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Recruiting Intelligence

Getting Started With Chatbots

Over the past decade, chatbots have become more accessible and less expensive to universities. By incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website, applicants, students, and parents can find answers to their questions instantaneously. Institutions also demonstrate that they have the tech-savviness necessary to educate Gen Z and Millennial students.

The upcoming AIRC conference in Miami will have great learning opportunities on tech tools like chatbots as well as the usual range of international student recruitment insights from all corners of the globe. The Intead team is excited to present alongside our colleagues from Fordham University, Northeastern University, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science. Please be in touch to schedule a meeting with us at the event. 

Our recent presentation at the CIEE Summit offered up perspective on global partnerships and how they support an institution’s larger internationalization effort. Find some of that perspective here: 10 Ways to Develop Strategic Advantage for Enrollment. We are working on providing access to the full recording and slide deck.

Back to the chatbot discussion: with today’s conversational chatbots, you are creating the user experience your important site visitors have come to expect as they traverse the internet every day. It is all about building the relationships that drive enrollment conversion.

Read on for a breakdown of what you’ll want to consider.

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2 Ways to Get Gen Z

It is wonderful to see a number of institutions touting strong, even incredible, increases in applications for their fall 2021 enrollment. And then the crowing over the record number of students actually enrolling. These successes are fabulous, for sure.

Yet, NCES data just released, with about 50% of all institutions reporting, shows the broader, less rosy picture. Most institutions saw average enrollment declines of around 3% (or worse) in various student segments.

Those few who are cheering, and the larger number of enrollment managers furrowing their brows, are evaluating all of this in the context of what happened in fall 2020 when so many institutions saw frightening and dramatic declines. Bigger than the enrollment blips that 2020 and 2021 represent is, of course, the enrollment cliff predicted for 2025/2026. How are institutions preparing for the challenges ahead?

We’ve seen an increasing number of institutions re-evaluating the game plan and getting very concerned about whether or not they appeal to Gen Z. It is a valid question. An important question. And here’s the thing: marketing agencies everywhere are making the most of that question in ways that can be highly misleading – the level of exaggeration coming from the marketing world prompts a bit of an eyeroll.

Sure, the decision-making process has differences today, but honestly, it is more the same than it is different. Not saying institutions seeking to attract and enroll students don’t need to adjust. They do.

Note: We recently presented an AIRC-hosted webinar alongside Technion Israel Institute of Technology talking about digital marketing and Gen Z that is now available to subscribers to our Intead Plus library.

Read on for insights on two important avenues for getting Gen Z to think more seriously about your institution. And join us at the AIRC conference in Miami in December where there will be plenty of talk on this topic.

A key idea: re-evaluate the hoops you make applicants jump through.

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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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The Student Journey Re-Imagined

Customer journey mapping is an important thing as you build a digital marketing plan. How do customers first become aware of your brand? What do they consider along the way? What can you deliver to them to speak convincingly to those considerations?

We’ve done quite a few posts about micro-conversions (from our NAFSA session last year - among other posts). The idea is that you give your digital prospects the information they want at the right time to take them to the next step or next consideration in the process. You don’t just push the “apply now” button at the get go.

So, with all that is going on with enrollment issues right now, why are we talking about customer journey mapping? Because the decision-making process for your students – both prospective and current, both international and domestic – has changed. A lot.

This is the right time to re-consider how your digital marketing (website, ads, social media) are speaking to your many student segments about what you have to offer, before they defer for the next year and the connection you’ve worked so hard to create dissipates and then disappears, along with the tuition payments.

Read on for tips and perspective on why this is so important.

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Is Your .edu Part of The IT Crowd?

A few years back, the business world faced an onslaught of new domain extensions. Companies formerly satisfied with their .com addresses suddenly had new options to choose from: .info, .biz, and the like. Even .cool made the scene. 

While the gold standard for academic sites has always been .edu, alternatives such as .college, .degree, .education, and .university present a new, distinctly 21st century challenge: how can you protect your institution from copycat sites?

More importantly, is it just brand management at stake, or does the availability of these domain names put your students’ privacy and online safety at risk?

There seem to be more #EdTech issues emerging every month. We're here to help make some sense of it all. When it comes to protecting your institution’s digital footprint in today’s ever-changing tech landscape, a bit of research and a thoughtful game plan can save you a great deal of headache. Today, we look at these digital hazards and make some concrete recommendations. Read on. 

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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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8 Online Listings — Are You There?

We talk a lot about digital marketing content that makes waves. No matter what your message is, it can’t inspire prospective international students unless it is noticed.

Here’s the thing, when international students search, will your institution come up in the results? Depends on where and how they search, right?

With digital marketing, there are many ways to get your message and content out there in front of those student searchers. And get this, some of the ways are absolutely free.

Yes, there is a set of international websites that will list your academic institution for free.

Bet you wish someone would gather those sites up into an easy list with some summary information. Heck, why not add the global ranking and unique visitor counts while they are at it? Who would do something like that for you?

Why, Intead of course!

We tasked Jacqueline Roodbaei, our fabulous international student intern from Hanze University in Groningen, Netherlands, with the assignment. Lucky for you, she’s been working in our Boston office researching all kinds of things for us since September and this project was a no brainer for her.

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