The Educated Marketer


The top enrollment-boosting lead generation strategies

by Leah Peters | Jan 11, 2016

 |  college recruitment, inbound marketing


What the most successful higher education marketers do.


Maybe your higher education marketing budget is closer to shoestring than sizable—but that doesn’t mean that you can’t compete with institutions that are able to spend much more on advertising.

Best practices in higher education marketing no longer favor the Goliaths in the field. In a digital age, glossy (and need we remind you, expensive) viewbooks make much less of an impact than, for example, a really great Instagram feed. Nor do millennial students (or, for that matter, their parents!) really want to receive cold calls and direct mail.

That’s bad news for higher education marketers who rely heavily on these techniques—but great news for marketing departments who have big ideas but smaller budgets.


What lead generation strategies look like now

Lead generation strategies in higher education have changed—no longer are they so dependent on expensive advertising. Instead, the strategies most likely to speak to prospective students and their parents are likely to be within reach of your budget.

As industry-leading blog HubSpot put it, the marketing strategy we call inbound marketing methodology “helps level the playing field for marketers with less budget, and more brains.”

Even if you’re lucky to have abundant marketing funds at your disposal, we think your most successful lead generation strategy will take the shape of inbound.

Here are some of the ways you can implement this powerful strategy:

  1. Know your prospective students—and what they’re searching for

Who’s your ideal prospective student—and what are they searching for online? Once you’ve done some market research, create great content around the terms that your ideal students are entering. Don’t forget to create great landing pages and compelling calls-to-action to convert visitors into leads!

2. There's no substitute for great content

Great content can take many forms: it can be a whitepaper, presentation, or an ebook. Your market research will tell you what form is most effective for your target audience. But the key is this: whatever you offer, it’s got to be worth your prospective student’s while—and she’s got to perceive it as worth handing over her personal information for! Think about the kinds of offers you’re willing to exchange your email address for, and be honest with yourself. This powerful lead generation strategy depends on it.

And your generosity will pay off in the form of leads and will pay you back: leads generated through inbound cost more than 60% less than leads generated by traditional advertising!

3. Use Email Cautiously!

No one wants to get bombarded with promotional emails. Be honest—do you? Nope. And if you don’t, they don’t.

It’s important that you use the information your prospects have offered to direct timely and appealing emails to them—spam is not a lead generation strategy! (Or, if it is, we think it’s a pretty bad one.)

  1. Create the Kind of Social Media Buzz No One Can Resist

Starbucks can certainly afford to advertise—a lot—and they do. Still, higher education marketers can learn a thing or two from their social media engagement. By inviting customers to share about their Starbucks experiences through hashtags —Starbucks gets people talking. And that’s the best kind of promotion.

As a higher education lead generation strategy, social media activity is a must. But be careful not to use your social media platforms as bully pulpits. The best thing to do is to invite your constituents to buzz about your institution through the creative use of hashtags. Can you create some buzz around #my[Blank]University on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram? Get people excited. Get people sharing.

The future of higher education marketing lead generation strategies is all about inbound. It’s time to get onboard.

Your college or university can’t afford not to go inbound. Check out our helpful infographic.

Download Our Helpful Infographic

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