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Recruiting Intelligence

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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The More Things Change…The More We Need to Figure Out

So, ICE tells all the online international students in the U.S. to go home and Harvard tells all students to go online for Fall 2020 (without lowering tuition). That’s quite a news day.

From day to day, the landscape continues to shift, sometimes dramatically.

If you’ve missed the past few months of Recruiting Intelligence posts because you’ve had other pressing priorities (we get it), then you may want to take a scroll through it all.

Read on for a quick summary of all the things we all need to figure out. (Spoiler alert: we've already figured out a lot of them).

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Quick Hit Digital Campaigns: Performance Benchmarks (2)

Listening to a radio interview this past weekend, I heard a fantastic analogy from a recording artist describing why she collaborated with others on her most recent album:

When you go to the playground and bounce the ball off the wall by yourself, you know how it will bounce back to you.

Collaborating with other talented people produces more than you can produce by yourself. And it often produces the unexpected bounce that takes your project to the next level. Today we will look at a digital marketing case study for a campaign we ran in India, Brazil, and the U.S.

This is our second post in our enrollment management series addressing the question of how much of a media budget do you need to succeed with your digital student recruitment campaigns?

The answer: Benchmarks are the signposts to improvement and success. When you run campaigns, you capture the data that tells you how to improve. Collaborate with us and we will help you get the desired campaign bounce (not bounce rate – that’s something entirely different ; -)

We are providing our community with case studies offering a level of detail you simply do not find out there. We look at case studies offered up on other websites and often we are perplexed by what their definition of “case study” is. What we are providing: actual campaign results to help you know if you are doing things right.

Our recent enrollment marketing campaigns for a range of institutions have targeted student audiences in Kenya, South Africa, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, France, India, and of course, the US. Campaigns on the horizon will target recruitment stalwarts: China, India, and South Korea as well as Australia and Canada.

Pro tip: you’ll want to share these posts with your team. Better yet, get them to subscribe to our blog.

And here is a link to last week’s Intead Blog and Case Study about Kenya and Ecuador in case you missed it.

Read on for perspective on the talent and budget needed to make your next digital student recruitment campaign even more successful.

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Quick Hit Digital Campaigns: Performance Benchmarks (1)

How much of a media budget do you need to succeed with your digital student recruitment campaigns?

The answer: Benchmarks are the signposts to improvement and success. When you run campaigns, you capture the data that tells you how to improve.

For the next few weeks in this enrollment management series, the Intead team will share what marketing agencies rarely, if ever, share publicly: real campaign results to help you know if you are doing things right.

Just looking at some of our recent enrollment marketing campaigns for a range of institutions, we have targeted student audiences in Kenya, South Africa, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, France, India, and of course, the U.S. More campaigns on the horizon will target recruitment stalwarts: China, India, and South Korea as well as Australia and Canada.

Do you see any of your target audiences in this set? Thought so.

Pro tip: you’ll want to share these posts with your team. Better yet, get them to subscribe to our blog.

Read on for perspective on setting leadership’s expectations for future success, what to throw into a campaign (talent and budgets), and the real, detailed benchmarks to measure your performance. Yes, all of that (but you have to read to the end to get it ; -)

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Perceived Value: Online vs. On Campus

What are your students willing to pay for an online education?

Here is what you are really after: given your brand reputation, the demographics of your student cohort and the potential to create a new service delivery model, what should you offer and how much should you charge for it?

Let’s get that answered!

Our primary message: custom research into what your student cohort is willing to pay for your brand on campus or online is invaluable. An important part of innovation is the upfront market research that points your team in the right direction.

Below we review some new pricing research that offers insights and a conceptual approach to getting this type of data for your institution.

The context: During a high school Zoom graduation ceremony we watched this past week (my niece got her paper!), the valedictorian shared the experience of his last day in high school in March this year – a day like any other, except that at the end of it, the principal quite suddenly told everyone there would be no school the next day. A mundane day that suddenly marked the end of all he had worked for. No celebration, no Senior Week pranks, no high fives, just, head home and, as it turned out, don’t return.

His comment at the close of his valedictorian graduation speech: Don’t ever doubt that the world can change in an instant.

Across the globe, students and institutions shared that experience. How will all those valedictorians and all their friends make decisions going forward. College? Job? Remote learning and a job?

Read on for pricing research perspective to get you thinking.

And watch this space over the next few weeks as we dive into the doing that is prompted by the thinking. We’ll be sharing detailed case studies of some of the successful digital marketing work we’ve been doing for a variety of institutions around the world.

Yes, even during a pandemic, especially during a pandemic, digital marketing will connect you with your target audiences. We will show you how and give you benchmarks to help you evaluate how you are doing.

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Investing in Growth, Looking Beyond Fall

Your institution’s mission has not changed.

Despite all that is swirling around us, you are still in the business of helping people improve and achieve. You are still helping them understand what to learn and how to learn it.

Resilience is Built

Many institutional leadership teams are demonstrating the very resilience their mission statements say they will instill in their students. Others are suggesting business as usual with little change to their operations beyond physical distancing practices.

