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Want More Education Leads? Discover THIS Proven Process To Getting Them.

December 30th, 2012 by Wade Schlosser on Education Marketing, Online Lead Generation 0 Comments

If you were to sit down for a moment and complete an inventory of what’s important to you and your business, high quality education leads would probably be at the top of your list.

As The Harvard Extension School notes, “There has ever been a more interesting time to study the higher education market.”

The truth is that the combination of new programs…the advent of new ways of distributing educational content…and the demand for accountability and transparency from institutions, has created a dramatically changed landscape for institutions of higher education.

If you’re looking for answers to tough questions about where your marketing dollars are best spent in 2013, you must read this article.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Procuring High Quality Education Leads This Year.

Whether you realize it or not, it’s in your best interest to invest more of your marketing budget online in 2013.

The for profit and non-profit universities that are attracting and retaining the highest amount of students, are the one who are currently utilizing online marketing to it’s highest potential.

Below I’ve listed three of the top reasons you should focus on online marketing in 2013.

  1. Prospective students don’t respond to traditional marketing methods.  The demise of traditional marketing methods is to be expected as the Internet begins to occupy the high point for advertising spending.  According to a study done by CUnet, for the year 2012, 84% of schools aren’t able to meet enrollment goals using traditional means like print advertising and direct mail. Up until the past few years, the model for recruiting students had remained largely unchanged. Whether it was billboards, direct mail promo pieces, space ads in local publications, or some variant thereof, marketing was limited in scope by both geography and print visibility. Now, 74% of schools are targeting new geographic areas for increased enrollment.  The need for increased enrollment has forced schools to adopt new marketing models like the ones contained within a robust Internet marketing campaign. In addition, students are much more open minded and more “mobile,” with geography rarely proving an obstacle for enrollment (especially with the rise of online programs).
  2. Online marketing will continue to grow.  According to the same survey conducted by CUnet, of the 700 schools surveyed…42% didn’t have online programs in place to seek new enrollment.  This means that roughly have of all higher educations institutions aren’t using the Internet to pull in more education leads. What’s even more surprising is a growing number of schools do offer online courses and online programs. Yet they still don’t use the Internet to market to segments of the population that are already using the Internet to find and attend school. The takeaway point here is that if you’re offering classes or programs that can be delivered in a certain medium, then correspondingly that medium should be utilized for it’s marketing methods. Bottom line, there are still a substantial amount of institutions who aren’t using online marketing methods to pursue education leads…which means there is tremendousroom for growth in this portal.Though the Internet isn’t the wild-west that it used to be, it’s evident that many of your competitors are still side stepping what is a proven channel to invest in.

  3. There’s a wealth of resources to help bring you success.  Understandably your main concern is the acquisition and retention of qualified students.  While all of this is attainable using online marketing methods, securing viable education leads using in-house staff or your existing marketing team might not be feasible. Fortunately for you there are a numerous resources you can rely on to run a high functioning lead acquisition program. It’s estimated that in 2013, 42% of schools and institutions that are using online marketing to acquire new education leads will be relying on third party inquiry management services to find leads. Utilizing the expertise of these companies is a great way for you to move confidently into the online marketing space. Look to lead generation agencies and lead generation specialists to help maximize your ROI.Be sure they’ve proven themselves experts with methodologies like Social Media, E-mail marketing, Display marketing, etc. before you work with them exclusively.

Do You Know Exactly What You Need To Focus On To Increase The Quality And Quantity Of Your Education Leads?

The list of what’s  “necessary” to run an efficient online marketing program runs the gamut. Here’s a list of what can safely be listed as the most important areas in which to invest.

  • Invest in Social Media – Spending money on social media is perhaps one of the best methods for receiving the kind of traffic that you need to get.  One of the best reasons to focus on social media marketing is because it allows you to target by the exact demographic you’d like to pursue. According to edudirectresponse though social media marketing can be expensive, it’s well worth the premium price, especially when you’re focusing on highly responsive demographics. The best social media platform to consider is Facebook. Though it happens to be the most expensive it is largest platform you can market from and provides the highest ROI.
  • Focus on search marketing - Search marketing is consistently the best converting traffic source. Why?Because people who are searching for the product that you offer (higher education) are typically in buying mode when they go to the search bar. They’re searching for information about a purchase that they’re going to make. As a matter of fact it’s estimated that most all high-valued purchases are researched before being bought with 80% of consumers surveyed admitting they research on the Internet before they buy a product or service.This means that you’re website should be set up so that individuals searching for what you offer can find you with a few clicks of the button.It also means that you should use paid search advertising to drive traffic to your websiteUsing Facebook and Google Adwords ads in limited batches you can fine tune your paid ad groups based on geography and demographic in order to  get the best organic search results without overspending for them.Also focus on content marketing.According to an article written by copyblogger.com about content marketing, online marketing is driven by content. If you’re spending money on paid search but don’t have good content/copywritting for visitors to absorb once they reach your site, you’ll lose the lead in the blink of an eye.
  • Optimize your website – Investing in your website should be one of the first things you tackle. Your website must be optimized to convert traffic into customers. If for any reason you have a high bounce rate (visitors who don’t stick around your website for long) then it’s likely you need to tweak it.Though it goes without saying, your website should also be visually appealing and should have clear, and actionable tasks for visitors to follow.It’s imperative that clear calls to action are displayed on your website.An old marketing adage notes that when you ask someone to do something they might do it. But when you tell them to do something, they most likely will.Instruct visitors to request information. Tell them to fill out forms so they can find out more.  These “tasks” are essential to generating high quality education leads.Ensure that the copy on your website is engineered to get an emotional response, and continue to run A/B split tests on your different landing pages to see what copy converts best.
  • Invest in “newer” marketing methods - Probably some of the best advice you can put into implementation. With online marketing it pays to be an early adapter. Take for example that fact that mobile marketing has doubled year over year, and yet most educational institutions haven’t adopted it as one of their marketing methods.  There is an audience that responds to mobile marketing, and you can be sure to glean a stable stream of education leads from this vast sea of mobile users. Schools need to make sure that there marketing budgets are spent effectively, so it goes without saying that newer marketing methods constantly need to be tested and scaled. There’s a need for an increased lead volume for educational institutions.  So it’s important that you cast a broader net if you’re attempting to attract a more diverse geographical audience. Being able to tap into the newer platforms for marketing will prove successful as the higher education market continues on in a state of flux.

    Higher Education In The Future. 
    As you can see, the future of higher education enrollment is dependent largely on an institution’s ability to transition towards online marketing as a means for educational lead acquisition. Institutions that fail to adapt will see dwindling enrollments, will struggle to attract qualified students, and will see retention rates drop.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Do you feel like online marketing is essential for growth in the coming years? Why or why not?

We appreciate the opportunity to join in on the conversation and look forward to discussing the impact of online marketing on educational

 

I'm the CEO of Forward Leap Marketing. I love creating and contributing to companies' strategies to invoke raving fan customers that ultimately drive significant bottom line results through targeted web traffic, value-added partnerships, and must have products. Please connect with me on Twitter, Google +, and Linkedin.

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