooms, and online portals, THESE are your most powerful recruiting influencers.

Last month, Intead teamed up with Unibuddy and Northeastern University to present our research on Peer-to-Peer platforms as student recruitment tools at the AIRC Conference. The discussion was lively. So many questions and ideas emerged. And now that research, and the guidance it offers, is available to you.

Consider this: When deciding where to apply for university,

  • 57% of students said online conversations with an institution’s student ambassador were their most helpful resource. 
  • 47% said friends and family were their most helpful resource.

Read that again.

Current students were more important than friends and family.

First-hand student experiences established trust and that came through loud and clear in these conversations. This student connection is SO significant to the recruitment process.

Read on for more insights and to download the full report…

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What’s Your Recruiting Superpower?

A serious question for you: what should your recruitment team and The Avengers have in common?

We hope your answer isn’t fashion sense, although if you’ve been wearing capes to any student fairs recently, that’s certainly one way to attract attention!

The Avengers know the secret to a powerful team: skill diversity. As you build your own roster of recruitment superheroes, it is important to consider the specific “superpowers” needed to be effective at each stage of the recruitment funnel. And yes, each stage is different. Ensuring that you have the right staff member in the right place at the right time will be paramount to achieving your enrollment goals.

Having just returned from the ICEF and AIRC conference conversations in December, we feel compelled to consider your staffing needs. Do you have the right people in the right seats with the right skills?

So, what are these superpowers, you ask?

We’ve created a helpful infographic to guide you through team roles and needed skills at each stage of the funnel. Use it to assess your own team structure and identify areas for professional development. Keep this funnel in mind as you draft job descriptions and make hiring decisions and remember to consider both the hard and soft skills new team members may bring to the table.

Avengers assemble! And read on…

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Happy Holidays - See you in 2020!

To our blog readers, colleagues and friends, we’d like to wish you a happy, healthy and restorative holiday season from all of us here at Intead.

As we reflect on the ideas that we’ve discussed with you throughout 2019, we are once again reminded of the power of international education and the magic that happens when we bring it all together. Thank you for your work and your readership.

We will be resuming blog posts on January 8th and have some exciting new research coming your way in 2020. We can’t wait to share this data with you, but until then, warmest wishes for the holiday season and some well-deserved rest!

All the best,

The Intead Team

P.S. To really bring it all together and get the video with the beat, watch it below.

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Topics: Happy Holidays

The Ones to Watch: Market Trends in Africa and Latin America

As your institution strives to hit ever-more ambitious enrollment goals we know that you are focused on the future.

Part of that future, for those up to the challenge, will be putting great effort and resources into diversifying your student source countries. With shifts in student mobility, declining enrollment in English language programs, and major changes in the Chinese student market, now is not the time to rest on your institution’s laurels.

Beyond the educational, cross-cultural benefits of a more globally representative student population, broadening your recruiting channels will help you meet your enrollment targets. Your CFO and senior administrators will thank you, since diverse global enrollment = diverse revenue sources, meaning a more stable base of tuition that can weather downturns in individual markets.

But which student markets should you target? And, more importantly, how can you best appeal to those students?

Enter our latest Know Your Neighborhood eBook: a special edition report focused on student recruitment in the emerging markets of Africa and Latin America. In partnership with FPPEDUMEDIA, and their fabulous international student database, we reached out to our target markets and received more than 12,300 survey responses from students in 16 countries. Of course, we crunched the numbers and created some great infographics to convey our insights to you.

With this report you will make better and more informed decisions as you embrace and adapt to a changing global market.

From top program interests to messages that most influence students’ university selection and everything in between, we’re giving you a country-by-country breakdown of our findings, including recommendations on how and where to engage students.

Give it a read, and when you’re ready to put the insights into play, we’re here to talk: info@intead.com.

Read on for a preview and to download your copy

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