Inbound Marketing: Tips to Better Lead Generation
Students have a lot of information pass in front of them, before they make a decision on which college or university to attend. Which is why, getting the right information, in front of the right people, at the right time, is so important to the marketing success of higher education institutions. Here are five simple strategies that higher education can use to get maximum exposure, and get the most out of marketing campaigns:
1. PERSONAS – Consider students that you want to see come to your school. Are you looking for high GPA’s, and high diversity? Come up with a list of attributes for your ideal student base. Well fleshed out personas offer a good foundation, for higher success in attracting the right group of students.
2. TIME IT RIGHT – There is only a short window (between June and November), when students are still just researching and looking at schools. This is the best time to be ramping up on your marketing, so you have a chance to get the most exposure.
3. BE VALUABLE – Offering valuable content on your website or by blogging, is a great way to increase conversions and boost SEO. Show your knowledge, and provide people insight into your culture, programs and other offerings. This information will be used by students and parents to weigh in on the decision they make about what school to go to.
4. BE EASY TO FIND – Your school isn’t the only one trying to capture the attention of prospective students; so are hundred of other schools across the country. Getting ahead of the competition is fairly simple. Give your students multiple avenues in which to find or contact you (website, ads, snail mail, social media) and ensure your website is Search Engine Optimized.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGMENT – Well managed social media accounts can be a valuable asset to your marketing toolbox. Also consider, if you have the budget for it, using social media management tools. They can help you to save time, keep multiple accounts organized, and give you data and insight on what’s working and what’s not.
When formulating your recruitment tactics, do you consider how the process of looking for schools aligns with your marketing strategy? You should! Doing so can help the right message, reach the right people, at the right time, and. ultimately increase enrollment rates.
STEP 1: RESEARCH (July – August)
Over the summer, many students begin their search for schools by looking online, and asking around for recommendations from friends and family. Meanwhile, schools should be spending this time ramping up marketing and making sure their website, social media, blogs and print media are all up to date.
STEP 2: NARROW DOWN (September – November)
In the fall, students are starting to narrow down the list of schools, and scheduling campus tours. Make it easy for them by having a place on the website to schedule visits. Keep in touch with them, answering any questions they may have during this time, and send them information that you think might keep them interested in your school.
STEP 3: SEND APPLICATIONS (October – January)
By now, students have already made their decisions, and started submitting applications to schools. Colleges and universities, in turn, should be following up with and reminding students about any incomplete applications and deadlines, and beginning the review of applications.
STEP 4: ACCEPTANCE & ENROLLMENT (February-April)
Spring is the final decision time for prospective students, after they get their acceptance letters. Meanwhile, schools MUST continue a dialogue with prospective students who have been selected, in order to keep their interest. This can be done through direct mail, email, social media etc.
Higher Ed and Contact Centers Should Work Together
Higher Education has so many different customer facing aspects of the industry (such as admissions, housing, fundraising, financial aid etc.), and institutions have to work hard in order to keep up with all of it. It can be challenging to do so, with a limited budget and staff, and ever increasing competition. Contact centers can help offer Higher Education relief in 4 ways:
1. COST REDUCTION – Lowering operating costs is the number one benefit contact centers can offer. They can give colleges and universities access to new employees, at a much lower cost than it would be to hire internally. It takes away the need to recruit, hire, train, offer benefits, and pay wages to employees – all of this is taken care of by the contact center. Contact centers also usually offer flexible pricing models, so it is easy to find a model that is most cost effective for individual needs.
2. BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE – Contact centers can reduce wait times, and increase overall customer service experience with well-trained staff. Referral and nurturing campaigns can also help to boost enrollment rates, by expanding your marketing reach.
3. 24/7/365 SUPPORT – At the beginning of each semester, or during the open enrollment period,it’s often difficult for Admissions to keep up with the high volume of calls. Contact centers, meanwhile, are easily able to handle fluctuating call volumes, and are capable of taking calls any time of the day. Ultimately, this reduces the number of calls that are lost, and increases convenience to student and parents to reach out when it is best for them.
4. PRE-QUALIFICATION – It’s often hard enough for higher ed institutions to keep up with incoming questions from existing students, let alone reaching out to prospective students. Extend your marketing reach by hiring contact centers who can follow up on leads quickly and gauge their interest. This is process is known as pre-qualification.