Four Predictions For Digital Marketing In 2015

With 2015 almost upon us, it is high time that we turned our minds to predicting how digital marketing will continue to take shape in the year ahead. Digital marketing – search, social media, mobile, content marketing, and more – has certainly held our attention this year. Prospective students and potential partners are relying ever more on digital channels, and 2014 has in some respects been an interesting turning point in how many of us think about the place of digital in the overall marketing mix.

[Originally published on ICEF at http://monitor.icef.com/2014/11/four-predictions-digital-marketing-2015/ ]

We believe that digital will take hold to an even greater degree in 2015 and we’re not alone. Forbes published a thought-provoking article earlier this month entitled, “6 predictions about the state of digital marketing in 2015.” We’ve been reflecting on it for a few days now and have reframed their six original predictions into the four that we think will have the greatest impact on international student recruitment marketing.

Content is (still) king

Forbes gathered responses from 20 experienced digital marketing experts to frame their predictions, and the first one they landed on was that content will be more important than ever in 2015. “As Google continues to get better at connecting related search queries, long, in-depth content will become more of a trend,” said Danny Tran, online marketing manager at digital marketer QuinStreet.

Adds Venchito Tampon, content marketer with Digital Philippines, “Content will make it easy for new and existing customers to locate and use the best products and services they intend to look for in various channels… Educating the target audience will now become the top selling point of many brands from whatever industry they are in.”

We’ve had a lot to say about content marketing over the last year or so. And it seems clear that an increasing emphasis on search optimisation, competitive positioning, and meeting the expansive information requirements of prospective students will continue to encourage institutions and schools to invest heavily in quality, original content.

In just one notable example, ILAC, an award-winning Canadian language school, has gone so far as to establish its own radio station, providing English language learning content along with music programming and a related series of podcasts and other rich content.

 

7 (1)

As the ILAC example illustrates, the point of content marketing is to promote the brand, and its products and services, by offering content that is informative or entertaining for the user. By providing something of value, the advertiser earns a share of the prospect’s attention and, in the best case, encourages them to engage with the brand.

Internet users have become more cynical and ad-savvy, with interruptions to their online experiences unlikely to be rewarded and more likely to be ignored,” notes a recent post on the Euromonitor International blog. “The solution increasingly rolled out by marketers and online services is [content marketing].”

All together now

Forbes’ second prediction is that marketing channels – digital and non-digital – will become increasing integrated in 2015. “Content creation, search optimisation and social media will be less siloed as specific departments and treated more like skills that exist across the organisation,” says Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing.

This is an important point and one that we wager many institutions and schools have begun to bump up against in 2014. Marketing and IT are distinctly separate functions and departments in many organisations. There might be a talented SEO specialist lurking within the marketing team but how connected is he or she to important IT processes or even decision-making or planning around web content?

This is a potentially culturally and structurally disruptive idea for many organisations but given the importance of digital marketing today, we may have reached the point where those traditional walls between marketing and IT need to be broken down, for the sake of providing a highly integrated experience for prospects across devices, channels, and media. And, more to the point, for the sake of driving conversions across an expanding range of both digital and non-digital touch points.

More mobile than ever

At the start of this year, we said that marketers will focus on mobile more than ever before in 2014. And we are saying it again for 2015.

Forbes has a broader view of mobile trends for 2015 and points to important upcoming developments in advanced analytic for mobile as well as the rapidly expanding “wearable” mobile category (e.g., smart watches, fitness bands).

But if we bring this back more squarely to international student recruitment, the implications of the mobile behaviours that established themselves over 2013 and 2014 are inescapable for education marketers.

Tracking studies indicate that 30% of international prospects primarily access the web via a mobile device, and as much as 71% have at least looked at a university website on a smartphone or tablet. These numbers naturally vary by market to some extent. But in China, for example, 81% of Internet users (in the world’s largest source market for international students) reach the web via a mobile device.

In other words, if you have not delivered a truly outstanding mobile experience to prospective students in 2014 – especially one that is closely linked to key conversion processes for inquiries and admissions – you really will want to take steps to do so in 2015. There are simply too many prospective students that now rely on the mobile web for some or all of their education search and application experience.

