China’s online education market in 2019 reached 31, 48 billion US$, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan, and it will be worth US$ 100 Billion by 2026. Online education is an inevitable and revolutionary tendency of education, which is expected to overwhelm the traditional methods of teaching and learning. Among online education, English tutoring is the top concern for Chinese people. The online English-tutoring market hit $8 billion in 2019, according to iResearch, a research group focusing on the Chinese internet. In 2020 almost 8 million students studied English online.
DingTalk, a messaging app for small and medium enterprises business developed by Alibaba has been installed 1. 1 billion times in China due to Covid-19, and it is being used extensively by schools and students. Approximately 220 Million Chinese students were at home during the Lunar New Year holiday because of the current epidemic. This pandemic offers an enormous opportunity for the companies operating in the online education space.
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Education is the top priority in Chinese families
Education technology is such a big business in China because families are willing to invest more than a third of their income into their children’s education, according to Dr. Zhang Weining, an associate professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.
English speaking ability is a major focus of Chinese education, as it is seen as important in the job market and for future business opportunities. However, quality English teachers are difficult to find in China, particularly outside big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and lessons in brick-and-mortar schools can be expensive.
Even though the demand for high-quality education, especially for English education is large, and it’s the stimulus to be involved in this industry, quality English teachers are in short supply in China. In a nutshell, all Chinese people that want to improve their English need excellent teachers suited for them.
Learning English: Key point in Chinese Kids Education
As well as knowing what Chinese people are looking for from education, it is essential to improve your education business to meet the requirements.
There is a big emphasis on English learning. English is now compulsory in all schools in China, which has generated the increase of further private English schools and classes. It has also acted as a conduit for the connection with native-speaking schools, establishments, and courses. The English tutoring business, both online and in terms of face-to-face lessons is currently in vogue with the Chinese looking to ‘top-up’ their English skills.
Since Chinese people tend to study abroad in order to find better jobs, English language learning became a priority, especially in the first-tier cities of China.
How to promote your Online Education Business in China?
1. Set-up a Beautiful Website in Chinese
When addressing Chinese people, a quality mandarin version of your website is necessary. Having a mandarin website allows you to optimize your SEO on Baidu, the Chinese most used search engine. For a better SEO and faster loading, your website needs to be hosted on a Chinese server (.cn). The website also needs to be optimized for Mandarin character searches, it should include QR links to your WeChat page, and it should have an eccentric layout.
All websites in China need to be optimized for mobiles as the vast majority of online users browse on their smartphones. There are now 926 million smartphone users in China. Mobile content can also be optimized for WeChat, China’s largest social network.
Most importantly, content in Chinese for the website page is necessary because netizens are accustomed to reading in Mandarin.
2. Build the Reputation of your School: It is Valued by Chinese Parents & Students
In China, there are 900 million circa netizens online. Chinese society has embraced the digital world with a fervor that you can rarely find anywhere else. Users are spending on average 3 hours per day browsing content online and research extensively for abroad education opportunities.
Thus, building an e-reputation for your education business is the first thing you should care about. The good e-reputation will bring many clients without too much effort. If you want that a Chinese user chooses you over your competitors, you have to be present on the Chinese platforms, you have to create a good image for your education business.
3. Rank your School Website on Baidu with SEO & SEA
As mentioned above, e-reputation is the key to have success for your business. SEO will help you for a better reputation.
Working on a SEO strategy is quite effective. China’s Google is Baidu, a giant that presides over 70% of the search engine market. It is thus vital to increase the ranking of your school on this platform.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy that works to rank a school’s official website in the natural search results over time. This is where the highest quality students’ prospects are found. Parents (often the decision-makers) will extensively browse through Baidu results based on keyword searches.
GMA worked with Wellington International College Shanghai to establish a strong SEO Campaign.
In Fact, Founded in 1853, the college represents a living memorial to the Duke of Wellington, which sought to deliver an inspirational education for all of its pupils. Actually, Wellington is on the 1st page with some keywords.
4. Engage with Chinese students on Social Media
It is important to know that Chinese students are “addicted” to social media, so it is easier to promote your school on social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo.
Your institution needs to be present on social media with an Official Account. Having an Official Account is essential in China because it gives you authority. China has a history of fraud, so each person is very sensitive to this topic.
When you start to create your Official Account on social media platforms, they will ask you for a lot of information. This information allows the social media platform to confirm that you are the original brand and not an impostor. When you are finally accepted, Chinese users will trust you.
- WeChat can be used to attract clients, send push notifications, have more followers, and redirect users to your website. By selecting the official account, the users can see the last items. The articles in Wechat are presented like newsletters that the users receive. The design must be captivating and well finished. It is better to create a located content, in line with Chinese tastes.
- Weibo offers many services: from traditional social activities, to create micro-blog, send messages, follow brands, Kols and trends, live streaming, and gaming activities. It is a one-to-many platform. On Weibo, you can have more followers than on WeChat. Weibo helps to increase brand awareness and to ensure great visibility. Weibo is also a great tool for being commercial.
5. Forums & Blogs are useful to succeed in the Chinese education business
Like other social media, forums are the perfect place to promote your business and communicate with your followers, replying to questions and giving information. The word of mouth in China has great potential.
Educational forums are popular in China; people use them to research education options and to discuss with other users. Indeed, Chinese people still have a collective mindset and they need to validate their choices with other like-minded prospects.
In addition, they trust more their peers than the schools. The best forums for education are Baidu Tieba, Zhozhui, and QQ.
QQ is primarily an instant messaging platform, but it also offers additional services such as email, games, blogs, and online payments. It is very useful for companies, as it allows creating interest groups thanks to which it is possible to share content, and it offers tools for marketing analysis on page fans. Groups are the best place to advertise your business.
6. Education influencers & Kols are valid allies for your digital marketing strategy in China
Chinese people tend to trust popular or famous influencers, called Kols, more than normal advertising and this is a good way to advertise an education business. Recruiting an influencer to represent your institution allows you to tap into a large base of followers.
Key Opinion Leaders are more effective in China because users tend to be more impressionable, and they highly value the status of such individuals.
An excellent strategy to adopt with Kols is the interview:
- Interview the KOLs and ask them to share their experience about your lessons with the brand’s customers;
- Conversely, it is possible to ask KOLs to interview the company in order to present the brand to their followers and obtain potential new customers and greater visibility.
Do you need help to advertise your online education business? Contact Gma
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is specialized in digital marketing in the Chinese market. Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss any projects in China.