The numbers are staggering. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the total amount of outstanding student debt backed by the federal government now nears $1.2 trillion. Yes, that trillion, with a T. So colossal is the student loan tally that it is second only to home mortgages in terms of consumer debt in the US, notes the CFPB.
Further, the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success estimates that 70 percent of 2012 college graduates left college with a weighty student loan balance that averaged nearly $30,000.
Once those graduates leave the comforts of the ivy-covered walls of college the reality of their debt sinks in and they are likely looking for ways to alleviate that burden. That’s where lead generation firms come into play, bringing together loan-saddled graduates and the loan consolidation specialists that can aid them.
“This is a growing opportunity,” Nicole Matz, marketing account manager at Reven Media in Costa Mesa, California, tells LeadsCon. “And the numbers are growing daily. These grads need assistance in executing a plan toward financial freedom.”
Luckily for lead generation companies, this is an Internet-savvy cohort. To reach them, Matz recommends using free resources, such as social media, blogging and SEO. “We’ve found these channels to be highly effective and engaging.” Paid advertising channels and targeting methods are other avenues she advocates to zero in on those grads interested in student loan consolidation services.
“We also have an in-house team that handles all direct media buys online, manages all our PPC and optimizes our campaigns,” Matz continues. “We have a team of Google-, Yahoo- and Bing-certified specialists as well that do nothing but analyze and optimize our traffic and leads daily. By covering all these bases, we feel we provide a quality final product.”
As with any rapidly growing marketplace, the number of firms looking to obtain student loan consolidation leads is on the rise and expanding beyond just the traditional student loan consolidation outfits. “We are seeing a lot of the same people from the debt consolidation space jumping into student loan consolidation,” Matz says. Tax and loan modification specialists and attorneys are entering the fray as well. “The business is so lucrative that it is attracting people from many different sources.”
Unfortunately, it may also be attracting fraudsters. An article in Marketplace.org cited two lawsuits brought against student loan debt settlement companies, alleging the firms took fees without providing any services.
Therefore, Matz stresses that providers and buyers must pay attention to regulations when prospecting for and purchasing leads in the student loan consolidation space. “The single biggest problem in our industry is deceptive and misleading tactics to generate leads,” she says. “ The industry will survive for those who are compliant and treat the consumer fairly. Integrity means everything in this business.”
Consequently, lead gen firms that focus on compliance are able to provide buyers with a more reliable product. “Highly compliant landing pages lead to higher quality leads and better conversion rates,” Matz says.
At LeadsCon 2014, Matz will be joined by Joe Deal, founder and president of Degree Prospects, LLC, on a panel entitled, “Financial Service Leads for Student Loan Consolidation: Making it a Win-Win for Providers and Customers.” They will discuss best practices, how to source and maintain quality leads and the latest in regulations affecting this business.
This article is brought to you by LeadsCon New York.