Data for breakfast

The final Forbes prediction that we will highlight here is their expectation that marketing campaigns will be more data-driven in 2015. This means many things to many people but essentially it anticipates a renewed emphasis on measuring campaign performance and adapting or refining the marketing effort on an ongoing basis and in light of evidence-based findings.

“2015 will be the year of data-driven marketing,” says Alex Harris, a conversion optimisation consultant with AlexDesigns.com. “All design, advertising and social media will be focused on driving measurable results using cutting edge tracking and predictive analytic. Websites will focus more on optimising conversion rates than increasing website traffic.”

This rings true to us. We have for some years now seen a lot of emphasis on high-level web statistics, such as user visits or page views. Similarly, it is easy to measure campaign success against social sharing activity or Facebook likes. Increasingly, however, with the pressure building to drive to key business goals we expect that emphasis will shift to measuring the effectiveness of the marketing effort against real business outcomes. In an international student recruitment context, that means inquiries generated, applications received, students enrolled, and, ultimately, retention levels and graduation rates.

Safe to say that this is a subject we will return to regularly in 2015, along with the other early predictions we have explored today.

 

Using Student Analytics To Improve The University Student Experience & Success

Dr Paul Dowland, Senior Lecturer at Plymouth University and the architect of the S3 data system, discusses how data collected by systems such as Cengage Learning’s MindTap on the online activity of students, is being used effectively to identify top resources, improve the student experience and underpin success at university.

“Presented in a manageable way, data can be used to predict attainment, readily identify issues and implement the appropriate early intervention strategies”

Student data in the form of exam results has been used in the past to evaluate the performance of individual departments within universities and student outcomes. Today universities are taking this one step further, using real-time data on student attendance, frequency of access to the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE) and level of contact with tutors. This is helping to improve student retention and results, as well as ensuring courses are better run.

Student analytics is defined by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) as the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for the purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs.

All universities have access to student data through their record systems and learning environments. Presented in a manageable way, this data can be used to predict attainment, to readily identify issues and to implement the appropriate early intervention strategies.

“It is important to remember that while data can be very useful, human skills are still required to interpret and apply the information in a useful way”

Data vs. Human

It is important to remember that while data can be very useful, human skills are still required to interpret and apply the information in a useful way. One-to-one meetings between a lecturer and a student can uncover details that data analysis alone would be unable to provide.

A clear institution-wide policy on the role of data drawn from student analytics should be agreed at the onset. Data typically draws on information that is easy to measure, for example, it can confirm that a student has taken a book, but not if they have read it.

Data Protection

Universities should ensure that students understand exactly why their personal data is being collected, processed and stored. It is also important that universities resist collecting too much data, irrespective of its relevance – the motivation for any system should be to facilitate information sharing for the benefit of the students.

“Universities should ensure that students understand exactly why their personal data is being collected, processed and stored”

Technology

At Plymouth University, we use the Student Support System (S3) to collect assessment submissions, monitor academic attainment, tutoring and attendance records. This helps lecturers to better manage and support over 15,000 students.

Commercial companies that store and analyse data include Oracle, SAS, Newton and Cengage Learning’s MindTap. MindTap is a new personal learning experience that combines all of the university’s digital assets – readings, multimedia, activities, and assessments,integrates with the university’s VLE and allows tutors to set mock exams using the assessment feature to track student progress and to identify areas where further tuition is required.

The Future

Student analytic is an important development in higher education as, in an increasingly competitive market, the potential for using data to improve services, student retention and student success is clearly evident.

Five Ways Higher Education Marketing Will Change in 10 Years

marketing trends

(Source: www.oneproductions.com)

Initially published on http://www.evolllution.com/. It is no secret that higher education is more competitive than ever. The most competitive institutions frantically try to climb over one another to be the first to connect with a potential student. And it isn’t just the for-profits either. Many non-profit institutions are beefing up their advertising budgets and marketing departments in order to hold onto their corner of the market. Some non-profits are dedicating more than 20 percent of their annual revenues to drive their message to the masses. The force behind these changes is the ever-growing expectations of the student. Students want a program that is customized to fit their needs. Thanks to growing competition, they are often able to find it. With massive open online courses (MOOCs) entering the picture at a rapid pace, the need to customize the experience from website visit to graduation will skyrocket in the next decade.

