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19 Apr
Student Recruitment Agency | Web2Present.com

Coffee-break: Personalized Student Recruitment – focus on U!

by Luuk Mulling

By now we all know (more or less) what drives effective Student Recruitment, as you´ve got to do a bit of everything: get enough Awareness through traffic to your website (through Portals, Social Media etc.), create content and campaigns that resonates with your student audience & display well your Unique Selling Points, track-adapt-convert (through AI, Data analytics etc.) and above all ensure there´s an actual fit with the students to meet not only your targets but also their expectations 👩‍🎓

However one thing is to know it, another to actually being able to deliver. Personalization is a big factor in all of this 🎯

Watch the Coffee-break session here or read the transcript below 🙂

Student Recruitment Agency | Web2Present.com

All right. Little setting of the scene, so to say for student recruitment a lot of things have happened in the last years, still happening. There are a lot of words that you probably recognize and deal with every day, since you all are involved in student recruitment: AI, big data has been coming up big time as well. We’ve done a coffee break on this, by the way. I will share the link in a little bit as well so you can watch it later if you like with some tools and practice and practical tips on how to include them in student recruitment.

Some other parts, attention spans of students going down, of course budget limitations are always a thing and also today I will focus on personalization as mentioned. So some general challenges overall, dealing with students is that students are bombarded with a lot of information. There is a digital fatigue, I hear it all around me. You know, people are on social media a lot and they’re online a lot. So they are bombarded with a lot of ads, a lot of information. Basically, there is a digital fatigue. So it’s how to cut through the noise a bit as well, right? Others are to get quality profiles, to make sure that they are qualified, they fit your programs. It’s a waste of energy and budget as well to get students that in the end don’t end up applying with you. It’s also disappointing for them. And so you will try to avoid that of course and yeah the earlier the better and that also has to do with conversions and that’s the whole topic by itself. Also we did a coffee break on that. I will share that later as well. And technology is more and more an important part in today’s student recruitment. One you can’t avoid.

Now about Personalization and why to do it?

An important statistic is that 78% say they rather engage with a personalized offer tailored to them. I guess we can all relate to that. We prefer something that speaks to you, that feels personal, rather than just like a salesy marketing ad, right? Another side point is in student recruitment what not to do. In our opinion, is spending too much budget on general traffic. It can help with awareness, of course. So I’m not saying, yeah, completely to avoid it, maybe not, but in order to convert students and to help, yeah, also in personalization. Some of these that are mentioned there, portals, Google Ads, they are not always the greatest to get qualified students. Also, unauthentic access mentioned and not involving students. So I will come back to that. All right, let’s get going. Focus on you. I will have another polling open throughout the session. So just watch out for that polling.

Let’s go ahead with the first U, the University´s USPs.

That is U, insert your name there, for your unique selling points. USPs. And you are probably well aware of what is your unique selling point. Either it’s your location, it’s your cost of the program, the format, maybe it’s online or hybrid, maybe networking or career services. It’s quite clear and nothing new, but sometimes we forget. Sometimes we’re so focused on the daily task at hand that we might sometimes not, or even not communicating it well. That’s another point. So that’s why I’m highlighting this to revisit sometimes maybe your campaigns and your communications with the students. The best students, I’m sorry, the students that tend to end up with you are the ones that feel they are serviced the best. So it’s about quickness sometimes as well, but it’s also about that they are guided well, they feel they’re taken care of, they are getting personal care, right? This can be in terms of documents, visas, interview preparations, financial support. Maybe you don’t do all this. So just an example, we don’t do that. We don’t help students when they come to our webinars with those things. However, we have outsourced it. So we actually have engaged with other companies that help with these points of, yeah, some financial support, maybe to find scholarships somewhere else or help in visa. Because in the end it helps the students in, well, let’s be honest, it helps us as well. Because our clients, the universities, right, you, they want results. They want to actually get students to their campus. And if they get hung up because of a visa, yeah, it’s again a loss of weight and energy and budget also from us. So the better we can help them, it serves everyone, right? So that’s why we have this service outsourced, helping the students throughout the funnel. So talking about the funnel and the channels, I will come back to that in a bit as well. But thinking about the formats as well, that students come to you in, right? What I mean is if they come to your website, is it clear? Maybe there’s a 360 campus, which I think is great these days. People cannot come to visit your campus to see how great it is and get the feel of it. maybe get a virtual 360 campus, which something by the way, we also work with a company that offers that, nothing of interest to us in certain terms of revenue or so, we just feel it’s an additional service that really can help students. The on-demand webinars, very important. These are more and more important than live sessions. More students actually watch the webinars and videos on demand. Rather than live, I call it the Netflix generation. And then again, some of the student points, well, I touched based on this already to get students involved, but also think about student communities that they can reach out to alumni, buddies, ambassadors, all these points. They’re very important for potential students to feel they can ask questions and get in touch. If you can do it all yourself, again, think about outsourcing it. In AI, I mentioned we have done a webinar on AI. I have actually a link here: https://app.livestorm.co/webinarleads4you/coffee-break-ai-in-education-with-special-focus-on-student-recruitment

Let’s continue.

So the next U, Unique.