Investing in adaptation and innovation builds long-term resilience. This is what students are doing by investing in their educations – building resilience.

What is the story we tell students and parents? “Take the risk. We know it is a lot of money, but you’ll be better off in the long-term.” We tell students to invest in a 4-year growth plan, and we reinforce it along the way, “Don’t be deterred! Finish in 4 years!”

Are academic leaders following that same advice to build resilience for their institutions? Or are they crying poor, just like the students they are trying to convince to spend savings and take on debt for future gains?

Here’s the thing: institutions rarely stick to their own 4-year plans.

Example: Enrollment marketing initiatives often start with 3-5 year plans. The team acknowledges that real returns won’t materialize in years 1 or 2. And then, turnover in senior administrators and other outside factors suddenly defund the growth plan and little to no progress gets made. The planned investment halts after just 12 months.

I’m sure you’ve seen this happen all too often.

What To Do?

Develop the vision. Build the buy-in. Invest in the execution. Stay the course.

We will be adding a new set of research and resources available to our Intead Plus members over the next 8 weeks to help you do just that.

Read on to take a look at where forward-looking institutions are making these investments for longer-term growth (case studies are available).

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Connecting the Dots for Enrollment Success

Let’s pause for just a minute or two and take a few deep breaths. The pace of all that is going on, right?

With this post, we are going to connect a few dots. Reconfirm the why’s and how’s of what we are doing in the enrollment management arena.

Right now, we see civil unrest around us that is the expression of communities not understanding each other. Lack of cultural understanding, lack of connection, lack of empathy, all leading to severe consequences. This is an age-old struggle and we, in the education sector, pour our hearts into changing the underlying factors that contribute to the mess we find ourselves in.

Getting our work right really does matter. Education IS such a huge part of moving our communities in the right direction.

For most of us, maybe all of us, recent events make it crystal clear why we do this: every mind opened, every cultural connection built, is a win.

To achieve loftier goals, the academic institution must remain economically viable. And we need the students to enroll.

We know, looking ahead, more dramatic change is coming as we navigate various immigration decrees and virus news. We’ve all been working really hard to maintain the pace and make smart decisions. So, let’s just pause and reflect for a moment and connect some dots.

In short, the process is: view the data, assess the tools, make a plan, execute. Sounds simple, right ; -)

Our Intead Plus library of recruitment content and worksheets has supported so many. It’s out there if you need it. Below we review our process with some helpful lists to get you thinking, considering.

This is such an important time to plan and act.

Often, as the team here begins our projects with a new client, institutional leaders apologize for the many silos across their campuses that hold information and work far too independently. We are often tasked with gathering the necessary information and bringing as much unity to the siloed teams as possible.

Deep breath.

And again.

Getting our important work done the best way: There are so many approaches and so many adjustments that are necessary as circumstances and the people involved shift. All of our talents for listening, embracing and connecting ideas, all of this is needed from all of us.

There are underlying processes to how we do enrollment marketing that are essential and consistently required regardless of the circumstances. These processes adapt as situations change. 

Knowing where your processes stand, and which dots might need more attention has real value. Read on and consider whether your enrollment management system’s dots are functioning holistically.

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Advertising to Students with Instagram


Should Instagram be one of your student recruitment tools?

Here's another question more to the point: Are you prepared to ignore the 50% of high school seniors searching for university options via Instagram?

Sure, go ahead and put your marketing budget into those slick mailers that cost $10+ per piece. You do know that they go straight from the mailbox to the recycle bin, right? Trust us, we have 17 year olds at home and watch it happen each week. Sorry, harsh but true.

In last week’s blog post we introduced you to all of the great things Instagram can offer to universities: ease of use, engaging content, targeting younger student groups, providing a glimpse of life on campus. All of these things are great for your digital marketing initiatives. And Instagram is constantly updating and evolving both their phone app and website to make the platform even easier to use.

In addition to those free features Instagram offers its users, the platform recently added advertising options. In this week’s post, Emily will introduce us to the how's and why's of advertising to students on Instagram.

QUICK SIDE NOTE: Can We Meet in Denver? We will be at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference in May presenting new data about the impacts of current economic and political events around the world on students’ plans to study abroad. Use this link to schedule a time to meet with us at NAFSA in Denver. We’d love to learn about your recruiting plans and share our latest research with you in person.

Now, on to Emily's take on Instagram...

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International Student Recruiting in Africa Part II: Nigeria

In last week’s introductory post Africa's Competitive Edge on international student recruitment in Africa, we set the scene. Though the economies in many countries have seen hard times recently, the momentum of students in both North and Sub-Saharan Africa seeking to study in the U.S. and other places around the world is increasing. Documenting the trend: increasing numbers of competitive SAT scores being sent from Nigerian students to U.S. universities.

Today, we will share our thoughts on the trends and opportunities of student recruiting specifically in Nigeria—the largest sending country in Africa in 2015. Almost 9,500 students from Nigeria are studying in the U.S. today. Let's look at a few ideas about how to market to this particular group of students. There is a lot to learn about this country to be successful in your recruiting efforts. We want to get you started.

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