With the panic period for filling PG places fast approaching, how are you optimising your campaigns to make sure you're not falling behind your postgraduate recruitment targets?
Are you tracking all of your leads and current applicants to nurture them effectively? We've got some of our best practice tips to ensure your recruitment strategy is on point to leave no places unfilled this year?
1. Understand your audience
We know that digital behaviours vary from country to country, so it's essential to carry out the research to gain valuable insight into each country's market. With the facts and data in hand, you'll know exactly how to alter your focus and current campaigns to really drive recruitment targets home this summer.
And there's plenty of data out there. Using data from HESA and other such resources you'll have the insight into the courses more likely to attract PG applicants and the countries where the majority of overseas PG students are coming from too.
There have been increases in new students starting PG programmes in the last three years*, but do you know which subject areas saw growth too? And what about potential overseas students? Since 2015, the number of overseas students registered on distance and flexible learning PG programmes with UK institutions has increased**. So, you know distance learning is on the increase, but, which countries should you focus on?
2. Be targeted
To stretch the rest of your remaining budget, you'll need targeted digital ads that really hit the mark. Creating audience segments that specify the demographics, location and your prospective PG student's interests (based on the research you've already carried out) will help you reach the right people and target those most likely to convert.
Programmatic can be used for all stages of the advertising funnel, and the available creative formats vary widely. It's a great format for awareness-raising as it allows you to reach your audience wherever they are on the internet, without your adverts being contained within a specific search engine or social media platform. And as well as this, programmatic advertising also has extensive targeting options. The essential thing for success is to have a clear purpose for your campaign, doing so will allow you to utilise the right format for your KPIs.
3. Know that data is your friend
You can learn a lot from the data you already have at your disposal.Use real-time dashboards like those available in Akero to inform how budget is being spent hour by hour. You'll be able to use the real-time data to identify which platforms are delivering for your institution, which ads are working and how much budget is left.
You can also use the wealth of data you've been collecting and tracking to build the basis of your conversion strategy - you'll have the "inside knowledge" to know which leads are of the best quality giving you the confidence to know your efforts nurturing them through to conversion won't be wasted. Using software like Akero will allow you to view every single touchpoint, giving you that all important data to tailor your messaging and content in a way that reflects the interests of your audience.
4.Time it right
Although you may be in a rush to clear those PG recruitment targets, you can't rush your campaigns. Timing is of utmost importance to ensure your campaigns and content perform at their best. When you're thinking about content to convert you'll need that research you've already carried out about your audience. By having an understanding of their need states, you can ensure your content is timely and matches your target audience's' mood and goals.
5. Make them feel something
But you can't just rely on segmentation and automation. Students like to know there's a real human behind the message. And to do so you need to understand their emotions and their psychological needs depending on the stage of the application journey they are on.
Be creative, and use this knowledge to alter your tone of voice to match the students' intentions as well as your objectives.
Remember, it's not too late to book a postgraduate recruitment campaign to drive your efforts and fill those last few places. If you'd like to speak to any of our experts about how we can help you with your postgraduate recruitment strategies, get in touch.
*HESA STUDENT RECORD 2014/15-2016/17
** HESA AGGREGATED OFFSHORE RECORD 2015/16-2016/17