China Underground > Essential guide to China > Chinese international student recruitment: setting timelines and budgets for a post-COVID world

Chinese international student recruitment: setting timelines and budgets for a post-COVID world

COVID-19 has forced universities to pivot to a digital-first approach in their international student marketing and recruitment strategy. Managing the transition virtually overnight has been challenging for institutions, particularly in China where local internet regulation and a digital ecosystem that is separate from the rest of the world are presenting significant barriers to entry.

While many stop-gap measures were sufficient to navigate the height of the crisis, many institutions have now identified the need to develop a long-term digital strategy in China that drives measurable results and addresses the changing demands of Chinese students:

Based on their experience of working with hundreds of universities and education service providers around the globe, China-orientated digital marketing technology company Sinorbis, has released a new guide to enable organisations to develop their China digital strategy in-house.

“One of the challenges we have observed when working with our education clients is that the sheer amount of hurdles to overcome in China can quickly become overwhelming,” said Sinorbis CEO, Nicolas Chu. “As a result, many digital marketing and recruitment tactics are implemented without an overarching plan, making it difficult to demonstrate a return on investment and activities are deemed unsuccessful too soon.”

The digital strategy guide for China has been designed to bring transparency and clarity to the process. “The questions we most commonly hear in our conversations with education clients are ‘how much budget do we need?’ and ‘how long does it take to see a return’,” said Mr Chu. “We have tried to answer those questions as directly as possible to ensure institutions are entering the market with realistic expectations.”

“What exactly the strategy is going to look like is of course going to depend on a lot of variables and how established an institution already is in China,” explained Mr. Chu. “To address this, we have included as much context as possible for the elements that need to be factored into the planning process.”

The guide provides a 4-phase framework to develop a digital strategy from setting up the foundations all the way to online demand generation, as well as suggested timelines for the implementation. Timelines have been linked to required budgets and expected outcomes.

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