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How to make your  institution known in China?

Students from China form the largest international student group globally. China has the second-largest population of young adults (exceeding 100 million, as of 2020) in the world. According to China's Ministry of Education, 662,100 Chinese students were studying abroad in 2018. Although the pandemic has significantly affected Chinese students' plans to study overseas, it has not diminished their long-term interest.

Many have predicted a recovery in Chinese outbound students in 2022. According to Schools Week, once the campus reopens and travel restrictions lift, there will be an increasing interest in studying abroad among the Chinese. So, the question is – is your institution ready to seize that opportunity?

At Duhno, we believe it is essential to reach out to students now, as most of them consider which universities they want to enroll in in 2 or 3-years' time. Keep on reading if you want to know how to position your schools at the top of Chinese lists and secure your Chinese enrollment for the post-Covid era.

 

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Go full-on digital

In China, people live and breathe digital. Brands need to establish contact with customers online through multiple touchpoints. China's digital channels have also transformed consumer engagement. People expect good customer service and an active platform to answer their queries.

Educational institutions should consider digital transformation to adapt to the Chinese digital culture. This means having a Chinese website, being present and active on various social networking platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu etc.

But setting up your digital presence in China is easy; curating it to be an effective and relevant platform is challenging. It would help if you had a clear and tangible marketing strategy in place, constant monitoring of your marketing actions, measuring performance, benchmarking against competitors, and improving it regularly.

Your strategy should increase awareness, secure recruitment, and raise your voice. Here's our recommended three-step strategy to help you establish and optimize your digital footprint in China and get your name out there.

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Step 1 – web ecosystems

As emerging in-APP search becomes a new way of information seeking, Baidu still dominates China's traditional search engine market. From Duhno's experience, a great way to raise awareness and generate leads is to drive the traffic from Baidu to a specific landing page (or a set of landing pages).

We suggest creating ads on Baidu, and then programming Baidu to direct these ads to a defined audience with a clear call to action. But before doing this, you first need to identify your target audience - who they are, where they are from (which city tier), what schools they go to etc.

 

Step 2 – social media ecosystem

Use your social media platforms to curate your community and win leads. Develop a strategy with different focuses for different platforms based on your target audience. But this can be a complicated process due to the uniqueness and complexity of the Chinese social media landscape.

Let's take WeChat as an example. Here are our suggestions.

Publish content that's relevant to stakeholders on a regular basis. Nurture the school's recognition and reputation among them.

Run community engagement activities to learn more about your followers. This practice can also help validate whether you are targeting the right audiences and uncover the leads among them.

Through quality and relevant content, community building and WeChat CRM tools, you can turn followers into leads, leads into customers.

Step 3 – campaigns to drive traffic

Once your web ecosystem and social media are up and running, you can run campaigns to drive traffic. Based on our experience and understanding of the education market, we recommend running campaigns at different key moments of the year. For example, to build awareness of September opportunities and drive action towards enrollment, start running an integrated tactical campaign in April.

Our team at Duhno consists of experienced business and marketing consultants, data scientists and media planners to help analyze your school/institution's situation, forecast potential futures, and recommend marketing plans. We also work hand in hand with schools and their ecosystem in China (agent, partner schools and universities) and abroad (HQ, Global marketing team) to successfully execute those plans.

Would you like to know how to differentiate your institution from the competition and get your school at the top of the Chinese list?

Get in touch!

Contact us !

higgher educationWe have also cooked up a guide with a few data, some advice to make your recruitment campaign a success!

Read our FREE guide and let's work together to make 2023-2024 academic year a success !

  Read the guide