Lead Generation for Higher Education is very much a strategic inbound process.
Why inbound? Just think about how most students find the college they want to go to. When Junior's in high school are starting to think about where they want to go next - their first step is to start researching schools online. Maybe they want to stay local, or go out of state, maybe they already have a major in mind, or maybe they don’t. A lot of information passes in front of these students before they embark on their journey to find the perfect college. That’s why its so important to be able to get the right information, in front of the right people, at the right time (ie. the students that you want to attract to your college). There are a few simple strategies that you can include within your marketing tactics to ensure that you get the maximum exposure, and get the most out of your campaigns.
What kind of students do you want to attract to your school? Do you want those with higher GPAs? What about students who are interested in participating in sports or other extracurricular activities? Do you want a high rate of diversity? The answers to these questions describe the students that you would like to attract to your school, and are essential in defining your personas - or your specific targeting audience. Having well fleshed out personas will help you be more successful in attracting the right group of students to your school.
2. TIME IT RIGHT
There is a small window of time when students are still just looking at and researching schools. This window usually spans for about four months from June through September. This window is when you should be looking to ramp up your marketing, so that you have the opportunity to get the most exposure as possible. The easiest way to make sure you meet this deadline is to work on creating a reverse timeline. Starting with your launch date (say May 31st), build a to-do list of what you need to do up until that time to get your campaigns out during peak season.
3. BE VALUABLE
Blogging is a great way to increase SEO, be seen, and offer valuable content that helps to push conversion. By providing insight into your school, its culture, programs and offerings, you are influencing the decisions of potential students. The more information you can provide, the better. Although content creation can be time consuming - it will help you get the biggest boost in SEO.
4. BE EASY TO FIND
You are not going to be the only institution trying to catch the attention of the thousands of students looking to attend college every year. So how do you gain your competitive edge? Well, its pretty simple, the easier you are to find, the more leads you will get. You don’t want prospective students to have to jump through hurdles to try and find information on your school. Make sure that there are multiple avenues in which prospective students can find or reach out to you, through ads, your website and more than one social media platform. Also, ensuring that your website is up-to-date and Search Engine Optimized will help move your school up to the first few pages on Google, and therefore, in front of more eyes of students and parents.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Smartly managed social media can be a valuable asset to your marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to use scheduling and management tools (like Hubspot or Hootsuite) to save time and help you keep your multiple accounts organized. Just be sure to use the tools while keeping some diversity across each platform. The reason being, each platform has an audience that is more likely to use it. For example, students are more active Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat than parents, who will more likely go to Facebook or Linkedin.