The increasing variety of approaches to learning, combined with the vast array of student preferences, means institutions will need to respond with programmatic solutions and new services. However, it is crucial for students to clearly understand how these options align with their unique situations. Effective marketing will provide this, and for many non-profit institutions, this reality will mean a drastic overhaul of their current operations. Some of the changes will include:

 

1. “Post-click” personalization

Any highly competitive institution is likely using Constituent Relationship Management technology to send personalized communication to those with inquiries. Unfortunately, this personalization doesn’t often go beyond the level of program of interest. But we now have web analytics available to determine and anticipate the needs of prospective students before they even fill out the inquiry form. This means a shift from post-inquiry personalization to post-click personalization. Beyond this, we must anticipate our relevant audiences and align communication with their behavior before they even reach our website. Once they reach the website, that experience needs to be customized to the extent that it adjusts to their needs.

2. Real-time, data-informed decision making

The days of monthly reviews of campaign results to determine marketing resource allocation are over. Moving forward, marketing departments must have the technology and expertise in place to harness the data captured and pivot ongoing activities based on solid data analysis. This requires sophisticated technology, air-tight integration between systems, constant data analysis and reporting and activity-based logic that automatically adjusts the shopping experience as the prospective student advances through the process of researching the institution. Marketing departments must expand their analytical capabilities and align these functions with outreach and admissions activities.

3. Mobile-ready marketing

Postcards, viewbooks and mailings in general are going the way of the print newspaper. Marketers have to plan their communications to play nicely with mobile devices. This is true today, but heading into the future, it will be essential. Rather than viewing mobile as a nice-to-have feature for certain communication, marketers will need to develop all interactive elements to be fully functional on a variety of mobile devices throughout both the shopping and enrollment experiences.

4. Marketing through graduation

As completion rates and return on educational investment become more transparent, the separation between pre-enrollment communication and the post-enrollment student experience must be eliminated. Valuable data captured prior to enrollment can help drive relevant communication and services to students as they work to completion. On the flip side, student data has the potential to guide marketing decisions in a variety of ways. Systems, processes and staff will need to align effectively to produce information that can be utilized throughout the cycle. Marketing to the point of enrollment will need to shift to marketing to the point of graduation.

5. Know what you don’t know

Sometimes the higher education mentality of being steeped in tradition can carry into our marketing and related technology management. The result is a foundation of outdated practices and systems unable to support the agility that current marketing practices require. Moving forward, staying competitive will require an ability to quickly implement and pivot new approaches to outreach and communications. Rather than building upon an existing infrastructure that may have limited versatility, it is important that institutions look to marketing and technology solution providers with focused expertise to develop a framework of technology and an understanding of current best practices in their respective areas. This way, schools don’t start from scratch with new initiatives and end up implementing when it is simply too late. Some of the most important areas to avoid “do-it-yourself” approaches include marketing communication systems, website development and mobile content creation. However, the gaps are unique for every institution and should be handled as such.

The bottom line for the future of higher education marketing is: the utilization of data down to a granular level is vital. It is through the application of data to ongoing decision making that we are able to truly listen to our future and current students and respond to their needs. While these approaches may be new to higher education, they have been practiced and optimized by other industries for years. It is important that institutions look to the expertise of outside industries to hone their ability to execute more sophisticated approaches to marketing that will ultimately provide a more relevant, cohesive and informative experience for the future student. The result will be success both for the institution and the student.

Secrets to A Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Initially published on http://monitor.icef.com. “The goal of a successful content marketing strategy is to have a disproportionate share of the conversation going on in your industry.” This was an often heard quote at the second annual Content Marketing World event held recently in Sydney, Australia by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), which helps brands attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling.

There are various definitions of content marketing floating around the web, and perhaps even around your office.

“Our website is full of content. So, that’s content marketing, right?”

“We have a blog. That’s all content marketing is, isn’t it?”

“What about our Facebook page? Does that count?”

As the go-to authority on content marketing, we’ll turn to CMI for a handy, universal definition:

“Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract, engage, and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Content marketing is not a direct sell, rather, its purpose is to change or enhance consumer behaviour. To do this, your brand needs to be seen as a credible and knowledgeable expert on a given subject matter. And one of the most effective ways to earn this reputation is for others to share this message, not you.

