It’s been quite the international month for Carnegie! We held our first digital workshop outside of the US and conducted a webinar on International Digital Marketing. Reflecting on the conversations we have had and the evolution of global student recruitment, here are some great takeaways.
First: It’s so important to keep in mind that these prospective students think more globally than ever. They feel more connected to their own peers in another country than other generations in their own. There are many ways we can leverage this in our recruitment. Many digital strategies allow the opportunity to showcase the experience you offer through the eyes of your international students on campus. Be authentic and let them showcase their reasons for choosing you and their experiences there.
Second: Most of the tactics available to you here in the US to reach students are also available in most other countries. There are a few exceptions such as IP Targeting, but the dominant other tactics are still at your fingertips! Display advertising for branding is key, as are search-oriented strategies such as SEO and PPC.
Third: When conducting digital marketing, you need to think language and country. Google allows you to target language based on the chosen dominant language of the user’s browser. Additionally, Google is able to read languages utilized in ads and ensure a positive user experience by only allowing ads to run on pages where the content is in the same language. Think of how odd that experience could be if it didn’t match? Create your ads in multiple languages so that campaigns can be set up where a user can be shown an ad even if they are reading content outside of their dominant language. Pro tip: you can do this within the US too!
Fourth: If you need to target specific countries, SEO needs to include a strategy for each. Conducting a search in any country will yield local results unless a specific plan is in place to address this. When you want to be present in a search other than in your own country, consider the many options available to create a country-specific presence.
Fifth: Be mindful of the culture of the audience. Not all benefits are equal. The message that resonates with a family and/or student in one culture may be completely different in another culture. Make sure your messages make sense for that student and family. It may not be enough to develop one ad message and switch out the languages and faces—the entire tone may need to be altered. It goes back to understanding what matters to that audience.
Lastly: As the need to increase diversity of students on our campuses becomes a greater focus, we must recognize that our brand needs to gain recognition in places we wish to recruit from. Anyone who has ever seen me present knows I am big on branding. It matters! When recruiting students globally, we cannot accomplish all we need to by visiting everywhere. It just isn’t practical. We have to work smarter and do more with less. Digital marketing creates that branding presence in advance of or in lieu of the human visit.
Let’s get global with our digital marketing and gain the presence where we need to in an efficient way! Check out our International Digital Marketing webinar as we dive a bit deeper into strategies and things to consider.