Bonjour! Aloha! Hallo!
Mar 21, 2018
The HC "take it to the world" Marketing Team
As the Olympic Games remind us, it really is a small world after all. This holds true for schools, too—many colleges and universities already have a significant international population, and are looking to increase it. International students bring rich diversity and varied paradigms to a classroom while exposing students to cultures and views they might not have otherwise experienced. So as you consider your marketing and enrollment efforts in the U.S., it’s also important that you find a way to appeal to students living halfway across the world.
Do you have admissions recruiters that travel, meeting international students? If so, that’s a great start. An admissions office in a foreign country is even better, but likely not realistic. So let’s look at some more tactics:
- Understand the strengths of your school, when viewed from an international perspective. Look at the programs you offer, and identify those that would be a great fit in particular countries or cultures. Then check your resources: do you have a relationship there? Do you have enrolled students from that area, or teachers? Once you gather your resources, come up with a marketing plan. Check with the international students you’ve got: what appealed to them? Armed with this information, develop a communications strategy that will resonate with the international students you’re looking to attract.
- Get specific. Back to the whole personalization thing...if students can self-select a language or country on your website, you can create a landing page specific to that language, culture, or worldview. Get into the mindset of those international prospective students: know where they are from, what will make them comfortable, what worries them about studying abroad, and how you can meet their needs while they’re here.
- Maximize your digital recruiting. Your in-person recruiting is critical, but costly and sometimes out of reach when it comes to international students. Broaden that reach with expansive digital recruiting. Create a social media strategy that caters to each international or cultural group and reach out on the appropriate channels. Make your international admissions counselors accessible, through chat or video conferencing. You’ll get that face-to-face contact without traipsing across the globe. Create a virtual tour of your school that international students can access online. This will make it that much easier for them to check out the college, see if it meets their needs, and to also make them excited about coming for a in-person visit.
- Create a robust international alumni network. The best marketing is going to come from prospective students’ peers, regardless of where they live. By creating an alumni network in several countries and ensuring that it’s active, you allow new students to get that word-of-mouth assurance that they’re making a good choice. Alumni will also help to spread the word, sparking interest from students who might be looking for a particular program or a specific kind of international experience. Getting the word out there and supporting alumni will go a long way to make your school stand out from the rest.
Make sure your school is a good fit for international students, create the solid foundations and resources that they’ll need, and use effective tactics to reach them and spark their interest. Once you’ve made contact, answer their questions thoroughly, be supportive of addressing their concerns, and make sure they know they’re important to you. You’ll quickly become the school of choice for many new international students.