Changing the Game: Inbound Marketing for Colleges and Universities

By Jon DelrussoJune 9, 2014

Lead generation for institutions of higher education has seen a shift in the way enrollment practices are conducted.  More schools today are beginning to dip their toe into the world of inbound marketing.  Traditionally, Colleges and Universities reliance on generating student enrollment stemmed from a data submitted web form to be outbound dialed on by their admissions team.  No more is this method the sole practice in delivering prospective students to Colleges and Universities.

There are many factors that have impacted this change in mentality.  Two keys that have led the way include the emergence of the smartphone and the increased scrutiny around outbound dialing compliance regulations in the United States.

There are two ways schools are receiving inbound calls.

1.     The Live Hot Transfer:

There are four main benefits to this campaign type – Increased conversions rates, Minimized compliance risks, Lead exclusivity and 100% contact rate.  The call center where the transfer originates will qualify the prospects interest and eligibility.  This saves valuable time for the admissions staff and has them only speak to qualified prospects with a high intent in enrolling.  Admissions speaks to a prospect in real-time that has opted-in and stated a clear interested in learning more about the institution and its programs.  The admissions representative can have a more meaningful conversation with a qualified prospect instead of addressing concerns around how contact info was obtained.  Cut through the clutter and get to the heart of the call.  Schools will save time and resources by avoiding the cost of working unqualified, uninterested or difficult to contact leads.  The overall moral of the teams is also given a huge lift by having meaningful conversations with truly interested prospects.   The reps will speak to 100% of the transfers leading to an improved ROI.  The transfers are exclusive to the school and not sold multiple times diluting overall quality.  Important to note is that with the advance in technology, the data on each prospect can be seamlessly transferred to the schools admissions representative in real time leading to a smooth transition between both parties.  Together, with comprehensive lead transfer technology the school is provided with the tools necessary to see increased conversion performance.

2.     Mobile Pay Per Call:

Mobile traffic continues to grow at a pace never seen before.  It will equal and according to some experts, overtake desktop traffic in the next 12 to 24 months.  Similar to Live Hot Transfers the contact rate for this campaign type is 100%.  No more will admissions representatives endlessly dial out on data leads hoping to get someone on the phone.  A mobile pay per call campaign will deliver live prospects directly into the school.  Another benefit centers on its exclusivity.  When a prospective student clicks to call into a school for more information you can rest easy that the call is not sold multiple times.  The beauty of this campaign type centers around its true performance based nature.  A billable action usually depends on a time duration threshold.   What that means is if the prospect stays on the phone with the school for X number of seconds the school will agree to pay for that call and deem it billable.  A well-trained admissions team can usually gather all the necessary information needed to qualify the prospects true intent within agreed upon timeframe.  This again will lead to more qualified calls with a tremendous ROI.  Historically conversion rates for this campaign type are 5x’s better than a traditional data lead.  Technology has played a vital role as well.   With the emergence of sophisticated call tracking platforms an advertiser can see real time stats as well as have access to call recordings at their fingertips.  The most pronounced media drivers include Mobile Display, Search, Email and In-Application traffic.  Utilizing the right mobile media strategy to reach the target audience and engage them in meaningful interactions will lead to increased conversion rates.

Today, many schools have changed the way admissions is structured and formed teams around the inbound call.  A good solid structure and process is vital to handling and being successful with this media type.  The obvious benefits are seeing overall conversion rates sore and team moral blossom to an all time high.   The schools that are open to these changes will ultimately benefit in the long run.  The Education landscape remains as competitive as ever.  Finding ways to weed through the clutter and hone in on the truly interested prospects efficiently, is paramount to success on many levels.  Create a small team and test an inbound initiative.  Even if it’s dedicating a single rep to the cause, the benefits will out weigh the costs.

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