After you have gone through the process of developing your new study abroad program, your organization is now ready to start marketing to potential participants. Typically, we hear from our partners that they don’t have the time, resources or experience in marketing their program to students, and thus, express concerns about obtaining enough students to run their program.
If you have faced this problem with marketing your study abroad program, we are here to share our marketing tips that have your promotions looking like they were created by a seasoned marketing expert. By following our easy to understand and implement process for marketing your study abroad program, you will achieve your goal sign-up numbers and be able to execute your program.
1) Determine your timeline
The key to any successful marketing is planning, and good planning means having a timeline. Work backward from the date in which you need to have the minimum number number of sign-ups for the program in order for the program to operate. Based on this date, you can give yourself the length of time that you will have to work with for your marketing efforts.
Your timelines will be built out further, as you work through the planning and development process of your marketing materials and outreach efforts.
Your timeline will include built in time allowances for:
- Strategy and ideation
- Development of marketing materials
- Approvals and edits
- Execution of plan
This timing will be dependent on the time you have to market your program, as well as the scope of your marketing efforts.
2) Establish your messaging
Once you have determined the overall timeline for the marketing of your program, you will move into the strategy and ideation process. The most important part of your marketing is your message and communication strategy. What are the main messages you want potential students to take away from your marketing efforts?
Determine the key selling features of your program and any important information that needs to be conveyed through your marketing messages.
Although you may want to communicate every detail of the program in your outreach, it’s better to use your outbound marketing to hook your audience with a key message and then drive them to a source of information, such as a landing page on your website, that contains further details and specifics of the program.
3) Select communication channels
A huge benefit to newbie marketers today, is the plethora of free marketing tools and platforms that can be leveraged in a marketing plan. Digital marketing channels provide free ways for organizations to attract potential “customers”, or in your case, students.
Our recommended means of communication for program marketing include:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Blog posts
- In-course presentations
- Information sessions
- Dedicated program pages online
Your mix of marketing tactics will be dependent on your resources and time that you will have available at your disposal. We would recommend utilizing email and social media, as well as in-person opportunities to connect with potential students.
Free services that you can use to create your marketing materials
- Hootsuite – Schedule and plan social media posts with a social scheduler like Hootsuite.
- Mailchimp – Send beautifully crafted emails and newsletter blasts with Mailchimp, which allows up to 2,000 email addresses on their free account plan.
- Canva – Not experienced in graphic design? With Canva, you don’t need to have taken a single graphic design course. Their easy to use platform allows you to design professional graphics for free.
4) Execute your plan
Once you have done the grunt of the work by planning, strategizing and developing your marketing plan, the final step is to implement all of your hard work. Before you begin sending your marketing communications, we recommend establishing some goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your efforts.
Ensure that your goals are both achievable and measurable so you can optimize your future marketing to what worked for you.
There are so many excellent and free resources available to improve your marketing knowledge and build up your skill set, but we hope these quick tips will make the marketing of your study abroad program seem a little less daunting of a task.