Marketing Your Faculty-Led Program
Many faculty find marketing their faculty-led program challenging and unnatural. More often than not, you do not have to recruit students to take the classes you teach on campus. You arrive on the first day of class to find students sitting in the classroom, waiting for you! For students, the decision to study abroad is very different, and often more complex, than the decision to take your class on campus. Therefore, you need to actively market your faculty-led program and recruit students to participate!
When considering marketing your faculty-led program, you may be thinking:
- "I don't have enough time."
- "I wouldn't even know where to start!"
- "I'm not comfortable with the term 'marketing' – I'm not selling a car!"
- "All my students said they were interested but only three actually applied!"
- "I scheduled an info session but no one showed up."
This is completely normal! The Study Abroad Office hopes you'll find the marketing resources helpful as you develop a marketing plan for your program.
Identify a "sales team." Who can you call on to help you market your program?
Consider your colleagues within your department.
What about the Academic Advisor(s) within your department?
Utilize alumni of your program, if available.
Adopt a marketing mindset and start early
Talk about your program all the time!
Don't feel like you have to apologize for the price. Focus on the experience.
Create a sense of urgency. "There are only 15 spaces on this program!"
Follow up consistently with interested students.
Stop using the word "trip." Think about what the word "trip" implies. You've spent too much time crafting an immersive, academic program abroad to then dumb it down to a "trip."
Frame the conversation positively
Market to the myths around study abroad.
Create a platform for past and current applicants to connect
Let's face it – students want to hear from their peers. After you've run the program for the first time, you'll have a great pool of student marketers. Create a space for your program alumni to connect with interested applicants. Consider starting a facebook group or group chats to keep students engaged.
Be sure you give your alumni the tools to talk about the program! Use their millennial experience to help promote the program. I guarantee they have more photos and videos of the program than you do. Ask one of our alumni to make one or two short "commercials" you can use to advertise the program. #famous
Utilize your international partners
If you're utilizing an international partner to organize the logistics of your program, they may be able to offer you marketing support. With advance notice, many of our partners can provide flyers and other printed materials.
Articulate the value of study abroad
Research has shown there are many academic, professional, and personal benefits of study abroad. Ensure your students – and their parents and loved ones – realize these benefits.
How Do Students Learn About Study Abroad?
In the student applications, we ask students how they learned about study abroad. Consider the results when thinking through marketing and recruitment avenues for your program.
Marketing Ideas Specific to Texas Tech
- Make sure the Academic Advisor(s) within your department are aware of your program. Academic Advisors meet with students each semester to schedule classes. Be sure the Advisor(s) within your program are aware of your program so they can recommend it for students needing to take your class.
- Department newsletter: Some departments have a newsletter that is sent to students on a weekly or monthly basis. Have your program highlighted in this communication to students.
- Ask your colleagues to allow you to speak for 2-3 minutes at the beginning of their class: Students are inundated with information by email, social media, etc. Sometimes the best thing to do is speak with students for a few minutes at the beginning of class. If it's not possible for you to speak for a few minutes, ask your colleagues to show a PowerPoint slide highlighting your program as students are walking into class.
- Participate in the Study Abroad Fair: The Study Abroad Office hosts an annual Fair generally in the fall semester. Make sure you bring a sign-in sheet for your table at the Fair. Contact students interested in your program to keep them aware of the application deadlines, to set up information sessions as needed, invite interested students to your office hours, etc.
- TechAnnounce: Many faculty leaders advertise their programs in TechAnnounce. You can schedule multiple announcements to go out throughout the fall and spring semester.
- Flyers: The Study Abroad Office will provide you with an electronic copy of a flyer which you can use to promote your program. Print and hang this flyer around campus.
- Digital signs: Have your flyer added to the digital signs in your building. The Study Abroad Office can send you an electronic copy of your flyer.
- Information sessions: Many faculty leaders host information sessions. This is an opportunity for you to meet students interested in your program but also, for your students to meet each other. Be sure to advertise the information sessions well – otherwise, attendance may be low! You could consider requiring that students attend an information session in order to be approved for your program.
- Learning Communities: Some on-campus housing options are organized by Learning Community. What learning communities are connected to your department/College, or the topic of your program abroad? Request to speak at a Learning Community meeting. To do so, please contact Tamara McClain.
- Student groups: What student groups or organizations have an academic connection to your department or the topic of your program abroad? Request to speak at a student organization meeting.
How the Study Abroad Office Will Help
As the faculty leader of your program, it is your responsibility to market your program and recruit students. The Study Abroad Office will:
- Create a program webpage specific to your program.
- Develop a customized flyer for your program.
- Provide 50 color copies of the flyer. Any additional copies need to be paid for by your department/College.
- Facilitate the online application process for students.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Study Abroad Faculty-Led Program Manager.