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Recruiting Intelligence

An International Community (College) Pipeline

Community colleges are, traditionally, locally-minded places (hey, it’s right there in the name).  But two-year campuses have as much to gain from cultivating a diverse and global student body as any other educational institution—and international students have much to gain from considering this non-traditional avenue to an American diploma.

Our Enrollment management friends at 4-year institutions have long looked to community colleges as a valuable pathway for recruiting international students already studying here in the US. With roughly 95,000 international students studying at US community colleges (thanks for tracking this IIE), this makes a nice pipeline for 4-year institutions seeking students who have already succeeded at acquiring a US visa. 

Another recruitment channel where international students already have acquired a US visa: US private high schools with more than 80,000 international students. We'll be talking to the private high school community at the TABS Global Symposium on April 30 in Newport, RI. Join us there and build important relationships to become more effective with this valuable recruitment pipeline.

Do you work at a 2-year institution? Are you at a 4-year institution interested in a quality recruitment stream? This topic matters to all of us. Keep reading.

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The Role of Translation in International Student Recruitment

“Why should we translate our materials if prospective students need to have strong English skills to perform well in our classes?”

It’s a valid discussion. We have always been vocal advocates for translating marketing materials into the local language of your target audience. This week: our perspective on translation, some of the most effective places to use it, and most importantly, why.

This post is important for your team producing the materials and your higher ups who are questioning the rationale. Our goal: making you more capable, powerful, successful. Share away.

Important to remember that translation is just one piece of the larger content customization process and that the content you share with your US audience will not resonate with your international audiences, whether you translate It or not. Each of your audiences are unique and will respond to different messages.

Here's the thing you already know: marketing differentiation is all about speaking to your audience segments with the information that resonates. Seems obvious, but not many institutions take the time to do it. Instead, they blast the same stuff to every lead.

And yet...they all complain and wring their hands about declining numbers and yield. There are solutions right there in front of you that do take more time and more investment. Take advantage of them sooner than later!

To read more about developing audience personas and audience segmentation, see our post on Persona Development: 101 here. 

The Intead team does this targeted content strategy and writing for our clients to improve application flow and yield. Let's get to work together. 

A note on adding Google Translate to your site: not better than nothing. The nuance and specifics of your differentiators that your marketing department worked so hard to craft are absolutely butchered with Google Translate. Your target audience scans (not reads) pages translated via Google. They get the high level gist of it and move on quickly. There is no absorption of content because everyone knows you are losing a lot of accuracy. You'll understand more about all you are losing by taking this awful shortcut as you read on.

So, about the rationale and the process for translation, let's dive in...

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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.

TABS Global Symposium


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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Getting Smart about Edtech: Learning Management and Social Learning Platforms


OK, let's stay focused people!

So there are a few bad eggs out there doing admissions really, really wrong. You are not doing it wrong. We are not doing it wrong. We've got work to do, so let's ignore the headlines and get back to doing our jobs.

Just a few weeks back, we wrote about the growth and growing competition in the world of “edtech:” a broad term for the array of technologies designed to enhance learning, streamline the administration of educational programs, and improve student outcomes (find the post HERE). 

Current thinking divides the area of edtech into 8 segments and we will be discussing each of them in more depth this year. Our next Can't Miss Event is a webinar on Artificial Intelligence and its relationship to Machine Learning and Predictive Modeling. What does all this mean for international and domestic student recruitment and retention? 

Join Ben and Ashish Fernando, CEO of iSchoolConnect for an exclusive Intead Plus webinar on March 28 at 1 PM EDT: Artificial Intelligence for Higher Ed Explained.

We’ll be sharing valuable data about online behavior and technology trends, as well as case studies that will help you understand the role AI can play in optimizing your own student recruitment and retention plans. 

Register for the Webinar

Let's put it this way: It's a heck of a lot more than filtered lists and chat bots. And we are afraid that many others in the field are not thinking broadly enough about how this all works and what it truly involved. And of course, the consideration of what is affordable for the value.

Join us live—or if you can’t make it, heads up that Intead Plus subscribers will have exclusive access to the webinar recording (trust us: this is one you’ll want to refer back to and share with colleagues).

