2012 was a productive year for all of us at Envisage International. The last milestone of the year (we think) is today’s relaunch of Envisage International, our primary corporate site. We spend most of our time working on our student sites, so this update was long overdue. We needed to properly reflect our three primary business units and provide a better overview of what we are all about. Although we will continue to build the site throughout the coming year into a world-class resource for international education professionals, we are glad to take the first step today.
This month we also hired Madelene Glomsten, who has hit the ground running as our new Director of Online Marketing. Madelene will be tasked with ensuring continued traffic growth and enhancing user experience, so she will be working with everyone in the company to make that happen.
Our long time Chinese intern, Morrison Kwong, completed his studies and OPT and returned to China. He will continue to guide our Chinese social media and marketing strategy. Likewise Ross Mason returned to Germany with his family, and he will continue to lead our insurance business from there. We’re lucky to still have them both still working with us, but miss them in the office.
In the insurance world, the new student health plan regulations issued in March under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have had a big impact on student health plans, and the impact on international students is still developing. We have reacted by moving all of our school group business to ACA compliant plans, and by spending a lot of time staying up to speed with all of our underwriters as they react, and by strategizing on plan design for the future. To learn more, please see the latest post on the International Student Insurance News blog.
2012 saw important enhancements to our group and individual insurance products. Our individual Student Secure plan now includes coverage for alcohol and substance abuse and the Atlas Travel plan includes hazardous sports coverage on all policies. We also introduced the new ISL Euro plan for study in Europe, a new student plan for study in Canada, and we’ve added a new ESL group plan with exclusive access to our online enrollment tool. Our tech team made major upgrades this summer to our online enrollment system to keep it as the best in the industry.
We added several major new clients under both our Work and Travel Insurance and International Student Insurance units, swelling our business to its largest size ever. We are very grateful for all of our clients, both those that were new in 2012 as well as those that have been with us for years, and hope to continue to serve you all well into the future.
Our international financial aid sites saw a major facelift in 2012. We relaunched our scholarship sites IEFA.org and InternationalScholarships.com with a new look, advanced search functionality, and even more resources for students! We also rolled out our international student loan comparison tool that connects international and study abroad students with eligible lenders so that they can choose the loan that work best for them.
Online Marketing and Lead Generation
Although our online marketing and lead generation business grew to include 27 featured schools and marketing partners, growth was not the biggest story in 2012. Instead, technology and lead quality is what has us most excited. On the technology side, we built a custom lead delivery engine which allows us to deliver targeted leads in real time to any partner’s system, and all of our clients that have a CRM system are using it to great success. We have been hungry for feedback on lead quality, and although we have had anecdotal evidence from a few partners, we finally received a comprehensive review from a sophisticated lead purchaser. We were delighted to hear that they had a conversion rate on our leads ranging from 5% to 7% depending on the month, and that we were the best of all of the lead partners they work with!
NAFSA Regional Conferences Presentations
As a company, EIC attended a total of eleven NAFSA regional conferences where we exhibited and gave a total of fourteen presentations. We gave presentations at six regions on how to help international students fund their education. We presented at three regions on how to best market your school online and using social media. Other presentations included how to connect with Chinese students online, how to best use interns, and insurance 101 discussing plan administration, group and individual insurance options, and the recent impact of the ACA. It was an exhausting fall schedule, but we loved it! It was great seeing all the familiar faces – and new ones too. We look forward to seeing you again in 2013.
* 2012 Beach Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock