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Higher Education Abroad: 5 Marketing Strategies to Recruit More American Students

Oct. 25, 2018
5 months ago

Many American students are seeking an immersive opportunity to study abroad—not just for a semester but for their full degree. Many factors are contributing to this trend, including the rising cost of an American education and living in a time where the world feels more connected than ever. In addition, many employers look favorably on candidates who bring that unique experience to the job.

For universities outside the United States, this presents tremendous opportunity to bring American students to your campuses. Unique strategies exist for marketing and recruitment within the US, including some that aren’t available in other markets.

1. CollegeXpress

Want to get in front of over a million university-bound American high school students and their parents? Of course you do! With the CollegeXpress platform, you can reach students through a combination of emails, enhanced profiles on, and print publications that are mailed directly to students’ homes. Students can engage with you through any of these channels, and you’ll receive the information on leads that express interest. With reach across the United States, CollegeXpress is a great way to create brand awareness on a wide scale while delivering specific students for you to communicate with and recruit. 

2. IP Targeting

Have a list? If you buy names from test-taking services in the US, then you already have the information you need to conduct advertising to those students in their homes. IP Targeting matches street addresses with the IP addresses of particular households. Those IP addresses become a conduit for delivering banner advertising directly into a specific home. What makes this so powerful? First of all, you know enough about segments of those lists to ensure your message is on point. Second, you reach the entirety of the household, not just the student. Influencing Mom and Dad is also critical when recruiting a student to hop across an ocean or two to craft their educational experience.

3. Mobile Footprints

Perhaps you have some specific high schools within certain DMAs that you know you can recruit effectively from. By identifying those schools, you can utilize geofencing to capture the identifiers of the mobile phones that enter those high schools. Don’t worry—no personal information is gathered from the devices. This is done by those location pings that our phones are doing all the time. The effectiveness of this is not to market to those devices while a student is in the geofenced location (after all, they are in school) but to build the audience to market to later. Once that audience is built, mobile banner ads can be delivered directly to that device when a campaign is launched.

Geofencing is a great way to get in front of students, but Mobile Footprints takes it one step further. Those location pings I mentioned earlier? They happen when the student goes home too. This identifies the IP address of the home the student lives in and connects it to that device. Then your marketing campaign can make the leap from only mobile to the entire household through IP Targeting. Viola! You now have reverse-engineered a list of students to market to, including their parents.

4. Social media

There’s really no way to ignore the role social media plays in awareness and driving action. There are many options here, including using video. Students can be targeted based on a list you may have, so this complements IP Targeting well. If you don’t have a specific list, students can be targeted behaviorally based on age, gender, location, etc.

It’s important to keep the tone of your message in mind when choosing your platform. For example, students use Snapchat in a fun, casual way, so don’t try to be too serious in that atmosphere. Showcase student experiences and things that align with what they’re doing on that platform. Using Facebook and Instagram together allows your presence on both, but the budget can flow to the platform that is performing best for you.

5. YouTube

What better way to create interest than with sight, sound, motion, and emotion! Since most students want to see what an experience abroad could look like, show them! Video delivers a tremendous amount of information quickly and in a very mobile-friendly manner. With several formats to choose from, there are options that can put you in front of an audience when they search on YouTube, or in-stream videos that play when a student is watching content they enjoy. With the geographic distance from their homes, video can bridge the gap and show what your campus looks and feels like.

Take a bit of advice from our study on what students are looking for. One of the recommendations is to use the voices of your students. That authenticity goes a long way in recruiting. Video is a great place to do that. It doesn’t need to be a slick, expensive video school either. Consider allowing some of your current students to contribute. It will resonate even better.

Want to recruit more students from the US? Contact us to learn more!

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