In our blog today, we are not about artificial intelligence. Instead we are focusing on edtech’s potential for better connecting students to resources and each other. Ensuring that students can easily connect with enriching materials and their fellow learners is a pretty basic goal of every educational institution...and yet, one that can be surprisingly difficult to do efficiently and well. And while technology can’t solve every problem...it sure can help a lot.

Read on for our review of 2 primary buckets of helpful edtech tools: learning management and social learning. What do these terms mean? How can they be helpful? And if your institution is already using these kinds of edtech tools, how can you know if they’re working?

Good questions—let’s get going.

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The Power of List Segmentation Part III: So You Want More Student Applications, Right?

Audience segmentation and digital marketing, this is our third post of our three-part series. Our faithful readers dug into Part I (segmentation and parameters) and Part II (audience motivations) with relish. Today: messengers and lead scoring. Hold onto your hats, right?

This stuff is important— so while our blog series on the topic may end today, we hope you'll keep digging into the topic of audience segmentation. We're here to help. Drop us a line at info@intead.com, or connect with us in-person at the TABS Global Symposium on April 28-30 in Newport, RI.  We'd love to talk with you about how you can use segmentation to up your enrollment game.

One other near-term, valuable opportunity to learn with us: Artificial Intelligence for Higher Ed Explained. An Intead Plus exclusive webinar with Ashish Fernando, CEO of iSchoolConnect. 

This is a great opportunity. We will help you navigate the complex waters of AI and help you stay focused on your long-term goals. We're Intead, so we'll have some really cool data to share about online behavior, tech trends, case studies and the many faces of AI that can improve your student recruitment and engagement.

Register for the Webinar HERE

Here's the bottom line on audience segmentation. Yes, the process can feel daunting. You have a lot to consider: Which regions do you want to reach? What motivations drive your prospective students? Which messages will be most compelling, and to whom?

There is a ton of strategy to consider and content to develop. Nevertheless, this process is how you get more applications and boost your student yield. We imagine there is some internal pressure to achieve these goals, yes?

Different markets require different approaches. Ignore this reality at your own peril. For example, many institutions simply dump all prospective “international students” into a marketing bucket called “INTERNATIONAL.” We hear it all the time (“Let us show you our ‘international’ recruitment brochure!”) and it still makes us wince.

In today's competitive market, a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn't cut it. Take the time to segment your audience and implement a marketing plan (message, content, dissemination channel) to each group you are targeting, and success will follow.

Part of doing audience segmentation well is choosing the best messenger at the best time. And another part is having your system set up to indicate or elevate the best leads - AKA lead scoring (those most engaged) so you know where to focus your valuable time and resources.

So without further ado, let's get to it.

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The Power of List Segmentation Part II: What's Motivation Got To Do With It?

Last week’s blog post kicked off our mini-series on audience segmentation with a discussion on segmentation by demographics, geography and interests. This week we will delve into models for identifying underlying student motivations and how to make use of this data for your international student recruiting.

Psychographic segmentation identifies unique groups of students with shared motivations and desires in order to help you, as a recruiter, discover what drives them to enroll at your institution. Student's don't just show up on your doorstep. They must be motivated to seek out your institution, out of all your competition. 

Here's an interesting audience segment: 50% of Nafsan's think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change Higher Education but they don't know how. We aim to fix that! Intead Plus Members will have access to an exclusive webinar about AI and Higher Ed on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 1 pm. Not an Intead Plus Member and still want in? We might know some people at the door! Drop us an email.

The market segments we discuss below are common to most student groups no matter their geographic origins. Yet, each segment will respond more or less to different influencers, based on what part of the globe they come from.

There are so many ways to parse the data. No wonder so few institutions take the time to implement this granular approach to marketing. You know other industries, including clothing retailers, are doing this stuff with their digital marketing. it's not that hard to do. But it takes time.

