Most corporate marketers are familiar with the concept of lead generation. They spend a lot of time perfecting strategies to engage and capture their target customers—usually through content marketing, email marketing, paid advertisements, and event sponsorships. Higher education marketers do much the same thing to create interest in their schools, but they don’t often think of it as generating leads. They think of it more as recruiting. But embracing a lead gen mindset can be highly beneficial for universities.
Here are 3 reasons higher ed marketers should start thinking like corporate marketers when it comes to lead gen:
#1: Lead gen can help universities connect with potential students and future donors.
The ultimate goal in the higher education industry is to produce successful students and graduates. And lead gen efforts can help universities reach that goal. Through lead generation, universities can connect with individuals who are a good fit for the school—creating customized experiences to match students with programs that complement their interests and talents. Sharing relevant information about your university and its programs can help you stand out among other schools and attract qualified visitors. Consider ramping up your lead gen efforts by encouraging students to request more information about a program your university offers related to an in-demand career.
#2: Lead gen can help universities bring in new and recurring revenue.
In the corporate world, the purpose of generating leads and acquiring their valuable information is to help businesses grow their revenue sources. Similarly, generating higher ed leads can garner new or recurring revenue through student tuition and consistent donations. No matter what business you’re in, revenue is a key sustainability factor. So successfully recruiting students and donors through lead generation efforts is important for universities. Think about generating quality leads by encouraging students to fill out scholarship applications or allowing donors to subscribe to updates about how their donated dollars are being used.
#3: Lead gen can help universities maintain a steady stream of referrals.
Referrals to your university from satisfied students or graduates can be a valuable source of new leads. Happy students and alumni are quick to recommend a great school or program to friends, family members, and associates. And personal recommendations are often more powerful than any targeted marketing efforts you could craft. Keep in mind, referrals are free advertising for your university. Try generating leads through a social media contest or giveaway that rewards people for referring your university to others. Enhance your lead gen mindset with optimized web forms. Universities can elevate their lead gen efforts by using web forms to collect prospect data (think campus visit registrations, applications, and financial aid requests). But the forms are only useful if people fill them out! Make sure you’re setting yourself up to capture qualified student leads by optimizing your web forms. One way to do this is by catering to your mobile visitors through use of simple-select buttons (which convert at 20%), dropdown lists (which convert at 22%), and Social Autofill buttons (which can lift conversions by 189%).
About the Author
Chris Lucas is the vice president of marketing for Formstack. He is passionate about setting the vision for Formstack’s marketing department, as well as discovering new ways to drive web traffic and leads. Follow Chris on Twitter at @chris_c_lucas.