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Recruiting Intelligence

Quick Tips for Building Effective Landing Pages

Maximizing Your Student Lead Conversion

According to Hubspot, 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website. That isn’t much time, so you will have to make the most of it—that’s where we come in.

This week we focus on some basic digital marketing tips. We are bringing you a selection of landing page design and content approaches to increase conversion rates—the essential tools for effectively recruiting prospective students online. Landing pages can help you effectively drive visitors to fill out information capture forms or guide them to the most relevant section of your website. Well-designed landing pages can increase your chances of turning visitors into leads, and converting those leads into enrolled students.

Hit your target audiences with key, search optimized information and relevant offers; make the search easier for them, and the chance of conversion is higher for you.

This digital marketing lingo may be a bit intense for some of our academic readers. Chances are there is someone on your staff charged with making your website and your digital marketing work really well together. That person would really appreciate it if you sent them this post. It might simply confirm that they have their act together, or it might spark a few new ideas. And if that person is you, read on to get our take on how a strong landing page will increase your lead conversion rates.

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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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Do You Chat with WeChat? International Student Recruiting in China

This year marked the 5th birthday of WeChat. Trust us, they had a lot to celebrate!

In April of 2015, it was reported that WeChat’s monthly users were second only to WhatsApp and far ahead of similar apps like Viber, Line or SnapChat. We should also mention (in case you don’t already know) that WeChat is almost exclusively used in China. Social media marketing staff take note!

If you look only to the usage rates of their Chinese users, WeChat beats other messaging apps by a wide margin. In 2015, WeChat was ahead of competitors by 25%. And most of their users? The young audiences, the prospective students, we are all trying to reach! If you haven’t been on WeChat in the past, it is no longer something you can ignore.

Just in case you haven’t heard of it (because you’ve been living in Antarctica or something), and you’ll want to hear about it if you want to recruit in China, WeChat is a messaging app. Back in 2014, we featured a two-part blog series on WeChat (Part 1 and Part 2). We hope you are using those resources. In June, eMarketer released a report on WeChat’s Chinese user base and how these users engage with the app. So, today we have more. 

Bottom Line: Get on WeChat. Chinese users make up nearly 93% (~700 million) of all WeChat users and its popularity surpasses any other similar Chinese messaging app. The app is becoming more and more integrated into daily life as WeChaters link their bank accounts to use the app for online shopping. Marketing on WeChat only promises to get more effective as time goes on. Pro tip: the stats in this post may help you justify increasing your international student recruiting budget if China is a primary target recruiting source for your institution. 

Meet Us In Newport & Miami: Heading to the NAFSA Region XI conference in Newport, RI (Oct. 18-20)?  We’ll be presenting our latest recruiting insights. And in December we will be in Miami at the AIRC and ICEF conferences with digital marketing presentations and workshops. We’d love to meet you and discuss the challenges you face in your work. Please be in touch if you'll be at any of these events.

Back to WeChat; read on...

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5 Ways Your Current International Students Can Help You Recruit

Did you know that, even in the digital age, the most effective marketing strategies for universities involve direct interaction with prospective students? In 2014, Hanover Research released results of a survey that showed just that. This is big news! Why? Because even with all the online and print promotion that you are doing, one-on-one connections still drive recruitment! And not only that, they really work.

Now you’re probably thinking--that one-on-one contact is really a lot of work and hard to scale! We get that. Reaching out to students one by one can take a lot of time and effort. But remember all of those international students you worked so hard to recruit and admit to your school? Hanover Research suggests “mobilizing alumni networks and current students to become your brand ambassadors.” This is just one approach to maximizing your student recruitment opportunities.

Bottom Line

You have a wealth of knowledge about and great connections with your target populations right at your fingertips. Are you wondering how you can start utilizing your resources? We’re going to introduce you to 5 ways you can use your new institutional ambassadors to spread the word about your institution, get their network talking and keep prospective international students engaged. We're certain there is someone on your staff who would value this post, so share away!

Special note: Intead is once again honored to present our latest insights at the NAFSA Region XI Conference (Newport, RI, October 18-20). Our session, A Mystery No More: Successfully Engaging Students in China and Beyond, will reveal the results of our international student mystery shopping experiments of your peer institutions. Best practices, with a focus on digital marketing, will be explained for prospective international students from initial contact through enrollment. We'll place special emphasis on social media factors that affect student recruitment in China. We would love to meet you and see if our experience can help you address the challenges you’re currently facing. 

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Yikes! Does Your Staff Understand the Value of a Lead?

We're back from that wild ride that is NAFSA! Thank you for all those who met with us and participated in our presentation and the insightful discussion that followed. Our slides will be available to you via this blog soon. Today, we want to talk about the value of your student leads and how easily they might be lost.

Here at Intead we regularly hire international students on OPT and CPT among other internship programs. Over the years, we have had amazing talent in our offices from China, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Colombia, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Spain, France, and more. They give us incredible insight into the international student experience while producing great work. They help us help you.

Some of them are interested in continuing to work in the U.S. Others are eager to take their skills back home to launch their new career path. We find their vibrancy and growth inspiring.

Today, I’d like to share a brief story that might just push you to re-evaluate your front line recruiting processes.

Bottom line: Every lead you acquire from every source is important. Those students making the effort to reach out to you are about the highest quality leads you can get. Be sure your front line staff understand the value of your leads and are capturing contact information consistently. Seems obvious, right? Well...

