International Admissions' Most Valuable Marketing Tool: The Website

<p>Take a look at what happens when Pinterest decides to think locally instead of globally. Watch a video on website personalization on an international admission's homepage and submit your website for some international recruitment ideas.&nbsp;</p>

Change Website Content Based on International Visitor Location

If a prospective international student emailed your office right now asking about application information, what website would you send them to? When they arrive at the URL, what do they find?Chances are the international recruitment office segments direct mail by location. It happens in email marketing: prospective students from Brazil require different information than students from India. Segmenting email shows a higher open rate, higher click rate and ultimately, a higher goal conversion (requesting more information, completing an application or watching a video).Yet this same level of segmenting isn't happening at the website level. Here's an example of simple website personalization (video below) using the international admission's homepage from the University of Arizona. Click below to see how in under three minutes, the website changes from generic to personalized.

The Impact of Geotargeted Content

In the video below by product lead on the Pinterest growth team, expert Casey Winters mentions a change his team recently made to adjust their algorithm based on geography.Instead of delivering a one-size-fits all images, they went the route of geotargeting and personalization. Spoiler alert: it had an amazing impact.The test: what happens when we serve up localized content to international users?

“[After geotargeting content] activation rates increased 15% and international growth rates improved all from taking something that we had and making it better for people coming to the product.”

To further prove the impact of personalizing your website based on location, a study in Google's geo-ad customizers seems fitting to include. Late 2015, Google announced the ability to append ads with the searcher's location. I.e. a car-wash franchise with thousands of locations can purchase the keyword "car-wash" and have the search results display "car wash in Lincoln" or "car wash in Syracuse." In the good ol' days, marketers would manually have to create thousands of keywords and ads that matched searcher's location.The digital marketing team at WordStream ran a test using the geo-ad customizers and found a 30 percent click-through rate increase and a50 percent decrease in cost-per-acquisition. 50 percent!

The International Admissions Homepage

The international admissions process is not for the faint of heart ... but it doesn't have to be this way. In classic user-experience studies, the fewer steps involved the better. Are you asking questions on your recruitment inquiry form or application that don't have a purpose? Putting forms, process efficiencies and public policy aside for a moment, let's take a look at a framework for bringing relevant content to the surface. Oh, and of course it's based on location!

Build a Framework for Each Page

The framework above can be applied to any college or university website. Simply change the region and you're set to go. Sure, there is some investment to be made up-front like building a small library of regional alumni, uncovering current student success stories and taking a quick look at some descriptive marketing statistics, but those wheels should already be turning.Keep Content RelevantNotice the last row in the chart above: RELEVANT CONTENT. This is a great way to get your admissions and marketing teams to break down the segments of students in your admission's and prospect funnel. Using Microsoft Excel or your client relationship manager, you can easily filter your list of currently enrolled students by state and run a query on major-of-interest. Do students from Texas study Forestry at a greater percentage than students from New York? Feature that program for visitors in the lone-star-state.During this research, you're going to discover trends and regions you had no idea were this significant. For example, we spent some time helping a university dive into their website analytics and their CRM data. We reverse engineered their prospect funnel by yield rates and found that the conversion from applicant to enrolled in the state of Virginia was the highest of all states. Not just that, but students that applied from Virginia were 30 percent more likely to enroll than any other state! This same research can be done with international regions as well.

Video Transcript

Hi everyone and welcome to our featured video: International Website Personalization.Using GeoFli, we’re going to change the content that visitors from a specific location see on our website. In this example we’re going to use website visitors from China visiting the International Admission’s homepage of the University of Arizona.What’s happening? This shape is collecting location information telling GeoFli: we’re going to change the content for anyone visiting from this area. Or in the example here, anyone visiting from China. But it could be Brazil, South America or even zip-code.Now that we have our region selected, we’re going to change our website. This is what makes GeoFli great for marketers on-the-go. Without emailing IT or reading CMS tutorials, you can select any part of your website you’d like to change, like an image, a headline, or bulk paragraph text. Again, the goal is to personalize the website for visitors from China, so let’s select these call-to-action buttons.This works on your website regardless of CMS platform. Let’s pretend we made a few changes and preview the site.As you’ll notice, the call-to-action buttons now have Chinese subtitles beneath them and there’s even a call-to-action to meet the international recruiter when they’re in Beijing!Before testing, it’s extremely likely these changes will lead to more event goals, or website visitors clicking on your call-to-action, longer time-on-site and a decreased bounce-rate or exiting your page to go somewhere else on the internet. Include links to geo-relevant information. Content that may already exist, you’re just bringing it to the surface for the right audience.Create unlimited regions for India, Saudi Arabia and all 50 states if you wanted to. In this example we added Canada because international students from Canada need different information than international students from China. Maybe your admission’s office spends more time up there, maybe there are success stories of Canadian alumni you want to share.Change how the world sees your website. Create a free account at and let us know if you have any questions at all. Oh, and don’t forget to keep being awesome.

Ready to make GeoFli work for you?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.