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Recruiting Intelligence

Email Marketing for International Recruitment: Part II

This week, we are picking up part two of our discussion on email marketing for international student recruitment. If you haven’t done so already, you can read part one here.

There is so much discussion around whether email is ‘dying’ and whether it is even a viable channel for student recruitment marketing. Our answer is an unwavering yes - until something else supplants it. But that hasn't actually happened yet, despite the yammering. It's all about where and how you use this channel to influence the student decision-making. A strategic approach is important and knowing when and where to use email is essential. 

What we know: don't use email marketing lists as your first touch.

An important reminder: We'll be presenting about all this stuff at the NAFSA conference in May in DC along side Hillary Dostal from Northeastern University. Check out the link below to our session and hit the like and favorite icons if you'll be joining us! You'll get an inside look at some of our latest research.

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The email marketing that we conduct and recommend is not “first touch” marketing through list purchases and email blasts, but rather, nurturing campaigns to draw existing leads down through your recruitment funnel. Once built, a carefully crafted and automated email nurturing campaign can move leads to the point of application, without placing additional burdens on your admissions team. They have enough to do, right? 

Let’s jump into how you can implement an effective student recruitment email marketing strategy.

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Email Marketing for International Recruitment: Part 1

Whether you refer to it as a series of engagement streams, workflows or nurturing campaigns, we all know that email is still one of the key channels to stay connected with prospective students throughout their decision-making process. If they have demonstrated interest in you, they will read your emails. And the opposite is also true: If they have not demonstrated interest in you, they will not read your emails.

With our client work, we focus on the quality of the leads over the quantity. You should too.

Important Note: If you are reading this blog when delivered, this morning is the last chance to register for our Intead Plus Webinar: Artificial Intelligence for Higher Ed Explained. March 28 at 1pm EDT. Ben and Ashish Fernando, CEO of iSchoolConnect, will discuss online behavior and technology trends, as well as case studies that will help you understand the role AI can play in optimizing student recruitment and retention

Register For The Webinar

Intead Plus subscribers will have exclusive access to the webinar recording after the fact (so you can share it with colleagues who are unable to attend).

But let's get back to email marketing.

If you’re like many academic institutions, you may have long standing email workflows with hundreds of automated emails structured to go out to unique audiences on a weekly basis. Many other admissions teams do not have the resources to establish this system. Either way, maybe it’s time to ask: could your email marketing program use a refresh? We’re betting the answer is yes.

If that seems insurmountable, bear with us. We will be giving some quick tips throughout that you can use to make some small, effective changes to your current workflows. You can move beyond having just one or two email nurturing campaigns that go out to everyone, regardless of their interests or geographic location. You can segment your audience effectively. 

On the other hand, if you’re a one-person team or a small office looking to implement an effective email marketing strategy, you will have your work cut out for you… but that’s why you’re here! We will give you an overview of key concepts to consider and walk you through the process, step by step (we'll do it over 2 blog posts so as not to overwhelm -- and by now, your should be entertaining the thought, "Who else on my team should I be forwarding this blog post to...?" We encourage that thinking.)

Email marketing at the institutional level can be complex, to say the least. But this week we will help you break it down into a few key principles that will help you write (or edit) emails quickly and efficiently, while ensuring that the content will stand a strong chance of resonating with your desired audience.

Let’s get started.

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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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Do Your Prospective Students Open Your Emails?

You've heard this before, I'm sure: Students don't read email anymore, they are only on social media. Well that's sort of true.

In our work we have talked to a wide range of students and they actually understand that as they enter the real world, they have to do what those "old" people do to communicate online. They have to use that quaint mode of communication called email.

We hope that our readers who are into digital marketing are tracking their email open rates. This is pretty basic stuff at this point and all of the email marketing tools out there will provide this kind of data to help you evaluate the success of your email marketing campaigns.

The question is, when you look at the data, do you know what it is telling you? Wait, are you even looking at the data you have?

This is the thing with analytics. You need to know what you have and how to use it. And so many have it and don't know what to do with it. 

As you move forward and watch your email open rates, you are going to want to take your analytics quite a bit further. Because the real value of tracking your open rates comes when your digital marketing system allows you to follow the digital engagement path all the way to enrolled!

This kind of tracking takes time and diligence but it is the holy grail of digital marketing. Imagine knowing that one particular email you sent vs. another actually converts 3% more international students to enrolled status. That might make a few impressed eyebrows go up around the office. And with each campaign, you can measure your success.

Our intrepid correspondent, Emily R. Henry reporting from Leiden, Netherlands, is going to give you some insight and some basic tips to produce more enticing emails to your prospective international students. Read on...

~ Ben Waxman

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