And what I mean is campaigns and targeting to be unique. So you have to focus on the right profile, right? Again, nothing rocket science, but focus on their right age, interests, countries, and research. Use a persona. Say, let’s see. Yeah, already a heads up. That’s the next U. And then you have to focus on the right profile. But also about student flow, we like to use that website: https://uis.unesco.org/en/uis-student-flow

Maybe there’s some countries you haven’t thought about and that end up a lot in your country. So we check this all with our campaigns for our clients as well. So adaptive marketing channels, whether it’s undergraduate, we use TikTok, for example, more and more and more. But for postgraduate, we tend to use more LinkedIn and we have a unique way there. Talking about unique, we work with LinkedIn groups. So I’ll give you that little takeaway instead of LinkedIn advertising. So we actually work with different groups and work with the owners of the groups and they post on our behalf. So a little tactic there. Email is one that’s very important always still. It’s sometimes forgotten in all the new buzzwords of technology. It’s very useful. And so we use that, of course, from our database as well and people that come to our website. and personalize it.

So I’m talking about unique: Your campaigns need to be feeling authentic. And authenticity comes in all forms and ways, from the words you use, the visuals, the interactivity. You can make types of ads that just feel fun to interact with. Try things out. So there’s the A-B testing part. and maybe test it with some students first, right? So does the communication you use, does it really resonate with the students you’re trying to approach? I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely already a bit of an older person in recruitment. So we tend to sometimes, we feel we’re in touch, but it’s different than the Gen Z, right? That maybe you’re approaching now. They have different ways of doing, want to be communicated different with. And it’s key that this authenticity that they… and this personal approach that it resonates with them again, right? So keep that in mind.

We had a coffee break again about lead nurturing and the whole follow-up;

The next U: User personas.

I’m going to make it a bit short here, because this is typical marketing things that you can you probably already know and I just want to highlight a couple of things um this first point being the one-on-one interactions that it’s important that if you do all your ads and social medias and everything that you do follow up personally what i mean is for example comment when people comment in your instagram facebook youtube are you checking that Are you checking the comments? Are you interacting there? Because it’s very important that students feel heard there as well and there’s actually someone looking after that. So check out the to make sure that you’re doing that. Also on your website, there’s bots and everything to help you with that. But also there should be some personal touch at some point.

Student communities: we actually have included this as well in our service besides the webinar. This is the closed environment, so to say, where you know, with the university, we talk to you and the students cannot talk back in this webinar. So we felt we were missing some communication and more and more important that the students can talk between themselves. So if they have joined the webinar, maybe they want to chat, see who joins, are the students from their same country? People maybe have the same issues, challenges with visas, whatever it is, housing in a lot of cities, a big issue. And then challenge as well. So we created a student community outside of the webinar and they can join actually before and after the webinar, they can join and get together and yeah, help each other. Again, and that can help you with. Actually, first of all, it offloads your workload probably because they don’t come to you with the questions. And second of all, they are helped and they are helped and possibly end up actually applying and not getting stuck in the process.

Webinars: of course that’s our expertise.

Again, mentioning to have the students take center stage. Also think of different formats like a master class or something that really resonates with the problem that students are having maybe to come to you. Talking about housing for example. These are important. I will not get into too much detail there.

Let’s focus on the last U. Universal student recruitment.

And what I mean with that is the whole, holistic approach and insights and starts with the silos sometimes between recruitment and admissions. In some smaller universities, so to say, this is one team. In bigger universities, often they’re separated.

There’s recruitment and admissions. And it’s not always that they’re talking to each other or, well, maybe you’re talking but not sharing the same information. So obviously a CRM and technology is very important in that case. But yeah, you might want to connect missing data points and all that. And this is what that. I mean with this we for example connect all our systems and it’s very easy actually these days we use Zapier just want to mention that by connecting all the data points between, you know, student coming to the website, subscribing for a webinar, then actually getting the link, getting into the different systems, getting into the reports, getting a follow up email, all of that. You can automate it actually and take a lot of work off your plate. and personalize it in the process. So that’s one to consider. Yeah, all the data points as mentioned, think about those. Are you having enough CTAs call to action? So if you do, then…

Then, great! And also, lastly, besides the personal guidance, I already mentioned that, the analytics. So you want to collect all that from the right sources.

And again, share that within your teams. Don’t have to do it all yourself. Maybe some admissions or recruitment, wherever you are sitting, has more information and you should maybe bridge and have some of the data and share that. And then review, improve, and adapt.

Very important. We have done a coffee break on that as well. A coffee break on conversion rates, improving conversion rates.

This comes down to the last conclusion and summary. So… Basically, these are the four U’s that I explained to you. We work with all the universities that we have done. We do go over this in the same way and we always think about those U’s, deciding the targeting, the user personas, the unique profiles you want to reach, is it undergraduates or graduates and having this universal recruitment strategy. And that is what it’s about. It’s about connecting right students for the right programs, not just getting volume of students, but getting the right qualified students.

Right. And that is at least what we have learned in the last years and which is what universities tell us. Um… Yeah, if you do what you did, you get what you got. So that is a very important thing. If you’re currently not completely satisfied with what you got, then change maybe some things you did. Check our blog for content ideas and trends. You can also get an e-book there and you get a free university. profile on our website. So that is actually the study abroad portal, which is our portal for the website, but I’ll send you the link here to our general website in the chat. so you can check out their examples and work from us.

We have many examples from universities of the top 250 ranked top universities we work with. Probably one in your country as well. We have examples from them and we can show you and share with you the webinars we’ve done in the past. So we can share our learning experiences and also a free consult, on how we would possibly help you and give you maybe a draft marketing and strategy so to say so just reach out to us the info is on the website but it’s basically you can reach us as marketing at the studyabroadportal.com

Or I think I have my details here. lmulling at webinar leads for you that’s me um but i hope you found it useful um And yeah, you had a good coffee break. I thank you very much wherever you joined in from today. I know I saw people joining in from different countries. Great to see. I think all of you are involved in student recruitment. So I hope this was useful. T

Have a great day from sunny Barcelona!

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