Converting Leads to Enrollment
Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you’re able to change that initial “hello” greeting to a full on “welcome to our university” letter?
Accepting students into your school is an awesome feeling, not just for them, but you too. You could be adding another success story to your track record. At the very least, you have a new student to bring to your program, which is validation in itself.
Getting to this point is the challenge.
It’s easy to strike up conversation with prospective students, but it’s not so easy to get them to convert. That said, there are effective ways to communicate with leads and make the most of your interactions with them.
Below are seven great tips to help you move prospective students through the funnel and change that “hi” to “apply.”
Tip #1: Collect the Right Data
One of the best ways to connect with prospective students is to personalize your interactions with them. But in order to do this, you must know who you are marketing to.
Gathering the right data is the best way to make your communications personalized.
There are several ways that you can collect data about the student. Probably the most common is a mutually beneficial exchange of information.
Here’s how the process works.
In exchange for the prospect’s information, they can download something of value, such as a free campus guide or ebook. When they click on the CTA, they are taken to a landing page with a lead form that captures some of their data. Examples of the data you can collect include:
Once the form is complete, the student is given the green light on downloading their free content.
It’s important to point out that less is more when gathering data, at least at this time. This is one of the first interactions with the student, so you don’t want to come on too strong. Think about what information you need to personalize your interactions and stick to that.
Tip #2: Divide Email Lists into Groups
Once you have a prospective student’s information, it’s time to follow up with them. First impressions are everything. You don’t want to waste an opportunity to highlight your school’s best assets, but you don’t want to come on too strong.
For the most part, your leads only care about the aspects of your program that matter to them. A student interested in your special education program probably isn’t going to care about your science program, and vice versa.
To help with this, build email lists by grouping similar students together. It’s up to you how you want to segment the lists, but try to get them as specific as possible, such as students graduating in 2020 or students interested in biology.
Once you have your email lists in order, build structured workflows around each of the groups.
Tip #3: Let Marketing Automation Help
Marketing automation is your friend. It helps you nurture prospective students down the funnel by providing them with personalized information. The best part is, you don’t have to spend extra time on these interactions. The software does it for you.
To make marketing automation work for you, start by creating workflows, which are automated sets of marketing actions. These actions are triggered based on a certain condition. For example, if a potential student attends a webinar, a workflow can automatically set up a series of related emails for the individual student.
Tip #4: Share Content at the Right Time
Timing is everything.
Your workflows should be timed perfectly, otherwise they could be seen as annoying or intrusive. Think about the prospective student, where they are in the journey and how the information will help them.
If you’re reaching out to students who won’t graduate for a couple of years, they probably aren’t going to be interested in college essay tips. They will, however, be interested in study tips for the SATs.
By being mindful of the details (even the small ones like day of the week and time in the year), you can make your messaging more timely and relevant.
Tip #5: Provide Consistent Educational Materials
It’s common for schools to rush into the application process. They get over-excited and want to jumpstart the process. But for students who aren’t ready to make that decision, a request to apply can be viewed as demanding.
Rather than rushing into this part of the process, focus on educating your prospects. Informational resources keep your leads engaged and won’t scare them away.
For example, if a prospect attended a webinar on your education program, follow up with advice about the program, what schools current students student teach at and more.
Tip #6: Build Real Relationships
Content gets a lot of attention these days, and rightfully so. It’s a great way to keep prospective students engaged and educated. Every piece of content is also another item with your stamp on it. But don’t let content replace the value in real relationships.
If you hide behind your content, prospective students won’t get a chance to meet the real you. In other words, make sure that your school has real people available to talk.
Prospects need to feel comfortable when it’s time to ask questions, attend a campus tour or inquire about financial aid. If you’re always pointing prospects to your content and not establishing real relationships, you’re more likely to lose them in the funnel.
Don’t forget that there is value in other connections as well. You can ask alumni, current students and even professors to be available to answer questions about coursework and campus life.
Tip #7: Ask for Updated Information
As you nurture leads through the funnel, don’t forget to continue collecting more information. Students change all the time, and you want to keep your materials accurate and relevant. A high school junior who filled out a contact form and is now a senior may have changed their major and their start date, which will influence the content you send to them.
The easiest way to keep up-to-date is to build follow-up information into your forms. Ask if any of your contact’s information has changed and explain that your goal is to provide them with helpful content related to their needs.
When to Pop the Question
So when do you ask a student to “Apply Now?”
Once you have provided them with enough information about your program and have established a good rapport, you can go ahead and request that they fill out an application.
Again, make sure that you are there to answer questions or help them with the process. A real person is invaluable to a prospective student who is on the fence with several other schools.
Also be sure that you follow through with personalized communication served at the right time. By doing this, you’ll make it hard for students to turn you down.