Chinese students inject billions of dollars into the Australian economy, but how much do we know about the factors influencing the Chinese student’s international education decisions? How to best reach them during their decision-making process, to influence their final selection? To reach Chinese students, education institutions need to: Understand, Invest & Adapt.
Below are the top 10 recommendations to attract Chinese students:
Who is the decision maker only 1/3 of the Chinese students decide by themselves, the rest either by joint model or by the student alone.
The importance of ranking, positive reviews and recommendations in the decision process. 80% prefer world top 200 schools.
- Which Chinese channels both online and offline are used by parents and students to gather information about education overseas: online channels as Chinese social media (e.g. WeChat marketing), education portals (e.g. EOL and Zinch), and information portals (e.g. Sina and Sohu), and offline channels as education exhibitions and workshops, study agencies are important and impactful channels.
- What people say about your brand through social monitoring (across social networks, forums & Q&A sites).
Adapt & Invest
- Build a localised official Chinese website with rich content (application assistance, academy/course introduction, videos, etc.) and a personalised environment.
- Expose contents based on popular programs/topics on right channels: education portals (EOL, Zinch,…), Baidu Knows (Baidu Zhidao), community sites (Tieba), and forums (Tianya).
- Promote brand not only in Tier-1 cities, but also Tier 2/3 cities. Consumption power has risen significantly in Tier 2/3 cities in recent years, while the gap between education resources available and the demand is much larger there than in Tier 1.
- Run campaigns online and offline in recruiting peak season, eg after Gaokao.
- Sign up alumni and current students as advocates for your brand on Chinese social media channels.
- Give special offers to incentivise application and acceptance of admission offer such as student loans, assistantship, scholarship and free English class. This is particularly useful when making a decision among schools with similar ranking.
Now is the critical time for Australian schools and universities to introduce changes to the way they do marketing in China to recruit Chinese students with both offline channels and online digital marketing in China.