In other words, you need endorsements, not a megaphone

In essence, content marketing has been around for eons, it just hasn’t been formally recognised as a clear process and strategic element within an organisation’s marketing plans until recently. But rest assured, this is not just a buzz word, and as each marketer’s toolkit gets ever bigger and each customer’s attention span gets ever shorter, the power of content marketing has intensified.

And it’s not just marketing gurus who have taken note. Some of the biggest brands in the world and the most powerful CEOs have gotten behind a content marketing approach, and the others… well, they’re just trying to keep up.

To make sure your brand falls into the former category, let’s dive in with several tips and best practices shared at the recent CM World to ensure you create and distribute content effectively.

Do a content audit

Chances are, the longer your brand has been around, the more content you have. Before you start to think about how each piece of content will align with your brand’s goals, you might first find it helpful to conduct a content audit and create an all encompassing inventory of the content you already own.

Types of content. Source: Kevin Cain

As you list each piece of content, be sure to note its location, how often it gets updated, and the purpose it currently serves. What is the reason for having this content, and why does it sit where it does?

In one Content Marketing World seminar, Robert Rose, Chief Strategist at CMI, outlined the various roles that content can play. For example, an industry blog or magazine might exist to educate consumers and win their trust, whereas your corporate website or sales materials serve to facilitate the sale of your products or services, they drive a call to action.

Keep in mind that content is not restricted to words. Images and videos are essential forms of content that, according to Mr Rose, “can drive emotion and bind a brand to an audience’s belief system.”

You’ll also want to indicate how effective each piece of content is at the moment. Consider certain content characteristics, such as its usefulness to your current and potential customers, how accessible it is (both to people as well as search engines), and how influential it is towards driving engagement and ultimately, sales.

This content quality checklist is a useful guide to help you along the way, however, we recommend that rather than answering “yes” or “no” to each question, you rank your answers on a scale of 1-5. This way, when you review the results later, you can quickly identify the biggest problem areas.

Later in this article, we’ll show you how to map each piece of content to a matrix to identify content gaps in the buyer process. But before we dive into that, let’s talk strategy.

Crafting a content marketing strategy

Once your audit is complete, it’s time to do some critical thinking about where you stand right now, and where you want to be in the future.

In the plenary speech that kicked off Content Marketing World, Joe Pulizzi, founder of CMI, stressed: “The number one thing that makes content marketing effective is to have a strategy, a plan for success.”

And that plan wont be realised overnight; it takes time, persistence, and consistency. But Mr Pulizzi believes that you’re on the right track if your content marketing strategy can achieve at least one of these goals: drive sales, save costs, or make your customers happier.

Some questions Mr Pulizzi suggests you consider at the outset of your content marketing planning phase include:

  • What is our objective?
  • What are we trying to achieve and who are we trying to reach?
  • Who do we want to talk to?
  • What do we want them to understand?
  • What is in place already?
  • How do we scale up?

To these, Jesse Desjardins, Social Media and Advocacy Manager with Tourism Australia, would add:

  • Can we build a content platform that can grow over time?
  • Is our strategy repeatable and scalable?
  • Does it lead a customer on a path to purchase?
  • Who can we partner with?
  • Can we make our audience the hero?
  • How much value are we capturing?
  • Are we sharing our work?

Mr Pulizzi also emphasised quality over quantity: “You must develop best-in-class content. Your content must be more valuable than what your competitors are doing. You can’t just tell a story better. To stand out, you have to tell a different story.”

To do so, lean on your strengths and focus on your unique selling points.

But be careful not to put sales at the front of the process. Emma Rugge-Price, Vice President of Branding and Communications at GE Australia and New Zealand, said things changed for them as soon as they “started to think like a publisher.”

Indeed, this mindset shift is taking place in major corporations around the world. Mr Pulizzi elaborates: “Content marketing has now become a critical component in all organisations. Right now, enterprises are adding content marketing, editor and journalism-based roles to their companies.

We see this evolving into a situation where content marketing is becoming less of a department and more of an approach, where there is a content centre of excellence in the organisation that works within all product silos. It’s tough to say for sure what the best solutions will be, but it’s clear that the marketing department as a whole is looking and feeling more like a publishing group.”

