UK universities are working tirelessly to attract foreign students. The recent cuts to the education sector announced by the government are set to cripple UK universities who will have to make huge savings to help plug a 950 million gap in funding over the next 3 years.
The average cost for non-EU student undergraduate courses is set at 10,000 per year, however given the fact that UK universities have to make huge savings this is likely to reach nearly double that depending on the type of course or the universitys reputation. Therefore, it is clear to see that UK universities have a lot to gain from increasing their overseas recruitment.
To ensure that universities have a chance of attracting new students, they need to ensure that they have a strong online presence. Recent research states that 31.7% of the 338m internet users in China are students. This research suggests that most international students are already using the internet, primarily to find out more information about UK universities.
To help UK universities build up their online education branding, here are few tips to ensure that you are making the most of the internet as a resource and are targeting the right students:
Localised research can help to identify a students needs from a university.
Ensuring that the right subject is marketed to the right nationality is crucial and very likely to attract international students. For example arts, media and psychology is popular with the Japanese so it is best to market arts, media and psychology courses to students in Japan.
Highlight key phrases which are set specifically to the target market.
Making sure that these key phrases are implemented successfully into the site is essential as it can help to dramatically improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) particularly with regards to attracting new international students. A useful page to have on your website is the universitys ranking as it can help influence the decision making process of students particularly in China where the prestige of the university is very important.
Social network sites are an active way of targeting specific international students.
A vast majority of social network users are young people (aged 16-24). Again, it is important to keep in mind the locality of the market. Despite the fact that both Facebook and Twitter maybe the first social networking sites that spring to mind in the UK, in China www.renren.com is particularly popular amongst students.
Despite the fact that the UK is currently ranked 2nd for attracting international students behind the USA, it is getting to be a very competitive market with other countries launching their own international recruitment marketing campaigns. Given the recent changes in UKs student visa policy, it is vital that UK universities focus their efforts on upping the ante in terms of their international marketing.
Therefore it is vital to ensure that they embrace the recent advances in technology into their education marketing strategies.