Marketing & Recruitment

ISAP #16 - This May Be THE Dream Job in International Education with Amy Rutherford


Today, I’m bring you a conversation with Amy Rutherford, Director of Education, North America for Education New Zealand. Amy has worked in many areas of the field from sending and receiving students at a university in New Zealand, serving as on-site director for an international program provider, and now working in a government agency in support of international education. She has a fascinating job now and, most importantly, she shares why we all need to put New Zealand at the top of our study abroad/travel bucket lists (as if we needed convincing).




Today’s episode is sponsored by Education New Zealand. New Zealand is one of those elusive destinations for me, but it’s at the top of my bucket list for sure. it’s lovingly referred the government agency responsible for promoting international education. Here’s a fun fact: New Zealand is the only country with all of its universities counted among the top 500 in the world in the QS World Rankings. And it welcomes around 125,000 international students every single year. You can learn more about this small (but mighty destination) and their high quality study opportunities at


  • How Amy’s international education story began even before she was born
  • How she found herself work in international education
  • What are some of the biggest challenges she’s had to overcome as an IE professional
  • What it was like to be the site director for a program during a massive emergency situation
  • What Amy thinks are some of the biggest opportunities in IE right now
  • What is Education New Zealand and how they’ve revolutionized how governmental organizations approach international student recruitment and marketing
  • How study abroad offices can utilize ENZ tactics in their offices
  • Why New Zealand is the best study abroad option out there! ;)


The What and How of Email Marketing


According to email marketing reports, 247 billion emails are sent every day and 91% of consumers will check their email at least once every day. In a world of emails, the audience is expected to grow from 2.42 billion to 2.7 billion, businesses need to understand and implement an email marketing plan to ensure a successful company. Just sending emails to a large group of people is not going to work either. A business needs to send out something that attracts attention and focus but that is simplistic and interactive. This email is most often the first interaction they will have with the company and it better be a positive one.

Why does your Business Need to do Email Marketing?

In this flattening globe, businesses need to find ways to market their product to a large clientele while not spending more than needed. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the word out to a large audience and at a relatively low cost. Let’s start out with discussing specifics.

Virtual Word of Mouth. Emailing will keep your customers informed about the company and will help to establish a relationship with them. This builds a form of trust and increases your brand awareness. This only works if you create an email marketing plan that is interesting and informative without being over complicated.

Larger Presence. This form of marketing also creates larger traffic to your site and/or attendance at your events. This gives you the ability to send out emails to a large audience with less effort than other forms of marketing. When sending out information on a large scale make sure you are taking into account the audience so that you can cater to their demographic and get a larger response rate.

Low Cost with Higher Response Rate.  72% of marketers believe that the ROI of email marketing is very good and on average the return on investment is $44.25 for every dollar spent (  Email marketing enables you to get information about your company and events to a larger audience and at a lower cost and, in-turn, a larger turnout.

Compiling Demographic Information the Easy Way. When people sign up to receiving your newsletter or other listservs, they are often required to fill out simple demographic information. To understand your consumers you need to know the demographics of those in your target market. If you are focusing on high school students interested in study abroad, that information is vital to knowing how to market to that niche.


Types of Emails

It is important to not only create a connection with them, but to give  them a reason to stay connected to your company.

Welcome or New Arrival Email. This needs to be as simple and direct as possible. You are acknowledging the consumer and creating the initial contact with them but you do not want to overwhelm them with information. Remember that about 64% of your consumers will read this email on their phone so you will need to be as simple and easy-to-read as possible.  (

Newsletters. These announce upcoming international fairs or events, small history lessons about the company, a student alum biography, specific news that surrounds the company or the field, services or products, scholarship information, and any other bite sized information your audience may need or want to know. These should go out once a month, at minimum. This could be argued as being the most important form of email marketing as this keeps your audience  informed and up-to-date.

Event or Celebration Emails. These are going to be holiday or event emails that attract attention and often will remind them of your company. These increase sales since these usually will included some form of discount or coupon but also are small reminders that your company is still there.


