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Benefits of Marketing to International Students in the UK

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British American Group / 27.03.18 / Industry

Though students are not known for having a lot of money, they do still constitute a potentially lucrative market for many businesses, who tap into that market by offering special discounts for students, and producing specialised marketing materials aimed directly at students. Most of these materials are aimed at local students, as the majority of students are UK residents. Do not overlook international students, however.

Almost 20% of students in higher education in the UK are international students, and 14% are from outside the EU. Chinese students constitute the single largest group of those, totalling almost 100,000. International students represent a large, lucrative, and potentially untapped market for your business, offering several advantages, though marketing to them does require some special considerations.

The first advantage of targeting international students comes from their numbers, as mentioned above. There are almost 500,000 international students studying in UK institutions! This is a potentially large market that your competitors aren’t targeting. It is worth considering that many of these students may come from families with larger disposable incomes than the average UK family, meaning international students have larger budgets for necessities as well as social activities.

Group of international students with books, phones and backpacks. Vector illustration

While local students, being from the community, do not limit themselves to on-campus social events and media and also often travel home during holidays, it is not uncommon for international students to spend almost their entire time in the UK on and around their campuses. International students in the UK often do not pay attention to the local media which means they are often missed by traditional marketing methods. Marketing directly to international students thus represents a tremendous opportunity.

Naturally, there are some difficulties involved in marketing to international students. The first is that of access. Since they often do not consume local media, marketing materials released through traditional pipelines often do not reach them. Another difficulty is that, in some cases, international students’ English ability is not always at a level where they can understand marketing materials directed at native-speaking markets, though they may be perfectly able to understand academic materials. This presents a problem for marketers, but one that is easily overcome.

The question of just how to target marketing materials to international students remains. It is most easily addressed by marketing to them directly on their campuses, through advertising in campus publications, and by organising on-campus marketing events and targeted mailings, where they feel most comfortable. Campus publications are directed at students, and are read by local and international students alike. Your materials can include student-specific promotional information, and appeal directly to students’ desires for budget-conscious goods and entertainment. This is appealing to both local and international students in the UK.

publications

On-campus events allow you to target students directly and in person. This is particularly useful for marketing to international students, as you or your representatives can meet them face-to-face, learn their desires, and pitch directly to them. Face-to-face communication also helps eliminate the potential language barrier that could exist between you and your international potential customers.

The international student market presents rich possibilities to those who target it and it does not serve you to neglect it as it is currently much untapped. Though there are challenges in targeting this market that do not exist in other markets, the potential payoff is worth the investment.

Does your brand want to advertise to international students currently studying in the UK? Get in touch with British American Group on 0121 616 2211 or drop us an email at hello@group.ba to discuss your project.