Applying a Local Approach to International Recruitment

Introduction

The University of Hartford (UHart) is a private, mid-sized university located in West Hartford, Connecticut. Despite the smaller size, UHart maintains a strong international student population, making up 8% of the university's 5,200 undergraduate students and representing over 65 countries.

This case study highlights how UHart is able to effectively diversify and grow its international student population by localizing and personalizing recruitment efforts for their target regions.

Challenge

Nurturing and growing the international population, particularly for a smaller, private institution, requires a dynamic strategy that can easily shift with the ever-changing economies around the world.

The university's strategy to help overcome these challenges is to focus recruitment efforts on key regions to buffer against the declining populations, and to localize content and personalize communication in order to have the most impact on students and parents in those expanded regions.

Jessica Khazak
Jessica Khazak
Assistant Director of International Admission University of Hartford

"Our major recruitment challenges are diversifying and growing our international population, and expanding reach to find a replacement applicant pool for the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia which will be declining in the coming years."

Solution

To help carry out this international recruitment strategy, UHart partnered with Hotcourses to create new marketing assets and to translate current assets. In addition to translating website content, Hotcourses helped produce informational videos covering UHart's business program, the student experience, housing, and the application process.

To increase brand awareness in their target regions UHart hosts their university profile on Hotcourses' international websites, which combined have over 30 million student visitors annually. From these profiles, students are able to gather information on UHart in their local language, submit inquiries, and click through to UHart's website.

The university recently took advantage of Hotcourses' free training on Google Analytics and set up meaningful goals completed by users on the UHart website as a result of clicking through from Hotcourses' websites. With Google Analytics set up, UHart will be able to compare traffic from Hotcourses against other referring sites.

Jessica Khazak
Jessica Khazak
Assistant Director of International Admission University of Hartford

"We viewed Hotcourses as a way to increase information and content in specific languages. We don't have the means for an in-house translator, so the option to have Hotcourses translate content on our site was very attractive for us."

"Every couple of months it seems that Hotcourses is offering a new service, and it's usually free, and I usually take advantage of it."

Results

Return on Investment

UHart recently took advantage of Hotcourses' newest service, the Enrollment Matcher Tool (EMT), to determine how many international student enrollments can be attributed to Hotcourses. The report found that 4.4% of fall 2015 international applicants, and 2% of fall 2015 international enrollments, came from students researching UHart on Hotcourses' international sites.

4.4% Applications
2% Enrollments
Jessica Khazak
Jessica Khazak
Assistant Director of International Admission University of Hartford

"We've been under the assumption that what we're using Hotcourses for is the translated profiles, and using those profiles to support our recruitment initiatives. Being able to attribute enrollments to Hotcourses was an added bonus."

Increased Engagement & Awareness

UHart's profiles on Hotcourses' international sites have expanded the university's reach in their target regions. In less than two years, UHart's presence on Hotcourses' international sites have generated:

7,800+ Profile views
5,500+ Program views
4,500+ Website Visits
800+ Email inquiries
Integrated Marketing

UHart has integrated Hotcourses' content into multiple communication channels. The university has found it particularly effective to complement their in-person recruitment efforts with the localized content; whether that be before, during, or after travel.

Recruitment Strategy in Action: Targeting Brazilian Students

View University of Hartford's profile on Hotcourses Brazil
View University of Hartford's Portuguese microsite

Jessica Khazak
Jessica Khazak
Assistant Director of International Admission University of Hartford

"It's been very helpful to have content to post on social media, our website, and emails out to students. We have the translated microsite links on our travel brochures so we can highlight those when talking to students and parents, advising them to go there to get more information."

In addition to engaging prospective students on their own social media sites, UHart posts timely updates to relevant Hotcourses' Facebook pages. Over this past fall/winter, UHart published a series of posts to Hotcourses' Brazil Facebook page. The campaign delivered significant engagement and helped expand UHart's brand awareness in Brazil:

Cumulative results from fall/winter Facebook campaign
32,745 Reached
724 Likes
748 Clicks
50 Comments
92 Shares

What's next?

UHart recently adopted a new CRM system to help manage prospective students throughout the enrollment funnel. The Hotcourses inquiries go directly into the new CRM and the student ambassadors respond to those inquiries. To add a more personalized touch, student ambassadors will call prospective students if they are from the same country to share their experience at UHart and personally answer questions.

UHart will be able to run Hotcourses' EMT application next year to determine if their augmented student nurturing process increases the number of international students enrolling as a result of Hotcourses.

Jessica Khazak
Jessica Khazak
Assistant Director of International Admission University of Hartford

"We don't nurture our inquiries as best as we can, yet. We're touching them a bit, but there's much more we can do. Now that we have the CRM in place, we plan to use it to strengthen that process."

To learn more about Hotcourses, schedule a meeting with a member of our college partnerships team.

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