A productive education agent channel can be a valuable source of international student enrollments.
Education agents are already an important part of the international education landscape, and it’s likely they they will play an even more significant role as the world recovers from the pandemic.
Here’s five tips to get more international student enrollments from your education agent channel.
1. Grow your education agent network
This one is kind of obvious: recruit more education agents who collectively can refer more international students to your institution.
AgentBee can help you identify and recruit new education agents. Our solution has $0/zero up front costs. You only pay when it works. If this is of interest, click here to get more info.
An important point to note here is that growing your education agent network is not a ‘silver bullet’ solution. It only works if you also follow the other tips below.
2. Cut the dead wood
If your institution has had an education agent channel in place for a long period you may have a large number of education agents on your books. How many of those agents actually refer students? For most institutions the 80/20 rule applies, that is 20% of your agents refer 80% of the students that you get through your agent channel.
Those education agents who send you a student once in a blue moon are a waste of time and money. There are admin costs involved for you to maintain them on your list of ‘authorised agents’.
You’re much better off parting ways with non-productive education agents and filling those slots with new agents who are eager to send students to your institution.
3. Make it easy for your education agents
This one is critical. You must make it easy for your education agents to work with you. In summary, that means making it easy for them to:
- receive your updates
- access the latest marketing information and documents
- communicate with you directly
- refer students for enrollment
- work with you on and track the enrollment process for referred students.
The best, and most efficient, way to do all of that is with a dedicated education agent portal. Sure, you can make do with email and Google drive, but its clunky and makes it hard for your agents to get the information they need when they need it.
AgentBee offers a beautifully simple education agent portal solution that makes it super easy for you to work with your education agents. Best of all, there are $0/zero set up or ongoing costs for educational institutions. You only pay when it works. Click here for more information.
4. Review your commission structure
Ok, now we are sailing into some dangerous waters. The issue of commission payments by educational institutions to education agents goes to the heart of the perennial debate on the use of education agents. There are strong and perfectly reasonable views on both sides of the debate. We’re not going to dive down that rabbit hole here (or at least not intentionally!).
Suffice to say that if you are working with education agents, you have accepted that your agents have a commercial interest in referring students for enrollment at your institution. The primary motivation of each of your agents should be to ensure they are supporting the students they work with to make the decision on country, institution and course that is in the student’s best interest, irrespective of the commission amount. However, the agent deserves to be paid a commission that is fair.
The point here is that you should regularly assess your commission structure to ensure that it is reasonable in the context of the current market. You don’t need to pay the highest commission, but you also want to avoid the situation where the commission you are offering agents is significantly under what comparable institutions are paying. Aim for the middle of the commission bell curve. That way you take commission rate out of the equation for agents. Professional education agents won’t be concerned with a few dollars or percent either way between institutions.
5. Publish a list of your education agents on your website
Australian educational institutions are required by law to publish a list of educational institutions on their website. Failure to do so is an offence. So if you are a representative of an Australian educational institution, and you have a list of your agents on your website, you can stop reading. On the other hand, if you don’t have a list of agents on your website, you should also stop reading and get on it!
For educational institutions in other countries, listing your authorised education agents on your website is really important for three reasons:
- It makes it easy for students who visit your website to find an authorised education agent near them.
- It is an important transparency measure because it enables students to check that an agent who claims to be an authorised agent of your institution actually is.
- It supports your agent network by generating student leads for agents.