So far this year, leads delivered to colleges from Carnegie’s international recruitment platform (American Colleges & Universities, AC&U) are up 143% from the year before: ~80,000 leads YTD 2014 versus ~33,000 at this point in 2013. That is a significant difference, and one that points to some opportunities and trends schools can consider when focusing on international recruitment.
International Lead Generation Numbers on the Rise
Make it easy
Are your international landing pages as friendly as they can be to prospective student and parent audiences? One of the things we’ve continually improved with our AC&U platform is how easy and user-friendly it is for international students to connect with a participating college. We’ve removed as many hurdles as possible in the inquiry process and made sure that prospective students have a fast and easy route to identify themselves to the colleges they are interested in. This is something we strongly recommend colleges also do on their own website. A quick audit of your process for enabling students to request information and let you know who they are could reveal a lot.
AC&U, like so many of our recruitment and lead generation services, takes a multi-channel approach to reaching and engaging prospective student audiences: e-mail, online, print. Print is alive and well when it comes to student recruitment, and AC&U is no exception. Through our partnership with the Council of International Schools, we’re able to distribute the print portion of AC&U to over 2,300 locations in over 175 countries. This serves as an enormous top-of-the-funnel awareness driver for so many schools and enables a ton of valuable conversations between counselors and students throughout the entire year. In addition to that, AC&U reaches all international College Board names through e-communication, also throughout the year. Finally, the international areas of our websites are constantly optimized for search engine visibility and success. The lesson here? Attention can never be focused on just one channel. And while budgets can often dictate and prioritize how much can be spent on mailings versus e-mail (or recruitment travel), each channel holds its own unique value and purpose in the process, and all of them contribute to success.
When was the last time you bought something from seeing a commercial just once? How often do you need to e-mail coworkers just to follow up on a previous e-mail? Using a multi-touch approach to just about every form of communication, marketing, and recruitment is critical—especially so for international audiences. With AC&U, we use all opportunities to “serve up” participating schools in front of prospective students several times throughout the year through a variety of channels. The goal is to get someone to raise their hand about your institution. And data shows that most conversions do not happen until at least five touch points.
There’s a lot of talk right now about the changing demographics in so many areas in the United States and the impact these changes have on college and university enrollments and enrollment marketing. With all of that going on, it’s refreshing to see the opportunities for growth and innovation happening with international student recruitment.
Here at Carnegie, we’re having plenty of conversations about international enrollment marketing, whether it’s AC&U or what we’re doing on the digital landscape. And we’ll be at OACAC down in Florida next month presenting on some of these topics and trends as well. Contact us today if you’d like information about how we’re helping hundreds of colleges with their international enrollment goals.