Lead Generation for International Students

Breaking new ground in the South American student market

The Gordon International partnered with Social Garden to execute an international recruitment campaign for  targeting four key markets: Brazil, Colombia, Japan and South Korea. But recruiting students in new markets comes with all new challenges.

The challenge

The Gordon International needed to find a way to make sure leads were financially qualified to study internationally in Australia. Not only this, but in their target countries there was little brand awareness to leverage. To achieve success, the campaign needed to position The Gordon TAFE in Geelong as a destination for quality education, with ELICOS programs that deliver career outcomes needed by the Latin American audience.

The strategy

Knowing that lead generation in international markets is only half the battle, Social Garden’s strategy focussed on lead qualification. The campaign was planned to follow leads through each stage of the decision cycle from awareness to consideration, and the beginning of a decision. Video advertising on social media channels was used to build awareness. Followed by data capture in exchange for a brochure with course information. The prospective student would then receive a confirmation email reaffirming what they had enquired for and confirming the next steps in the application process.

This phased approach allowed for numerous digital touchpoints and opportunities to qualify leads. Ultimately enabling The Gordon International student recruitment team to prioritise leads, create a clear segmentation and build a pipeline of prospective students.

Finding qualified leads

A key requirement of The Gordon International was to capture leads who would actually have the means to study internationally in Australia. Thinking outside the box, Social Garden developed a qualification process by:

  • Using high intent audiences from website traffic, enquiry data and video views
  • Advertising in English to ensure some understanding of the language
  • Sending a confirmation email to eliminate leads with bad data
  • Asking qualifying questions such as “How will you support your studies?”

The high delivery rate of the autoresponder indicated high lead quality, with over 95% of leads providing accurate contact information.

Channels fit for purpose

Finding the right channel mix is key to maximising your return on investment. In this case, our team used past campaign insights to identify the best use of each channel. Google proved most effective at capturing high intent leads actively looking to study english courses in Australia. While Facebook and Instagram Newsfeed allowed for the creation of highly targeted audiences. For storytelling, user-generated content on Instagram Stories enabled us to show real students from the key recruitment countries being targeted. Because when it comes down to it, people buy from people.

The results

Over 50% of the leads generated by Social Garden self qualified through indicating they had the means to study in Australia. In addition to these bottom of the funnel leads, The Gordon International now has hundreds of prospective students in the pipeline and increased brand awareness in each of the four target countries.

Lead quality was further solidified through the performance of the email autoresponder – 95% of emails delivered, 50.56% of autoresponders opened (over double industry standard of 21.80%), with another 57% of these leads clicking through the email.

Key learnings for you

Map the decision lifecycle

Plan your campaign to align with the longer decision cycle for international students.

Adjust your mindset

International students need different questions answered like “What will life be like there?”

Understand motivation

Quality education or Aussie lifestyle? Different countries will have different motivations to study.

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