By: Nicole Hughes, IEP Campus Coordinator
1 He and his peers are always online. We should be too! Study abroad offices should be focusing energy on their emails, website, and social media – in that order.
- Emails. Students still prefer emails as their main mode of communication with advisors. Emails should be short and mobile-friendly with a clear call to action.
- Website. Websites need to be user-friendly, act as a marketing tool, and provide comprehensive program information. They should excite students about their possibilities! Note: Many of you out there may have application processing systems which can help you organize your programs and applicants, these are just that “application processing systems”, not marketing tools. Don’t use them as your first point of contact for students. They aren’t marketing to them and may drive them away from confusion.
- Social Media. Study abroad offices should be posting authentic, engaging material consistently. However, it’s not necessary to post material across ALL media platforms. Pick the ones that work best for your office and be consistent in your posting. More often than not, IEP campuses use social media as a way to showcase current students abroad from their respective campuses.
2 Students always worry about pre-conceived obstacles: cost, curriculum, and graduation.
- We need to sprinkle myth busting into most marketing campaigns!
- Think you can’t afford it? You can!
- Are there classes in your major? Yes!
- Can you study abroad and graduate on time? Yes!
- Now repeat! Again, and again and again…..
3 He needs to hear about study abroad an average of 7 times before taking action to apply.
- In a perfect world, Sam would attend the study abroad fair, come in for advising the next day, and apply to study abroad for the following semester. But unfortunately, that mystical study abroad utopia is not yet in existence. Therefore, Sam needs to hear from us more than once a semester at the fair. We should be marketing to Sam and his peers using a variety of channels. How can we do this? We have to get Sam’s contact details and implement a lead database system for the office.
- Tracking interested students (leads) allows us to follow up with students. And follow ups are huge. With a list of names and emails, we can easily send out an email to encourage students to check out our website and schedule an appointment. If we capture important information like major or preferred region, we are even able to zone in our marketing efforts – (i.e. Business major? Check out this AACSB-accredited university in Australia!).
- In addition to allowing for follow up, tracking leads also allows us to capture vital data which can help us to make informed, data-based decisions about office actions. Which marketing efforts provide the best return on investment? Are we on track to hit our enrollment goals this term?