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…
1. Tracking and Analytics
Keeping track of your data, running analytics reports and staying on top of where you’ve been will help you plan for where you need to go. Here is an example. Back in the summer of 2015 we wrote about email marketing and how to understand whether or not it is working for you. It is a simple equation. The problem for most is that they don’t have the data they need to solve it! That’s where software can help you. If you aren’t already working with the help of CRM and marketing automation platform, you should start. Not only is it the easiest way to track the in-depth data of your marketing techniques, it also helps you segment your potential prospective students and improve your inbound marketing. Analytics tell you where to continue to spend your marketing budget for the greatest return. Isn't that what your boss is always asking, "Are those marketing expenses working?" With analytics tracked, you can answer that question with data and confidence.
2. Get Specific with Segmentation
If this were the makings of a starter kit, and it kind of is, no marketer would leave segmentation out of the mix. We could make the rest of this post about segmentation. We won’t, but that is how important it is. Segmentation helps you understand where your students are at and how to reach them best. We’ve made segmentation easier with a downloadable worksheet to help you get started on your segmentation journey. For more in-depth information about segmentation, see our three-part blog series on it here: Part I, Part II, and Part III. Share this info with your email marketing team. They will thank you.
3. Optimize for Sharing!
In the social age, nothing beats inbound marketing as a way to create buzz. Still, institutions aren’t quite as quick to take up this trend. Developing your own content means creating more visibility online and it takes effort. Take a tip from us, the more engaging and creative that content is, the more likely it is to be shared on social media. The photos, writing, design and everything else you post should be optimized for sharing especially via mobile devices. If the content is not shareable, you are truly missing out on a whole lot of social media love.
Granted, the time commitment and creativity required for all this social and mobile marketing may be more than you can manage on your own. Know any smart outsource marketing options with a speciality in international student recruitment? ;-)
4. Get Resourceful
Before you start saying, “this is a lot of new stuff to jump into,” we want to add a simpler one to the list. How often do you think about the fact that you have all the ambassadors for your institution that you need right on your campus? Maybe not as often as you should. That’s why we are taking the time to remind you! If you have international students on campus who are already loving their experience, and we’re sure you do, use their social expertise to gain momentum in their region (see our blog post on that here). Take advantage of the natural marketers you see every day! And at the end of the day, their words are far more powerful than yours when reaching out to prospective international students.
5. Get Personal
Sure, social media and the expansion of the world-wide web means that it is getting easier to connect, but it also makes it more difficult to connect on a personal level. That one-on-one connection is still really valuable. Everyone likes a personalized card right? Don’t you get excited when you receive one in the mail? Well, even if we aren’t using snail-mail to international students anymore, students like to be recognized for who they are.
Think about it this way, if you were going to move across the world, would you prefer to go somewhere where people call you by name or where you feel like another number? Something as simple as personalizing an email with the prospective student’s first name or program of interest, or adding content about things that are actually happening on campus can go a long way in helping that student feel connected to you. When you can, take the time to personalize your content. A marketing automation platform makes all of this possible without you having to customize every email.
So you’ve read our list. Does it match up with yours? If not, comment below or send us an email and tell us why you think one of your most-used digital marketing tactics deserved to make the list. We’ll share all of the great ideas we receive.