Retailers use CRM platforms and employ small teams of people to write copy and develop marketing approaches for each clothing line based on audience segmentation. They commit the resources to meet each audience segment with the right information, at the right time, to help them make an informed decision about a purchase. Although the service your institution provides differs wildly from the offerings of any retailer, the granular level of segmentation is relevant and applicable to your specific academic programs and the audience segments you are approaching for each one. 

Bottom Line: We certainly see parallels with how retailers and universities can communicate their offerings to audience segments and cross sell (students interested in this program also pursued interests in these areas...). What we don’t see is a parallel commitment of resources. Academics are so often strained by budgets and limited resources, but the reality is that those committed to growth and success commit funds to reaching the right audience with the right information.

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The Power of List Segmentation Part I: Are you already doing this?

Creativity is essential in our field, and today we talk about how to apply that creativity to the right leads. In fact, we are going to give you plenty of details over the next few weeks on the power of segmentation as you recruit international students. (ProTip: you may want to share this 3-part series with a few key colleagues responsible for your recruiting - domestic and international.) 

When we talk about segmenting your audience, it is critical that you understand your institution's differentiators. Our recent blog post on getting creative about differentiation really resonated with our readers. Did you catch that one? (Read it here).

Bottom Line: by segmenting your international student leads based on geography, academic interest, TOEFL scores and other demographic information, your creative content will engage in a way that stands out from the competitive crowd.

But wait, there's more!

This post is going to take you into an important set of segmentation processes and parameters. A very important one, lead scoring, will be addressed later in this 3-part series on audience segmentation. You and your team won't want to miss any of these posts.

Come see us present at the TABS Global Symposium on April 28-30 in Newport, RI, and we can talk all about the digital marketing we love so much!

Here's the thing: You are going to need some help to do this kind of work. You need the tools and the skills to make it work effectively. Don't shy away from that. In a competitive market, your enrollment numbers are going to fall if you are not keeping pace or pulling ahead of your peer institutions. You know this. The headlines have been screaming about enrollment declines for the past three years (and then some).

So fire up the CRM platform that gives you the ability to design flexible landing pages quickly and easily. Pull in that person on your team who knows how to write great content to your different segments. And get ready to recognize the person who knows how to manage lists and track results. You'll need them (or us) to make this process hum.

Read on...

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Geotargeting and Retargeting in Digital Marketing

Working in a recruitment office, we’re willing to bet that you have more on your plate than you can handle. But that’s par for the course, right?

We know it can be difficult to find the time to take advantage of all of the opportunities in front of you. This week, we want to give you a quick overview of two targeted marketing concept that can have a positive impact on your international recruitment initiatives – and how you can make the most of the opportunities they present.

It is likely that your institution already employs some form of geotargeting and retargeting in your online advertising campaigns, but how can you ensure that it’s being done effectively for international recruitment? Let’s dig into these terms and how you can use your audience segmentation to strengthen your approach.

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Competition In Edtech Is Off the Charts

Every time we turn around there is another set of edtech companies showing off their wares. At NACAC, NAFSA and the American Marketing Association’s Higher Ed Group, everyone has a tech solution.

We’ve been watching the rise of edtech and loving the growth and the disruption. From offering new ways of delivering educational content to how we confirm that students are absorbing that content, there are beautiful things happening. And the data being collected is going to help us all improve our education outcomes.


There are more than 15,000 companies in some form of edtech position. And by some estimates more than $50B (likely more) has been invested in making them grow. Some of the names are familiar to you and some are new to all of us.

But everything is not rosy here. All too often, the marketing for these companies shout out “Artificial Intelligence” and “Predictive Modeling,” when they are anything but “intelligent” or “predictive.” If you scratch the surface when you meet them at a conference, you’ll find that their “predictive modeling” is simply filtering their list purchases in sophisticated ways. We're thinking their marketing pitch might be better termed “Artificial Modeling.” To wit, they are selling stuff with no substance.

Intead will be doing a series of posts and webinars with industry leaders addressing edtech in the coming year. We’re excited to shine a light on those that are doing incredible things. As always, our Intead Plus members will get the best stuff from us.

Please read on for a nice summary of the wonderful ways edtech will transform the classroom, our employees, and our lives in the years to come.

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