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Recruiting Intelligence

Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q1 2022

The first quarter of 2022 dealt its fair share of surprises, and then some. The pandemic loosened its grip (for the time being). Northern Europe was thrust into a war. These events are deeply personal and deeply tied to our everyday work in higher education. And then there were the everyday surprises courtesy of another enrollment and budget planning season. Still, the world kept turning and we kept acting on the opportunities we see for improvement in everything we are able to touch.

In the midst of all this, you may have missed a few of our top posts. No matter! We’re here to point you in the right direction. Read on for our quarterly recap of the most valuable stuff from Q1 2022 and the Intead resources available to you.

And, if you’ll be attending the NAFSA 2022 in Denver (May 31-June 3), be in touch so we can set aside time for a coffee and exchange of ideas. We’ll have 4 NAFSA presentations all covering different aspects of global recruiting. One of them has been selected by NAFSA for live-stream to give more folks access to the amazing panel that includes Benedict College, Clark University, and CIEE. More on that in the coming weeks.

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The Long and Winding Road Tracing the Student Journey: Part 2

Last week we began tracing the evolving international student journey, with a look at what might help or hinder your relationship with prospects along the way. In short, it’s all about engaging content and great follow-up. But that’s just part of the story.

When marketing to students, we often focus on the information we want to give them, but it’s equally important to consider what information a prospect needs to give you and what steps you need that prospect to take. So let’s explore a few ways to entice students to click that CTA and follow your channels, register for an event, download that guide… You get the idea.

Read on for our next installment reviewing the student journey elements that are so important to the phase we are in right now as application deadlines approach.

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The Long and Winding Road Tracing the Student Journey: Part 1

As we settle into 2022, we can't help but think about journeys – those we've been on and the ones we're embarking on now. Two important processes are staring us in the face right now. One for our prospective students and one for us. In reality, both are for us:

  • Application season
  • Budget planning

As enrollment management professionals, we know the elements of the student journey – from evaluation of the options, to defining the shortlist, applying, and then making the final selection – and all the small stops along the way that influence the student’s ultimate enrollment decision.

When we talk about the student journey, we think about everything we can do from a marketing and communications point of view to put the right information in front of prospective students at just the right time. What is our team doing well? What tools do we have in place? What are we missing? Our answers to these questions speak to both the application season and budget planning process.

If you’ve not yet downloaded our framework for budget planning (1-page chart), you’ll find some helpful insight there. Simple, straightforward steps to clarify your rationale for funding one recruitment project over another.

If you are attending the 2022 AIEA conference in New Orleans (Feb 20-23), be in touch and we’ll find time for a coffee and an exchange of ideas.

Read on for a helpful review of what the student journey is all about given the new twists and turns that the past two years have forced upon all of us.

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5 Lead Nurturing Best Practices for Universities and High Schools

For enrollment management professionals, the next few months are all about watching the applications come in and then pouring everything into nurturing them toward enrollment.

In an ideal world you would personally guide each lead from application to enrollment, but that’s just not feasible for most academic institutions. Instead, you need a strong and efficient lead nurturing strategy to engage your prospects and boost enrollment. (You do have one, right?)

Strong lead nurturing strategies take into account each stage of prospective students’ decision process and gives them relevant information along the way.

In fact, the best strategies anticipate student questions before the student (or parent) even knows they are going to ask them. When you’ve done this work for a long time, you tend to know the general flow of the journey of most consumers.

You see how the family starts with a few obvious questions, learns a few things, and then realizes the next questions that need asking. Not unlike the way students progress in the classroom as they come to understand a subject. Learning is an iterative process of inquiry that builds on itself.

In nurturing students selecting an institution or degree program, you are looking for a meaningful alternative to the one-on-one conversations you wish you could have over the course of the admissions journey. Rather than literally holding each lead’s hand, your role is to champion a rock-solid lead nurturing strategy for your institution.

If you’ll be attending the 2022 AIEA conference in New Orleans (Feb 20-23), be in touch and we’ll find time for a coffee and an exchange of ideas.

