Creating a customised user experience for any website is important, and many universities must work on their website personalisation by providing tailored online journey that suit learners’ individual needs.
Rather than supplying web visitors with a generic page view, website personalisation creates a user-friendly platform that directly addresses the audience.
A prime example is Facebook’s ‘What’s on your mind?’ feature. Directly addressing the web user builds a rapport and encourages them to interact with its interface.
Another example would be the ability to ‘react’ to posts with emojis and comments. Allowing users to post their own ideas and opinions helps them feel more connected to the brand.
So what makes website personalisation techniques so valuable to universities, and how do they boost international student integration?
Setting up a student or user profile
While browsing courses or swiping through campus pages, you may find some university website pages have a pop-up box persuading readers to set up a user profile.
Granting you access to exclusive news events or access to restricted areas of the site, universities use this personalisation method as a means of creating an online community of learners and prospective students.
By filling out a profile with information such as course interests or hobbies, the university can then target specific pages towards the user to entice them in with programmes, recent projects, opportunities and networking events happening in that related field or faculty.
This is also known as ‘user set personalisation’ and it’s a great way to distinguish whether the online website visitors are newcomers, undergraduates, postgraduates, parents or members of staff.
Using behaviour as a basis
Behavioural personalisation is also important.
Once logged into their profile, a university can track how a user interacts with different content across the website and how this relates to their interests.
For example, if a parent types ‘open day’ into the university’s search bar, this would indicate that they’re looking for dates for campus tours and considering this particular institution for their child.
Acknowledging this allows universities to act quickly and send over information regarding the next open day, or ensure that the next email contains information about upcoming campus tours.
For international students and parents who live overseas, open days must be planned in advance, so this tactic enables universities to act faster and encourages parents and potential learners to pencil down dates in their diary and commit to a campus visit.
International student portals
A simpler way for universities to weave in website personalisation is to set up an international student portal page.
Drawing all the information into one portal/page allows international students to rapidly access information that’s relevant to their academic journey.
This can save international students’ valuable time during the research process. Instead of having to scroll through every university’s home page to find out more about what they have to offer, they can click on the international student portal and go straight to the advantages, accommodation options, courses and scholarship opportunities.
For universities striving to adopt a marketing mindset, website personalisation is key.
Not only does it help them to intensify interactions with their international student community, it also helps them engage new potential applicants, reeling them into their new course offerings and campus events.
Upgrading their usability and understanding their audience, the universities that enlist the help of tech tools like this will thrive long into the future.