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Receiving applications from applicants through advertising in foreign telegram channels. The case of Uzbekistan.
After summing up results of the 2022 admission campaign, universities' employe es responsible for student recruitment and meeting targets face a serious issue: where do we get new leads that we could process during the year and convert into university students in future? This article discusses details of one of these methods in order to use it as an additional marketing channel in future.

Let's start by listing the main sources that educational organizations can use to get personal data/registrations/ leads from applicants:
  • exhibition (offline and online);
  • recommendation (relatives or friends of your applicants);
  • educational consultant, recruitment company;
  • landing page (where advertising traffic goes to);
  • online presentation, open day;
  • incoming appeal (an applicant found contacts and applied to the university by themself).

As a rule, this is a responsibility of a university admission board, international department, or its marketing service.

The source that I consider in this article most likely falls into the area of responsibility of the latter: a university marketing service, PR, or media communications managers.

So, almost all of us use Telegram. Surely, many have seen advertisements in Telegram channels: a forwarded message from the advertised channel; a unique post with information and a link to the channel or to some registration page. Such post gives some coverage, but, as a rule, it is not designed to generate leads (because advertising customers do not provide for this moment). But we are interested in its result. Registration that we could process in future. By processing, I mean a few interactions with a lead, like an email newsletter, a message, a phone call. Because if you give a link to dashboard or instructions in your advertising post, there is, of course, some chance that one of the applicants will follow it, make a decision and start uploading documents, but it is close to zilch. I am sure that the result would be greater if every applicant would be introduced to you reducational organization and its brand as well as became aware of your methods of admission.

Therefore, the main rule when creatingan advertising post should a provision of leads generation instruments (CRM-form, contact details collection form, link to a questionnaire). Also, you should remember that it must be approved by the administrator of the desired Telegram channel. You can try to make a quest that determines the applicant's profession or skills, so that a person who submits an application receives an additional information from you.

Or you can add a link to the post just saying: "an admission officer will help you choose an interesting program and answer your questions about admission." In the end, you should be able to compare the amount of money spent on your ad and the number of applications received, and find out the cost of one lead. Thus, you will understand whether the customer engagement channel is effective or not.

If we talk about design and content features of a post you should keep it clear, short, and visually pleasing.

If you do not provide a registration link, then at least indicate all possible ways to contact you. Or write a text inviting users to visit your channel that already has some posts (5-6 posts pre-selected by you) selling and helping in collecting registrations. You should check all the pinned messages before posting the ad, and keep the most interesting and useful posts. I will give an example of a university's simple information message designed to receive registrations (leads).

We make all posts for the CIS audience in Russian because:

a) we want Russian-speaking applicants to see the information because we would like to increase the number of quota students;
b) we cannot teach those who do not speak Russian (and normally citizens of the CIS countries do not enrol to foundation courses)
c) even if the post itself is in the language of their country, after clicking the links, an applicant will get into a foreign language environment and is unlikely to be able to communicate with us (only if a university employee who speaks their native language will work with them, but again, issues with further admission and training remain relevant).

Let me show you a selection of major education-themed TG channels in Uzbekistan. The table shows their names, direct links, topics, number of subscribers, target audience, number of post views, advertising conditions and, most importantly, a link to TGStat. Compare the data given in the table and think which channel you should use for advertising (or use TGStat and find even more suitable channels for you).

TGStat is the largest catalog of Telegram channels (tgstat.ru). It is convenient because there is division by country (in which the audience uses the messenger more actively) and it has a convenient interface for viewing statistics and analytics of any channel.

The usefulness of this service can be studied on the example of the advertising post made by the Tomsk State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in the channel O'qituvchi (no.1 in the table). I should note that the ad post was ordered not by the university staff, but by their representative (probably, a recruiter) in the Republic of Uzbekistan, because the post itself says this and indicates their contacts. But it's great for the analysis. The very presentation of information s standard for channels: Brief phrases, emojis. In the end, the post offers to contact the staff concerning enrollment or other issues, or to go to their channel. We see that there is no form for collecting registrations (leads) with which we could work further. We only have to hope that the number of views turned into some number of requests (in the screenshot, at the very bottom, ~10.9k). I will also note that the post itself was forwarded 13 times — this is either a forwarding between user accounts (for example, a parent decided to forward it to their child, or a teacher — to a student), or a repost to other channels. Here is a link to this post on TGStat so that you can evaluate the data for yourself

But I should warn you that such channels often delete advertising posts after some time (2-3 days, sometimes more) in order to keep only their main content in the feed.

I am sure that if you find the right channel, choose a prime time for publication, write a good post (in terms of content and design), you will see results. As a result, it will be easy to calculate the average cost of a lead from this source and the success of the advertising campaign itself. The ideal chain of actions is as follows: choose an interesting channel —> study its analytics on TGStats —> create an advertising post and order placement —> tidy up the feed on your channel (if the post is forwarded from there or contains a mention) —> receive views, clicks and registrations —> process them according to your own sales funnel.

I will be grateful if you contact me and share your feedback after trying the method I offered. Good luck with your work!
Nikita Strelchuk is the Director for Academic Relations of Education Export Center. Graduated from one of the leading Russian universities in the field of Management and is specialized in managing projects. His main professional interest is entrepreneurial approach to the work of academic institutions.