I have the opportunity to look at a lot of digital marketing produced by educational institutions and am sorry to say that most of it is of subpar quality. Sometimes, I’ll even take a screenshot of an unimpressive example and send it to the colleague from the offending institution with a diplomatic suggestion or two for improvement.
Here are a few examples of how not to use digital marketing, which result in a waste of precious time and marketing money.
Facebook Ad in English: Since this is Viet Nam, it makes sense to have your ad in Vietnamese, if you want Vietnamese netizens to click on it. If you are using the same ad in many countries, you might want to consider a country-specific approach. One size does not fit all in marketing, as in many other areas involving different target audiences.
In addition, parents are the key decision makers and very few are proficient in English. Most decide where their children will study and, in the case of higher education, what they will study. In a discussion about hard copy promotional materials, I once had a US colleague tell me her institution expected a certain level of English proficiency, e.g., 79/80 TOEFL iBT score. My (obvious) response was it’s more for the parents, who control the purse strings.
It’s also a good idea to make it easy for young people to understand the information – easily and quickly. They’ll have plenty of time to perfect their English, if they complete the long path from application, to admission, to visa issuance, to arrival in the host country, and your school.
Unspiring Text and Photo: The quality and appeal of both the text and photo are key determinants of whether or not someone will click on it to obtain more information. I’ve seen barren photos that are unlikely to motivate a Vietnamese student or parent to click for more.
Landing Page in English: Even if you have excellent text in Vietnamese and an exciting photo, the process may end abruptly, if the link takes them to an English language landing page. It’s best to have that information in Vietnamese or both languages.
For all of the above, you should solicit in country feedback from members of your target audience using a focus group. At worst, it’s back to the drawing board, Or perhaps only a few minor edits are required. This could very well mean the difference between effective digital marketing and so much virtual pissing in the wind, to coin a phrase.