In today’s day and age, traditional channels of marketing, such as direct mail and print advertising, are becoming less relevant as consumers move into a digital era where information is readily available with a few clicks on a screen. For millennials, mobiles aren’t just devices, they’re a lifestyle. And so, it is important to recognise the potential that application personalisation has to increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, especially in the international recruitment sector in Higher Education.
Research shows that the number one expectation among internet and mobile users is that apps are more personalised to their wants and needs. How students behave when choosing a university is heavily dependent on how relevant the information is to them specifically and the ease in which this information is available. A Google and Compete study indicates that one in ten prospective students search exclusively online for their course and 72% of education seekers will first visit a university website at least two weeks – and often two months – before taking further action. Evidently, these stats emphasise just how vital it is for universities to ensure that they have an effective digital presence, engaging prospects at the right time, on the right channel.
The institutions that win the interest of students are the ones that understand the education decision journey and take full advantage of the digital tools available to aid them. These are just some of the many ways that application personalisation can institute a better user experience.
Getting easy access to relevant information
The problem with bulk marketing is much of the information provided is irrelevant to recipients and so when skimming through what is sent, they tend to miss out on information that is actually valuable to them.
We asked international students studying at the University of Nottingham about the main problems that they faced throughout the pre-arrival and application stage and 78% said there was a lack of country-specific information and 99% said there was a lack of personalisation.
There are a number of ways in which marketing can be personalised to deliver appropriate content to the target audience. Behavioural personalisation assigns points to a site visitor dependent on their behaviour and once a certain amount of points have been accumulated, they are assigned to a list of predefined personas. Based on previous searches, universities can deliver content that prospects are interested in, such as similar courses.
User-set personalisation enables visitors to select the type of content they wish to see; by giving users this autonomy, they can trust that the information they will see will be highly customised according to their personal wants, rather than leaving it to data to form assumptions about what they want to see. For example, an application may allow visitors to narrow the list of content they see, such as information about help and services provided to international students.
There’s also profiled personalisation which involves using personal data provided by the user to select relevant content to show them. Users don’t have to do the hard work of scouring for the information they need; instead, content is delivered directly to them based on what the data determines they will want to see.
Personalised apps allow for quicker communication
Prospects want answers quick, and they want them now. Through Student Eyes examined the top 1,000 universities worldwide and ranked their response to prospective international students online; while only 17% of universities in the UK and Ireland failed to reply to inquiries from international students, when they did respond they were usually slower, with 41% of institutions taking between two to four days. Institutions in the UK and Ireland were also poor at sending a follow-up email after an initial reply to an inquiry – three-quarters of universities engaged in no further correspondence.
Slow response rates mean that students are more likely to become disinterested in furthering their application with that institution and so it is important to establish quick and effective communication. Universities have to deal with a mass amount of enquiries every day, which consumes a lot of time that can be spent attending to other matters. Having an app where all the information about the institution is stored in the same place and organised efficiently can help reduce the amount of direct correspondence needed, saving universities precious time.
Build a stronger brand
With the Higher Education market becoming increasingly competitive, there is a real impetus for universities to implement an inbound marketing approach to maximise their applicant conversion rates. Personalisation establishes deeper and long-term relationships; prospects want to feel valued and respected, and receiving information that is generic and irrelevant can have the opposite effect.
Proodle appreciates that in order to stay on top of the game, we must move forward with the dynamism of technology and customise digital content that the current generation of students can easily engage with.
What Proodle Solutions offers is an innovative and secure personalised mobile platform for the potential student, which introduces institutions and programmes in a whole new way to make an everlasting impression. We help students understand what a university is about, their requirements, the application process and notify them on the latest social events.
If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159