How to build your email database

As you can see it is essential for a business to have email marketing, but how do you get the emails?

Social Media. With so many people on social media this is one of the best ways to connect with those interested in your product. Each social media platform has different opportunities  to have people to sign up. You must be willing to research various platforms in order to  create an effective sign-up plan for each.

For example, Facebook allows you to create a tab to focus on sign-ups for more information or newsletters. When using any form of social media you have to remember to engage them and use gentle reminders on how they can benefit from signing up. (

Use your blog or website. Create a page where readers can register for more information. Also majority of sites have an option that allows you to create a popup screen that allows the reader to sign up for more information. This is an easy to way to utilize something you already have in place and get people who are already slightly interested.

Events. When you are having any form of event, make sure you have sign-up sheets that allow your target audience to put their name down for more information. This is an easy way to gain new contacts that you might not have gotten in other mediums.

Cross Promotion: Working with Universities or other companies that produce a similar product or service will help to get an email base started. Networking gets your name known with their company but will also allow you to piggyback on their email database.Holding an online contest could help to get a larger email listing as well by having a giveaway or sweepstakes. Contests will always get you emails if the end result is someone winning some sort of prize.


You Have Your Database, Now What?

Now that you have thousands of emails, what will you do with them and what kind of emails will you send?

Find the best marketing platform that fits your needs. There are many platforms out there and a majority of them have a free trial you can utilize. A good place to start is a reviewer site like  They have a large list of web-based software that users and business have reviewed. Some suggested platforms would be Constant Contact, MailChimp and iContact. All have a free trial opportunity that will allow you to get a feel of their service and find the best fit.

HTML or Text? You will have to decide between HTML and Text when sending out email marketing. HTML tends to be more creative and eye catching but some carriers may screen them out. Text can usually be easier to use but often will not be as exciting to read.

Learn Photoshop and InDesign. While you have to decide whether to use HTML or Text, it is important to know how to create something that attracts attention and the more self-sufficient you are as an email marketer the easier the process will be.Many email marketing platforms have templates that you can work with but for a super fancy format you will have to create your own.

Subscribe to other newsletters and see what they are producing. Get an idea of what is out there and how they accomplish their tasks. Find out what kind of designs they do and the consistency of receiving their emails.

Figure out what your goals are.  Knowing what goals you want to accomplish with email marketing will help to ensure success. Planning what exactly you are sending to people will get a larger response rate and when your content is relevant your unsubscribing rate will decrease. Sending out emails blindly and not acknowledging who your target market is will ultimately get your emails deleted.


Get started!

Use the emails that you already have and get your newsletter going. The earlier you get started the faster the process will go.

Engage and Excite! 10 Tools to Transform Your Pre-Departure Guide


It’s one of the most important parts of a study abroad program. It can be the difference between students successfully adapting to their new home or losing their marbles in a foreign place.  It’s the pre-departure guide. These guides are all about prepping students for their upcoming international adventure; giving them the information, tools and access to resources that will keep them ahead of the curve when it comes to going abroad.  It’s a well-supported fact that an effective pre-departure guide leads to smoother transitions, better coping strategies, and maximizes the students’ overall experiences while abroad.

But you may be losing your students before you even start. That’s right! They may be checking out before the prep has even started! Really, it’s not that hard to imagine. How many times have you been faced with a long list of PDFs to read and either breezed through them without total comprehension or just blown it off completely? I know I’m guilty! Let’s face it, using only static PDFs in today’s world is like using an abacus instead of the calculator app on your smartphone.

In business-speak, it’s called “onboarding”, but really it’s just the process of educating and guiding people through a new task or platform – in our case, your pre-departure guide! The key is to enhance the user (read: student) experience.  If the pre-departure guide doesn’t seem to capture students’ attention and resonate with them, it’s probably not.

So, in no particular order, here’s 10 tools and tips you can use to make your pre-departure guide REALLY work! 10 ways to kick your pre-departure guide into 2015 and beyond.

