Know your international audience: How to communicate with a global market

Know your international audience: what appeals to this market?

Findings from QS UK’s International Student Survey tells us on average international students consider three other countries in addition to the UK when deciding where to study.

Some of the most popular competitors tend to be: Australia, United States, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. So, how can you ensure both the UK and your university stand out amongst the crowd?

DEMONSTRATE DIVERSITY AND INTERNATIONAL REACH

QS UK’s recent International Student Survey investigated the key aspects non-EU students consider when choosing a country or university to study in. One of the most valued factors was that it’s welcoming to international students both the destination country (69%) and the university (62%).

Given the competitive nature of this market, this is an opportunity for universities to run specific campaigns which highlight the diverse nature of their institution and demonstrate any intent to grow their international reach.

When planning for your campaign, reassure this audience by making your creative diverse and friendly. Your messaging and PR teams should also confront any key concerns that might be planted from Brexit or how welcoming the UK and its universities are. But keep us in mind, The Student Room can help you understand what creative and messaging works with prospective non-EU students through testing, optimisation and market research.

Other important factors made evident were that the university offers high-quality teaching (69%) and a specific course of interest (67%). Consider how you communicate your USP’s, a good start could be to wear your TEF badge with pride and be clear in explaining exactly what that means for overseas applicants.

Secondly, communicate the depth and breadth of your course offering but do your research first. Check out our last blog post to see which subjects are most relevant to the market you’re trying to communicate with.

WORRIES FOR NON-EU STUDENTS

Although the biggest concern for prospective students considering education abroad was typically regarding the cost of living (79%), safety was a huge apprehension for respondents with 58% stating it worries them the most. This relates back to previous themes identified and highlights how vital it is to reinforce your university and the UK are welcoming to international students.

WHAT LANGUAGE BARRIER?

You might think individual markets require different communication based on the language, but we see thousands of international students on-site every day interacting with peers from the UK. So, don’t worry about speaking the language, The Student Room serves users across the globe including India, Malaysia and Singapore and they’re already engaging with content written in English.

GET EXISTING STUDENTS INVOLVED

QS UK’s International Student Survey asked respondents what factors would make them feel less worried about studying abroad. The highest factor with 45% was being able to ask questions to existing international students at the institution of interest.

Do this by recruiting your students to get involved in open days (or vitrual open days), the live chat feature on your website and even social media. If you’ve got an UPP with us, why not dedicate one of your Official Rep accounts to attracting overseas applicants? You can select a current student to share useful advice, encourage the conversation and answer questions from potential students. This genuine and authentic approach will give applicants a clear picture of what life at your university is like from a trustworthy source.

Want to find out more about how to engage this ever-growing market? Keep an eye out for the next post in this content series ‘know your international audience’.

If you can’t wait that long, talk to us about how you could use The Student Room to boost your international campaign and connect with this untapped audience.