One inspiring example of this approach that was shared throughout the conference was that ofJyskeBank.tv, a television station run by the second largest independent bank in Denmark, or is it a bank with its very own TV station? The lines are blurred but the picture is clear: this radical approach has enabled Jyske to build brand awareness, solidify their reputation, and retain customer loyalty – all on their own platform and through their own voice.

Not every brand can own their own film studio, but a successful content marketing strategy doesn’t need to be so elaborate. Another high profile speaker at CM World was Mark Schaefer, author and marketing consultant. He believes that content marketing success is achieved when you strike a balance between three key elements:

  • Relevant audience
  • Meaningful content
  • Consistent engagement

Key elements of content marketing success. Source: Mark Schaefer

When all three work together, you are able to generate what he calls “return on influence,” and this is how you create content that moves across the web and ignites action.

Using content effectively

So, you’ve got your content audit and your strategy. The next step is marrying the two.

Industry expert Kevin Cain offered up a highly practical content matrix that could be used when plotting your content against your strategy. As the visual below shows, you’ll need to ensure that each piece of content is reaching your audience at the right stage in the buying process.

Pick content that makes sense at each stage of the buyer journey. Source Kevin Cain

And there’s more. Not all content is created equally. What is valuable for one customer might be irrelevant for another. So you’ll need to make sure the right person sees the right content on the right platform at the right time. Piece of cake, right?

Mr Cain suggests that you begin with what matters most: your customers.

He recommends you create several different buyer personas outlining their needs, motivators, pain points, concerns, role in the buying process, influencers, and demographics. Identify which factors matter most to a buyer in making the purchase decision, as well as where the buyer is getting stuck in the buying process and why. Once you know this, you’ll know where to step in to help. Or rather, where to appear.

CMI also refers to content marketing as “non-interruption marketing,” which implies that the information needs to appear in the right place at the right time without looking like an obvious sales pitch.

As you can probably imagine, each type of buyer needs a different content strategy, a different message, and a different channel. Your goal in content marketing, as with all effective types of marketing, is to tailor your topic, messaging, and delivery to each of your target audiences’ needs.

And, not only must your content match the person, it also needs to match your brands’ goals and ultimately, increase profits. To achieve this, it’s essential to create multiple opportunities for each type of consumer to engage with your brand as often as possible. From a simple tweet to a brochure request to an enrolment application, driving conversions must remain at the heart of your strategy.

Finally, be sure to set clear goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your content marketing strategy so that you can measure results along the way and adapt your plans accordingly.

7 Tips to Improve The Effectiveness of Your Lead Generation Forms

Initially published on www.higher-education-marketing.com. This post is focused on how to create more effective lead generation forms. Lead generation forms appear on custom landing pages but are also embedded within content pages, home pages and contact pages. More and more higher ed institutions are adopting the practice of using them on high level home pages and program specific recruitment pages. This has been a common practice on the for-profit side of higher ed for a long time but now more public institutions are applying them in the very serious business of internal site managed lead production

Here are a few tips to help you improve the effectiveness of your lead forms:
1. Keep your Forms Simple and Open – One of the simplest rules of good form design is to keep them simple, and let the fields “breathe”. This allows the page visitor to “digest” the page and make an easy choice to engage with it. Here is a good example below. Complex, dynamic, or overdone forms often over-stimulate the visitor and in those few thousands of a second you have their attention, they may choose to move on, simply because it is too complicated to stop and try to figure it out.

2. Keep the Number of Fields Down – The research is pretty clear on this. The fewer fields you ask a prospect to fill in, generally the more leads you will get. But at the same time, the more information you get from a prospect allows you to follow-up more effectively and generally convert at a higher rate. This is the Catch 22 of lead forms that you have to resolve. I say go with as few fields as you can, with name, email and phone number as the key fields. Zip-code is a good fourth to get more location detail without having to ask a prospect for street, city, province/state, country. With the right back end software running you can extract the location details from the postal code/zip. Whether to include phone number can be a difficult call. Having it included in the form can reduce your conversion rate as much as 5% but conversely, if you can follow-up immediately with a phone call to the prospect, conversion rates to student improves dramatically.

