It is well understood that international students carefully consider factors such as ranking and financial commitments when deliberating an offer.  However, in HECG’s view, equally important are off-campus factors.  For starters there is the city and country in which the university is located, followed closely by the quality and certainty of the lifestyle, accommodation, safety, support services, accessibility and job opportunities.

These all play into the offer and contribute significantly to the post-offer decision process leading to acceptance.

Yet student recruitment campaigns continue to do what they have always done – rely on rankings and dip into the kitty. University offer acceptance is encouraged through the tired tricks of discounting fees or providing additional incentives to agents, while simultaneously ignoring the concrete advantages of a range of highly sought-after off-campus assets often sitting on the doorstep.

These efforts ignore the student mindset – imagining themselves in another country, an adventure of exploration and discovery that stretches beyond the confines of the lecture hall. Students understand that they are committing themselves to live in a place for several years – a vital aspect of why students choose international education in the first place.

In Australia there is no excuse for such neglect.  The breadth of off-campus advantage and incentive is breathtaking.

Our major cities are world class and the country – mountains, wilderness, bushland, beaches – is stunning.  Universities are based in cosmopolitan, safe cities where every effort is made to support students’ language, cultural and accommodation needs. They offer a high degree of quality and certainty both on and off- campus.

As an example of such natural marketing incentives, two noted Australian universities are using off-campus benefits to successfully drive acceptance.

In 2014 the University of Tasmania gave away a seaplane tour over Hobart to those that accepted early, taking in views of the Botanical Gardens, Tasman Bridge and Kingston Beach and the possibility of dolphin spotting.  The metrics prove its worth – early acceptance numbers are twice the rate.  Similarly, our team also developed for a Sydney-based university gifted a Sydney Bridge Climb, achieving double-digit early acceptance rates.

These post-offer incentives work on several levels. They enhance the relationship with the student by helping them to visualise themselves at an institution where they are succeeding academically and enjoying themselves.

They promote a wide range of off-campus advantages without having to spell them out.  Furthermore they yield for marketers and recruiters much film footage that can be used over again to start and strengthen relationships with prospective students.

In summary, it is crucial that institutions act during the post-offer stage of the future student purchasing cycle.  Recruitment campaigns underpinned by digital that position the offer as a highpoint and drive acceptance by promoting off-campus assets are proven to succeed.

Better still these efforts provide much needed opportunities for universities to authentically bring to life brand values post-offer that set them apart from the competition.

Read more from HECG about how digital marketing plus empathy can win over overseas students.

If doing great post-offer marketing sounds like what you want to do, just get in touch with us today and let us help you with that.