COVID-19: Does the current crisis bring new opportunities?
Posted on March 26, 2020 by Cristina Rodriguez
Education is going to play an important role in helping economies to bounce back from the crisis due to the part they play in International & even national mobility. It is up to educational institutions to see this crisis as a potential opportunity and act accordingly before it is too late to get back on their feet. This is especially pertinent with East Asia being well on the road to recovery compared to other markets and becoming a major competitor for Europe in general.
National and international student recruitment strategies have been depending on F2F interactions for a long time. Internationally through student recruitment fairs, international agents, staff visits and international offices. Nationally, through UCAS fairs, school visits and open days. All this F2F interaction will be on hold for some time as the “peak” of the virus is affecting each market at different times, which impacts global mobility. For instance, East Asia is recovering, whilst LATAM is just starting to be affected. Now, how can we minimise the damage from not being able to have all these F2F interactions? Quite simply by going digital.
Current International campaigns
Students have not dismissed the idea of studying, it may be the case that some students are deferring this idea, with a good number believing that everything will be ok to travel later in the year. The reality is that there is still demand for university and college studies from UK based & International students.
Where are we getting this information from? We have monitored campaigns since the crisis started in order to advise our clients on the best course of action. The reality is that the demand for more information has increased, and the conversion rate remains fairly stable. In some specific markets we have seen a slight decrease in applications, but we still see an overall increase over the course of March. The large volume of leads currently being generated in the market represents a huge opportunity to build a strong data pool.
Here are 2 graphs from a current international campaign showing the number of conversions in March across 2 different markets. We are currently on week 4
*This is not an Online programme; this campaign is a UG campaign recruiting International students.
It is important to highlight that messages and campaigns must be in line with the situation and by understanding that you are creating a data pool for future recruitment. Our recommendation to clients would be to go for a branding/informative campaign rather than the usual strong lead generation campaign. Students are going through a period of uncertainty and anxiety. They will remember the institutions that help them throughout this time by providing them with relevant and useful information
What is happening online?
With the new social distancing measures, it makes sense that much of the conversation about it is taking place online. People are using the internet to keep informed, share information, air their anxieties, connect with their loved ones and in general making quarantine more “enjoyable” by using different digital platforms to recapture normality. It comes as no surprise that the use of social media and news sites has gone through the roof. These are new prime advertising spots that you as a marketer should not be ignoring.
According to Statista social media is the second most used source to find info about the current situation. This represents a unique opportunity for educational institutions to communicate with students and parents at a time that everyone is more receptive and more open to “consume information”. As an educational institution you now have the opportunity to generate unique brand awareness by supporting students with free resources that they can use to continue their development whilst they are at home. There is nothing wrong with promoting education and it’s arguably more important than ever has people have more spare time on their hands to upskill and learn new things. If there was a time to promote education, this is the time
The Drum have highlighted an increased usage of all social channels across all age groups, but the younger audience (your target audience) are more likely to increase consumption across all channels.
Below are some ideas for free resources you can share with your audience. Not only are these helpful but they will leave a lasting good impression amongst your target demographic
- Essay / Academic writing / Critical Thinking –> especially how to find info, how to evaluate sources, how to construct the essay
- English for Academic Purposes –> this one might be interesting especially for internationals
- Presentation skills
We realise it isn’t easy to adapt your messaging quickly and effectively so Educate are offering free creative & copywriting services to help you cope with the extra workload. If you’re interested please get in touch here