forms

3. Use Value – Based Buttons – The text on the form submit button needs to express what the button will do when it’s clicked. “Get information”, “Book your Visit” , “Get our View Book” are all examples of good value based button text, that provide relevant and non-intimidating outcomes that have value to the prospect. Spend some time thinking about this text, as it has been shown that the default use of “Submit” can reduce your conversion rates by as much as 3%.

forms

4. Include a Privacy Policy – Always include a statement that tells prospects that their info will be protected. Including a link to your privacy policy is even better. As you know, students are very reluctant these days about providing their true contact info to recruitment offices, so every little bit of trust you can engender helps to engage and draw a prospect into your recruitment funnel.
5. Data Verification – I really don’t like to use Captcha forms to ensure that there are humans at the other end of a lead request. I think they are awkward and rather ugly and the research shows that they can have a negative impact on your conversion rate. If you are having a problem with robots spamming your forms, as I have lately, you have to make the choice between volume of leads vs quality.”Smart” Captcha offers a bit more finesse, appearing only after a second attempt to fill you form coming from the same IP address.
6. Always Position Your Forms Above the Fold – It is always surprising to me when I see lead gen forms below the fold , (the portions of a webpage that are visible without scrolling). If a particular page is the right page for the form then it deserves to be above the fold where it can be seen on first glance, rather than in the middle or bottom of the page, where few visitors ever actually see it.
7. Test , Test and Test – Lead generation forms are very unpredictable elements with respect to their performance. I would love to be able to say that there are 10 best practices that always work for everyone to improve your form conversions but it just does not work that way. To determine what works best for you, you have to do some real testing. Google Analytics Experiments is a great tool for A/B testing your forms but there are also a number of really great multivariate testing tools available () out there for the more adventurous. You have to learn what works for your programs and then keep testing on an ongoing basis to keep improving your results. Here is an example of two forms that I encountered on the Southern New Hampshire University site while researching this post that are likely part of a multivariate test. In multivariate tests a larger number of elements of the form are interchanged to determine the best mix for optimal conversion rate.

request informationforms

The structure, content and copy of your lead generation forms are critical to your lead generation efforts. Apply the basics first and then expand your knowledge through form testing. These tips can help you to manage the volume, quality and overall ROI of your leads. Good luck and let us know what you’ve learned from your experience. What approach has worked best on your forms? Do you use any data verification techniques? What is your most effective button copy?

Digital Direct Marketing to International Students: Are You on Target?

Initially published on International Education Advantage, LLC. Digital marketing is a main channel for reaching students and is especially critical for reaching international students. In a perfect world you could attract these prospective students directly to your website without paying for third-party lead generation services. However, in reality, college-seekers often start with generic web searches (e.g. program of interest, location) and not with searches for specific schools.

In the higher education web battle for prospective students, your institution competes with many websites in the search results, including student lead generators that are very strong in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid search. The latter get better search rankings, which can make it difficult for a student to find your institution’s programs. For international students searching in different languages, same-language websites strong in SEO will get better search rankings in those countries from which the students are searching.

For example, a Chinese student’s search for an MBA program in the U.S. could yield search results for MBA programs in China due to strong within-country search rankings and despite that student’s search for U.S. programs only. Amidst the multitude of options in the world of web searches, the question becomes, not how can interested students find you, but how can you find interested students?

As a starting point, purchasing targeted email lists of college-bound test takers can give you an “in” across domestic and international markets for student recruitment. In the U.S., testing services such as ACT, SAT and TOEFL are major providers of student information, which is gathered annually from test-takers around the world. For as little as $0.37/name (from the SAT), you can access student contact information as well as a variety of demographic and academic information relevant to your institution’s international student recruitment process. On the SAT, 54% of international test-takers fill out the information form and indicate interest in receiving information from universities, providing an interested and accessible pool of potential applicants that can be contacted digitally.

With these email lists, your institution can engage in targeted digital marketing by filtering student leads based on several criteria including geographic region, college majors of interest, or level of academic performance. By honing your marketing efforts on more relevant leads, you can potentially save marketing dollars for your university.

