SEO Inbound Organic Marketing for International Education
International Education Digital SEO marketing and other international education news:
AIEC Australian International Education Centre is highly visible online in CEE Central Eastern European languages and Turkish from SEO via website, Twitter/Google+ network, blogs, other social media and conventional.
This includes email lists for Turkey (600 contacts and increasing) updates to private high school counsellors, career centres at private university and vocational schools, private cookery, tourism and hospitality schools, private digital arts and media schools (to be followed by health).
International education marketing has taken on board e-marketing or email campaigns, now more also do ‘outbound’ digital campaigns via Google Adwords, but in CEE and Turkey they are mostly in English (only), while ‘inbound’ SEO digital marketing is most important, but has been neglected.
Suggests ‘silo’ mentality, i.e. for any marketing to be effective, especially ‘inbound’ digital, institutions must cooperate with external and internal partners, even if they prefer marketing strategy and execution to be solely senior in-house personnel (organisational boundaries are blurred in digital environment, both vertically and horizontally).
In other words successful digital strategy is contingent upon transparent corporate culture and flat structured organisation, not conventional hierarchical and closed or arbitrary practice.
State (capital) international education and tourism portals limit their effectiveness through neither linking directly to quality offshore networks of agent and related websites nor onshore, commissioning ‘outbound’ digital campaigns and preferring ‘events’ to ‘distribute marketing materials’.
This compromises their state, region or city’s profile online all year round 24/7 (some including a state minister, don’t know if they are promoting the destination, conducting offshore market development or just informing students already onshore about news and events?).
Common Digital Marketing SEO and Social Media Issues in International Education:
- Digital marketing strategy is deemed to be ‘technical’ (not!) thus managed by webmasters, ‘web/digital marketing team’ and IT personnel without social insight into international students and international education.
- Neither integrated with overall international marketing strategy managed by senior marketing personnel nor informed by students and/or admissions personnel e.g. search terms, key words, marketing content etc. in target languages.
- Job descriptions or duty statements reflecting neither competencies nor personal attributes required for effective digital marketing strategy, especially ‘inbound’.
- Marketing personnel lack analytical skills (or wherewithal) to analyse external or agent websites, blogs and social media to assess potential leverage for ‘inbound’ digital marketing SEO cooperation.
- Many providers assume agents market or ‘sell’ their institution internationally based upon (high) commission, price promotions, events and face to face office visits, when digital and especially SEO is most important, but neither integrated nor leveraged for effectiveness.
- Some institution websites have no back links to agent ‘in market’ websites or held by 3rd party service (losing digital ‘juice’ for SEO), while agent websites if using SEO in target language are found easily.
- If promoting partners, agent websites are often used as free directory for prospective students go direct with neither vetting nor consulting (while institutions ignore or refuse to give feedback on rich ‘analytics’), and admissions not so interested to learn how the student found them, what information sources and who had they spoken to?
- What often happens is the agent will remove web links back to institution, thus decreasing the target institution’s ‘digital juice’ and visibility.
- If you have a strategy of sourcing good quality backlinks, the protocol is ‘reciprocity’, i.e. if an agent gives you a profile and link upon request, you should do the same in return (however many use sub contractors who are neither able to comply nor rewarded).
- Use of 3rd parties (internal or external) to do Google Ads in English, not targeted and often international manager and local agents are unaware.
- Use of Google Adwords leads to ‘online stalking’ (via cookies) whereby any prospective clicking through your advert will be subjected to your (and) related ads via other searches (not good for brand or image)….. industry research shows that ‘organic’ search results (via SEO) matching search enquiry have more credibility than paid or sponsored adverts stalking prospectives online…..
- Social media channels, directing relevant traffic to websites, often neither updated nor linked up (very important for search engines to see), let alone monitored for feedback, positive or negative.
Marketing managers without SEO and related digital skills would be advised to seek out CPD opportunities or look up good free SEO resources available online, see below. If not who will employ you in future if you do not have these basic skills?