The COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc on the higher education system globally. Universities and colleges have been forced to shift their teaching online. Additionally, they also need to adjust their international student recruitment activities given the competitive and ever-changing international education landscape.
Digital International Student Recruitment Post-COVID
Co-authored by Tanmoy Ray and Pete McAllister
Universities have been engaging in digital activities for the last few years. However, the wide-reaching economic implications and social distancing measures of the coronavirus threat have triggered a critical need for accelerated digital transformation.
As we enter a ‘new normal’ where business processes move to a virtual environment, higher education cannot afford to fall behind. Adopting a digital-first strategy is the only way to future-proof operating models, navigate the current challenge, and retain a competitive edge once we reach the other side.
Our Observation at Stoodnt.com
Even at Stoodnt.com, our university/college partner clients have been increasing their digital marketing budgets and witnessing good results.
Stoodnt’s Traffic Growth during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Our website traffic has been increasing by more than 40% month-on-month since March — ~94% increase over 4.5 months. Have a look at the graph below!
~84% of our traffic is from organic search the average time on site is ~3:30.
Newsletter opening rates, social media engagement, live webinar attendance, queries (leads) on the website, one-on-one online counselling sessions – all verticals have increased significantly in the past four and half months.
Why is International Student Recruitment Important?
For the diversity of the student body and a considerable amount of revenue for the university, recruiters are encouraged to find top tier students from abroad.
The benefits of doing so are enormous as these students usually go back to their country armed with the tools needed to make a difference in their country and thus, the world.
Chinese student recruitment or from other countries usually meant that universities would set up offices there to have a physical presence. Or, they would set up recruitment fairs in cities around the world where they wanted to target the right students.
In a post-COVID world, this is not a great option. Instead, it’s time to set up some digital marketing strategies to effectively recruit international students. Here are some ways that this can be done.
Please note – Stoodnt.com does not recruit students for university partners and does NOT operate on a Commission-based model.
Stoodnt.com is a platform where universities & colleges engage with students (and parents) virtually through multiple channels (blogs, webinars, etc.).
Additionally, on Stoodnt, our counsellors work as independent career counsellors and/or admissions consultants. They provide expert & unbiased guidance to improve the admission chances of the applicants at top universities.
So, how to leverage the digital medium for international student recruitment?
How to Take International Student Recruitment Digital?
Do Virtual Tours
It’s difficult for students to determine if a university is going to be the right fit for them without visiting. The next best thing to have available for them is a virtual tour of the campus.
This is an easily accessible way for potential students to see how life may be on campus. They will be able to see how the buildings look with the interiors showcasing the modern infrastructure.
Since it won’t be very interactive, the virtual tour should be supplemented with videos of students talking about each of the various facets about the campus and how things work on a daily basis.
Use Artificial Intelligence
In the recent past, university recruiters would look to regions where there would be a high likelihood of finding the best potential students. They still had to cast a wide net, however, and use a lot of resources to find them.
With or without the coronavirus being a factor, AI for recruitment is just a good idea all around. Right now, it is mainly being used for companies to find the best candidates for their open positions.
The same software can now be used to find the best students to try to recruit to your university from all over the world. It is far more efficient and multiples of times more effective at finding the best recruits from all over the world.
Get the most out of Inbound Marketing
One of the best ways to find the ideal student for your university is to allow them to find you. You should be using the same type of marketing that many businesses use now to create leads.
This is called inbound marketing and is very effective at attracting the exact type of person you are looking for. The idea is to use various channels to create a funnel in which people enter and then the best candidates come out the opposite end of the funnel as a credible lead.
Use social media to portray your university in the terms that you wish to convey. Make sure the emphasis is on international recruitment. Then set up a website to capture email addresses of the potential recruits and market to them through a drip campaign with regularly scheduled emails.
A YouTube channel is essential and it should help to send people to a sign up for a webinar in which you make a presentation about the benefits to studying in your university for international students.
Partner With Us
It’s always a good idea to explore new platforms and channels. So, if you wish to increase your digital outreach and engage with your target audience, we would be happy to collaborate.
Drop us an email at customer [dot] support [at] stoodnt [dot] com.
You can also reach out to me at prasenjit [dot] saha [at] stoodnt [dot] com.
Featured Image Source: Times Higher Education