However, a seemingly small cost of $0.37 per student email address can actually be very expensive, depending on the quality of the lead and the number of enrolled students that result from your efforts. As you engage in direct digital marketing, consider this:

direct marketing

In order to determine the direct cost of the lead per enrolled student from the purchase of email lists for each scenario, divide the total cost of the email purchase by the number of enrolled students. Based on these two enrollment scenarios, it is easy to see why the careful targeting of your leads in digital marketing can have a big pay off. Purchasing emails for students whose data indicate that they might be a good fit for your school (academically, financially, etc.), will not just drive applications, but will also help to improve your return on investment (ROI). Succesful digital marketing requires consistent testing and integration with effective lead management to achieve the necessary yield conversion from a prospective student to enrolled student.

Keep in mind: in both Scenario I and Scenario II, the cost of enrolling the student will also include many more indirect and direct costs in addition to the purchase of the TOEFL email addresses. Additional costs could include travel expenses, advertising and other marketing materials, technology, and office and admission staff expenses.

The ultimate goal of direct marketing activities is to enroll more students and to do so cost-efficiently. In contrast to brand marketing, which elevates and reinforces your institution’s general brand recognition, direct marketing allows you to calculate your direct acquisition cost based on your marketing program. However, there are MANY factors influencing the success of your direct digital marketing activities — choosing a college is much more complicated than buying a Netflix subscription. Understanding your conversion rates at each stage of the enrollment funnel is necessary to use direct digital marketing effectively.

What Should Educators Be Doing to Tap Into the Indian Market?

Recently we have seen quite a few reports being published on the Indian International student market with various findings giving us more insight about their behavior and preferences while choosing a university. We have summarized the key findings and have discussed ways how Universities and governments could modify their marketing communications and product offerings to rightly target this vast market.

Facts About India:

  • India sends out approximately 800,000 students abroad every year making it 2nd largest country for outbound international students, after China.
  • It could become the fastest growing market for undergraduate students studying abroad as early as 2015.
  • Indian Government plans to increase the rate of college going students to 30% in the next decade and the existing 400 universities in India can only accommodate 12% of that.
  • By 2028 half of India’s population will be under 25.

 

Key Findings Recommended Measures
A recent report by British council reveals that Indian students are keen to study abroad but are extremely cost sensitive and we can expect them to be even more sensitive considering the devaluation of INR.It is estimated that the average cost of study abroad has increased $10,000/year and only 0.4% of Indian families can afford that 

 

 

 

If Asian educators and recruiters play it right, this could mean a huge shift in the landscape.Asian universities could tap this opportunity by increasing the perceived value for money along with the governments taking radical steps to communicate to the Indian students, one clear message, that their countries can offer the same quality education at a much lower cost as compared to Europe, Australia and Americas.Institutions could create more flexible payment methods for international students along with targeted scholarships and bursaries

 

 

The same study reveals that Indian students give a lot of weightage to the host country’s employment policies for international students while studying or once they finish their degree. Last year the number of Indian students in UK decreased by 23% mainly because of the removal of post study employment opportunities.Number of international students in Canada have increased by 23% because the country is perceived to be a great option for permanent migration

 

Educators should be constantly lobbying with their governments to ensure that employment policies for international students should be as lenient as possible along with robust post study visa programmes. Australian educators have been successfully lobbying with policy makers and have managed to relax student employment policies.As a result of these employment friendly policies, Australia has seen a 36% increase in Indian students in the last year.

 

High quality courses and institutions remained by far the greatest pull factor for the students when choosing whether to study at home or abroad.Germany has seen a 19% increase in Indian students because Indian students see Germany as offering world-class education & opportunities in the automotive, engineering, and manufacturing industries

 

 

 

 

Educators need to emphasize more on improving the quality of courses being offered by them along with a focus on using alumni experiences and success stories in their communications.They need to work closely with the private sector to ensure a meaningful internship program along with a functional and effective placement department.This would help build confidence among students and decrease the trust deficit.

 

 

 

 

In the recent past we have seen Malaysia emerging as a popular study destination in Asia with reputed foreign universities opening their branch campuses in the country. Such initiatives by European, Australian, Canadian and North american universities will help them retain cost sensitive Indian students as they can offer similar courses and degrees at much economical costs.