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Recruiting Intelligence

Creative, Personalized, Digital Marketing, Because: Sharing


With digital content as the driving force behind international student recruiting, it is essential to be innovative with your content strategy. Certainly, there are challenges to this. There always seem to be new tools, digital platforms and social media options available. How to keep up?

Well, at Intead, all of this stuff is critical to our work; it's far too important to us to fall behind. That is, in part, why we write and share this blog. We all need to stay current.

So for those without the time for the amazing link at the end of this blog…

Bottom Line: Capture their interest and lead them to the deeper decision making content. This is creative digital marketing’s mantra. What do most universities do? Lead with boring emails and web pages that offer the deeper decision making content. And that makes you just one of many out there doing the same, tired thing. If all the options look the same, mostly students just hit delete.

In this weeks blog, Emily tells us why that is doubly awful. Because: sharing.

This is a tech savvy generation we are trying to attract. What can make your institution stand out from all of the others that are after the same target market? How do you differentiate your offering from them?

Beyond creating the engaging headline and content that will draw the right crowd (and the click), you need to be sure you have the lead capture platform and follow up processes that help you convert those leads to applications and enrollments.

You might be shaking your head right now and thinking, “tell me something I don’t know.” Fact is, many of you know what is needed and yet your marketing systems are not in place and effective. Our mystery shopper research has revealed that at least 30% of institutions receiving qualified leads do not follow up…at all!

This week we want to show you a truly innovative approach to engaging our tech savvy target audience. Another post will talk more about lead follow up processes. We will be talking about all of this at our Global Marketing Pre-conference Workshop at ICEF this December in Miami [info HERE].

The university website is your essential starting point. All the marketing research shows this to be hugely influential and your marketing campaigns need to drive traffic there. So you want to be sure the landing pages for international students are speaking directly to this fun loving yet serious group.

On the digital front you want to consider mobile applications, YouTube channels, social media accounts, interactive games and all other digital content that can play a role in how students learn about you before they move on to the content on your website.

In many ways, international students are able to create a relationship with a university without even speaking to a real person because the information that lives online helps paint the picture of their academic and nonacademic life there. Video and social media feeds create opportunities to truly express and differentiate your brand.

The majority of my classmates at the master’s level at least checked to see if our university had a Facebook page and check its activity before enrolling. Students’ expectations of a university’s digital footprint are changing, and even though the importance of social media is very well accepted, not everyone is using it effectively.

But social media is not the only online presence that a university must focus on when building its digital footprint. Every university should have multiple platforms through which it can be creative, innovative and compelling.

Time consuming? Yes!

Necessary work to stand out from the competitive crowd? Unfortunately, Yes!

Though social media is an important channel of marketing to students, the way in which students access that information might be even more important. This generation of students is being called the “5-screen generation.” Walking around any campus it is easy to see why. Students are using laptops, smartphones, and tablets and other devices simultaneously. They want content readily available and tailored to each device.

Images and videos that display easily on smartphone screens are compelling, and also immediately shareable.

Here's the thing: This generation is more than just about multiple screens, they are about sharing. If something interests them or amuses them, the immediate instinct is to put it out there for all to see. That’s some pretty handy free marketing right there.

Which brings us back to why this kind of marketing effort is necessary to stand out from the competition. So many institutions are vying for the same target audience. If you invest in the creative, engaging content that gets shared, you are winning. And few schools have the bench strength to do all this on their own.

So we scanned the usual and not-so-usual suspects and found a great example of creative, personalized, use of digital marketing that we’d like to share with you. This will get your creative juices flowing. You need a Facebook account for it to work. We recommend you click and enjoy. You will be pleasantly surprised by the result. In all, you’ll give up 3 minutes of your day – and it’s well worth it.

And by the way, congratulations University of Huddersfield in the UK for providing us with this fantastic creative engagement.

Did you take a look? Here are a few things to note:

  • On the landing page, there is only one thing you can do. You either engage or you don’t.
  • The personalization made you smile, right?
  • Did they capture your contact information? Yup.
  • The options at the end bring you to the deeper content to help you make an informed decision.
  • Is it sharable? Mm-hmm.

Sharing is a critical element of digital marketing. If you have not evaluated your content for its sharability, then you haven't evaluated your marketing program for today's prospective student market. If you are wondering how to do that, you have the greatest test market right at your doorstep. Just ask around campus, "Would you share this?"

Now that wasn't so hard.