Given the effort and money you put into generating leads, losing the high value leads is enough to make you tear your hair out. Our recent experience with 5 universities here in Boston, one of our country’s education Mecca’s, shines a light on the importance of your front line staff and how often they may be slipping. Please read on.

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Work Experience as a Recruiting Tool: Erasmus+

“I can’t get a job without experience. I can’t get experience without a job.” If you know students who have graduated recently, you’ve probably heard them say this. It’s a cycle that every recent grad is terrified of falling into. Programs like European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students called, Erasmus+ recognized this issue and the program is making it possible for students to gain experience while studying. It's all about making students' futures look a little brighter. And, guess what? It’s working.

Erasmus+, created by the European Union, supports education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The program financially supports opportunities for European students to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.

Bottom Line: According to an ICEF Monitor article published in February 2016, Erasmus+ had more than doubled their number of students in 2014. Yes, you read right. Doubled! It is now sending 500,000 students abroad through their programs each year.

Students are jumping at the chance to go because, here is the kicker, mobility increases employability. And that is good news for your international student recruiting efforts. Students are already seeing the benefits of heading abroad. Now, your job is to show them how you can support their needs.

Our NAFSA presentation on the morning of Wednesday, June 1st is going to address why students seek international study options and how they weigh economic and political factors at home and abroad. We are analyzing 40,000+ completed international student surveys as we write this blog! The results will amaze you and guide your marketing plans. We can't wait to share this stuff with you! We hope you will be in touch to schedule a meeting in Denver.

Read on to learn more about how the lessons of Erasumus+ can inform your global marketing...

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Using #Instagram for International Student Recruitment

For your top 2016 international student prospects, using Instagram is second nature. These teens and young adults #instadaily like total pros. But, Instagram isn’t just an entertainment or social networking application. Not really. Not any more.

In September 2015, Instagram opened its doors to advertising for all businesses, big and small. That same month, Instagram hit another milestone when it beat out Twitter in active monthly users. Instagram’s website reports 400 million active monthly users. This is big.

So naturally there are big questions that arise with advertising opening up on Instagram. What is Instagram marketing? Should your university be doing it? Short answer: Yes.

Why? This is where your prospects are spending their time. Your digital marketing needs to adjust to the changing social media landscape. Hard to keep up? Hard to staff it? Of course. Want to beat out your competition? Right, of course, again.

Oh, and this from Higher Education Marketing: 48% of U.S. high school seniors were researching universities via Instagram in 2015. BAM!

No whining about how you can't find a way to do it. Let's get down to how to do it.

This week and next, Emily will share our thoughts and tips on why and how.

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Get The Most Out of Student Recruitment Travel

You know the saying: you can do anything, but not everything. It applies to all aspects of life and work. And it really applies to those in the international student recruitment industry who travel.

Traveling for recruitment is a whirlwind. There is advance planning, the many activities, meetings, fairs and visits that you have scheduled for your trip. Did we mention the long days on your feet at the booth while struggling with jet lag? Best not to mention that part, right?

And then, of course, the most important part of recruitment travel: following up with leads. Wasn't the whole point of the trip to find prospective students and ultimately enroll them?

It is quite a lot to take on. And last time we checked, you only had two hands, one brain, and 24 hours in a day.

Of course you can do it, but not all at once. We know the challenges you face while traveling, we’ve talked to your peers in the industry and we hear you. So, to help with that most important part--the lead follow up--we’ve created a “Getting The Most Out Of Travel” worksheet for you to, quite literally, keep in your back pocket. 

The Bottom Line: making sure you are converting those student leads, which is really why you are spending those budget dollars on recruitment travel to begin with.

Setting up a plan is key. To effectively market your institution while traveling, you have to have a clear strategy in mind and a step-by-step process to reach your end goal. This downloadable worksheet might be just the thing to share with your team as a helpful checklist as you fly forward...

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Audience Segmentation Worksheet for International Recruiting

If we said it 1,000 times—and we probably have —it still wouldn’t be enough. Audience Segmentation is the fuel that drives your email and digital marketing to the next level. By segmenting your prospective international students based on geography, academic interest, TOEFL scores and other demographic information, your creative content will engage them in a way that stands out from your competition.

Here’s the thing, of the 4,000+ universities and colleges in the U.S., only a handful are doing this level of marketing. So, if you are wondering if you should make the effort…uhm, YES!

So the Intead team has created a worksheet that spells it out in 9 steps. Want to download a copy to share with your staff? Read on...

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Zero to Intense Doesn't Work

Been at the gym and seen people working out for what is clearly the first time in a very long time? Have you seen them put the machine on some ridiculously high setting right out of the gate? Disaster waiting to happen, right?

Our regular blog subscribers have heard us talk about testing your digital marketing to international student markets before setting the dial to “intense.” I thought I’d take a moment to explain the rationale and the approach.

Bottom Line: Small marketing tests—that look at the combination of distribution channel, timing, message, content and design—are going to lead you to large scale success if you take the time to do it. To do this well, you need an innovation budget to allow for failure. Yes, failure. Why? Because you learn from failing and when you fail fast and cheap, you achieve success with confidence. With digital, this is the way of things.

What you really want to know: How many clicks? And importantly: How many conversions (applications and enrollments)?

Read on...

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