To learn the 5 key tactics that will help your team create a lead nurturing strategy that works, read on. This post is a great primer for any recruitment team interested in strengthening enrollment yield.

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Quick Hit Digital Campaigns: Performance Benchmarks (3)

We can’t dive into our digital marketing insights this week without first acknowledging where we are right now here in the US. As human beings, we share an acute craving for security. Such a strong desire for a return to “normal”.

This desire for safety cannot stand in the way of our need for change. We, as a community, stand for diversity of thought, culture, and expression. We stand for academic exploration and shared knowledge.

Our team brings the fortitude and commitment to stand day after day and stare straight ahead. We will continue to embrace opportunities to be in this community together, with each other and for each other.

Remember where to look when you need support and encouragement. Courage grows with numbers. We will be here, standing up for our shared ideals for as long as we are able.

And with that weighty and heartfelt commitment to all of you, we will turn to the business of the day with a much lighter tone—

We don’t usually endorse cheating off your neighbor’s paper, but today, we’re making an exception in the spirit of moving us all forward.

We’re excited to share this work with you: actual digital marketing campaign results from a campaign we recently ran for a US institution targeting international student prospects in Colombia and South Africa. We’re offering you a case study with real, granular detail straight from our marketing dashboards to help you answer digital marketing’s most common questions:

  • Am I doing this right?
  • What should I measure?
  • What does success look like?

Read on for a case study snapshot and to download the full version for yourself. We’re talking real performance data here, including top performing creative assets, actual CPC, CPM, and conversion data, and more.

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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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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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Fishing in a Gale

Even in the best of conditions, commercial fishing is a really tough job. You can’t always be sure of a catch in the first place. The work requires specialized equipment, a strong constitution, a team that works well together, patience, and an ability to read the signs. And even with all that in place, there is still no guarantee of success. 

And then, there is fishing in a gale.

Your boat is being knocked about. Your footing is unsure. There are a host of really challenging external conditions to navigate while your team continues to work with the equipment and do the important job of catching the fish.

External conditions cannot set you back!

You see where I’m going with this, right?

Right now, your enrollment managers and admissions reps are all fishing in a gale. We all are. Our institutions are counting on us to produce the catch that will keep everything afloat. Current conditions cannot set us back. And yet…there is no guarantee of a catch.

Some days, the fish simply are not biting. They only want to nibble (as Google search and click trends may indicate).

Enough with the metaphor, here are our top tips to enroll your incoming 2020 cohort and work toward your enrollment goals for 2021.

Read on for tips to produce the catch even on a bad day. (ok, so we are still using the metaphor).

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Go with the Flow: The How of Nurturing Leads

The first day of spring, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, is only 15 days away (not like we’re counting or anything.) Those few extra minutes of sunlight and that fresh feeling in the air got us thinking…about gardening. Taking our minds off the non-stop Coronavirus news.

With much of the spring international education conference circuit on hold, you just might catch us spending a bit more time in wide-brim straw hats with a gardening trowel. ; -)

But there IS something about the art of gardening — selecting the right plants, planting them in the right soil, providing them with the appropriate sunlight, water and food, that strikes a chord in our little marketing hearts.

Yes, we’re talking about nurturing.

If we consider your student leads as your fledgling flowers, how are you tending to them? Are you providing them with individualized care tailored to their needs? And, most importantly, are you guiding them towards a pathway to growth, or in our case, enrollment?

We’ve already discussed the power of segmenting your pool of student leads on this blog, as well as outlined different methods to segment in order to effectively develop content strategy around prospective students’ areas of interest. These posts are a few of our most read over time, getting consistent new readers each month.

Now, an important aside about email marketing...if you are among those who say, "Email is dead. Students don't read email." That may be because you are not putting any content in your email worth reading. We ALL delete useless sales emails on sight.

Reality Check (based on data): When a student prospect is engaged, they read your email. The onus is on you to engage them.

Segmentation is the first step to nurturing effectively, so make sure you have those defined audiences in place before you focus on today’s article: The How of Nurturing Leads. We’ll be offering you concrete suggestions for structuring email nurturing campaigns, as well as how to efficiently strategize your email topics and deliverables. Read on. 

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