5 min read
Empower your agents, but keep control of your message
Pros and cons of working with agents
Working with agents to recruit international students is common practice in most independent schools, especially boarding schools. Agents offer the benefit of introducing schools to a wider network of families in their region having the local knowledge and language skills to represent it in the best light.
However, as many schools will vouch, working with a third party can be a complex game of expectations management. Many say, it’s a love-hate relationship.
The role of the agent is to promote the school but with that comes a level of uncertainty for your school and its brand. Schools have no real control over the communications between parent and agent and have to take it in good faith that their message and school values are being represented accurately. Agent quality can vary and as agents are only paid if a student is placed with your school, you have to wonder if families are getting the full picture.
Most schools equip agents with a PDF prospectus, a link to their website, and a video playlist on YouTube. Is that enough to truly paint a picture of a school’s strengths and ethos? And how often do schools update their agents on what’s new with the school?
What if the reality of the school is even subtly different to the image the agent has presented? It’s likely the family will feel really let down and misinformed. And that will not only damage their relationship with the school, but also damage the school’s wider reputation.
That’s why schools need to be more firmly in control of how their agents are promoting their school, ensuring that this message is up-to-date and aligned with the school’s values and unique qualities.
Stephen Mullock, Deputy Head at Ellesmere College uses Kampus24 to support the school’s promotion via international agents. He said: “When we spoke with agents, we realised our school wasn’t getting the ranking we felt it should have been… we saw Kampus24 as a way to quickly and easily serve up content to prospective families.”
The right message for the right market
Agents also have their own expectations – they need you to empower them to find more of the right kind of students for your school. They hope you’ll be able to understand the local conditions and requirements of the market they’re operating in, and that you’ll be able to guide them in how best to express your school’s strengths in a way that resonates with their market. They’re often representing 10 or more schools, and need to have an incentive to focus on your school over the competition. Commission is one factor, but ease of engagement is another.
Do your marketing materials support your international agents for the specific context of their regions and families?
Here are some examples of different customers that your agents might expect your promotional materials to support them with:
- Many Latin American families may be interested in Catholic schools specifically
- Hong Kong families may have a particular interest in music and extracurricular activities
- Korean families may often focus on your school’s strengths in maths and physics
Of course, parents’ interests are as varied as their children’s, even within the same region – but creating different content tailored to different customer types can be effective in supporting international agents in promoting your school.
Does the support and management you provide your agents with really accomplish both goals – to ensure that parents are consistently presented with the right information, and also that your agents can communicate it to them in a way that matches their market’s needs?
Stephen Mullock finds using Kampus24 with international agents “much more effective” because it ‘gives [the school] the opportunity to filter content for [agents’] needs.”
Curating your content so it’s tailored to the needs of your agent’s local market is a far better way to ensure your school is resonating well with prospective families.
Coordinate your agent marketing activity with Kampus24
Kampus24 is transforming the way schools interact with prospective families. Schools are using Kampus24 to coordinate their marketing through international agents making it more effective and generating more engagement.
The aim of Kampus24 is not to remove the role of the agent – their local knowledge is too invaluable. Instead, Kampus24 allows schools to maximise their working relationship with agents to deliver the most effective promotional tools to achieve the best outcome – increased roll numbers.
With Kampus24, you can ensure you’re highlighting the most important points for each agent’s particular customer base and local market, while guaranteeing that the content you show is consistent, accurate and on brand. You could even work with international agents to make use of their local market knowledge to tailor the selection of content each family receives, without running the risk of any information being inadvertently exaggerated or omitted. With Kampus, you are in control of how your school is represented.
Kampus24 experiences are sent out via links which can be accessed on demand. Wherever your agent is based in the world, they can send these links to prospective families via email or whatsapp knowing that your school’s content will be accessible across any device, 24/7.
Unlike a print prospectus, Kampus24 provides you with a wealth of analytics that reveal how customers are engaging with your content. This data will let you manage your agents more effectively, collaborating with them to understand why particular messages don’t resonate with prospective parents in their regions, and moving quickly to react to new trends and areas of interest with additional content. Your agents in turn will welcome the detailed support and information these analytics can provide in developing their own approach to finding more clients who best fit your school.
Kampus24 enables you to support your agents with the right marketing tools to drive growth in your international student recruitment strategy and keeps your brand message consistent for maximum impact.
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