1. Video

Never underestimate the effect that short, relevant videos can have on your students! Humans are visual creatures and actually seeing or hearing what you’re talking about will resonate powerfully with program participants.  Discussing perceptions of Americans abroad? Showing funny, but pointed videos like this can underscore your point more than any lecture will.  Do you have videos from previous program participants? Make those a part of your pre-departure guide and student interest will be sparked, guaranteed!

2. Interactive Quizzes

It’s important to establish where each student is throughout the pre-departure process.  Quizzes can help determine where you need more emphasis or information.  Is everyone acing the questions on medical and health? Is the majority of your group confused on credits or course options? These quizzes can be as specific or general as you want, but will hopefully get you some practical information regarding your students’ needs.

3. AppCues

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 5.42.59 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 5.42.59 PM

AppCues lets you create personalized “flows” on your site or application.  You can create step-by-step guides, notifications, and tutorials (all of which are compatible online and on mobile apps) without having to write a single line of code.  This means that you can design, publish, and manage your students’ online experience, enabling them to get the most out of your pre-departure guide and all of its components.  Bonus: it comes with analytical systems that show you how the students are using the site.

COST: $45-450/month

4. Hopscotch



Hopscotch is framework which allows you to make a “tour” of any webpage.  Basically, once you add the Hopscotch CSS and JS files on your page (don’t worry, they have a fantastic tutorial), it allows you to create a tour made up of individualized messages.  It’s a great tool for giving your students step-by-step instructions for anything from assignments to filling out paperwork.

COST: Free

5. WalkMe



WalkMe allows you to make custom, interactive on-screen tutorials (“Walk-Thrus”) which help users complete tasks.  It’s awesome because you don’t need tech experience or knowledge about how to use code to increase the usability of your site. And even if your site changes, the software has a built-in algorithm that lets the Walk-Thru change seamlessly along with your site.

COST: Free to custom price plan

6. Tour My App

Tour My App

Tour My App

With Tour My App, you can engage your students with tools such as “tours”, demos or feature highlights.  All without any coding on your part! These handy tools are all subject to your preferences for look and style, so they match your site to the last detail.  It also comes with an analytical feature so you can tell where your students are getting stuck or if a tour needs to be updated.  Again, this is a great tool for navigating students through your pre-departure guide in a more engaging way!

COST: $24-250/month

7. Nickelled



This is a great support resource for students going through a pre-departure guide.  Basically, guides and tours you create and place throughout the site that allow students to get the most from your site.  In-depth analytics tell you which guides are being used most, how they are being used and if they’re even helping! And it’s easy to set up and integrates effortlessly across all devices and social media platforms.

COST: Pricing available upon request

8. Inline Manual

Inline Manual

Inline Manual

I’m a firm believer in learning by doing. And so are the folks at Inline Manual.  Inline Manual acts as a new layer over your existing website and integrates a bunch of helpful tools to enhance the user’s experience.  You can add walkthroughs to topics which can include text, images, videos or links. You can install “triggers” to help students know when to click “next” or where to fill in an empty field.  And you can create all of this without any code and from a single dashboard.

COST: Free to $59/month

9. Autosend

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 5.40.44 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 5.40.44 PM

One of the most difficult parts of the pre-departure process is making sure students have covered all of the steps necessary to get them out of the country and in their program smoothly.  That means dotting all the “i’s” and crossing all the “t’s”.  Autosend can take some of the burden off of program facilitators by sending personalized emails, texts, or in-app messages to “the right person, at the right time – automatically”.  In a study abroad context, this could be as simple as reminding students to read the next article after finishing one or sending important reminders about deadlines and assignments.

COST: Free (currently in beta)

10. Prezi



Most importantly, don’t feel like you need to spend a lot of money to make an effective and engaging pre-departure guide.  Tools like Prezi allow you to create slick, interesting presentations which all of your students can access, for free! In Prezi, you can directly embed pictures, videos, quizzes, and links to external content, all within one project.

Hopefully, with these tools and tips you can get out there and make a pre-departure guide that’s really going to stick with students and make your advising practices more dynamic and accessible!