Lead generation strategies

Generate more student leads with top of the funnel marketing

Pernilla Carlström

Pernilla Carlström

CEO

January 24, 2021 · 4 min read

“Conversion from traffic-to-lead is too low”.

“They don’t convert to paying students as fast as I’d like them to.” 

These are a couple of phrases we hear a lot.

Nearly every school we speak to has student lead generation and nurturing on the agenda. Many have a hungry sales team that need to be constantly fed new leads, too.

If this sounds familiar, read on to find out how you can boost the conversion of student traffic-to-lead. And get prospective leads to convert to paying students quicker.

Understanding the Decision Making Funnel

To improve your lead generation process, you need to start with understanding the user. A great way to tackle this is to explore the theory behind the ‘Decision Making Funnel’.

Making a life-changing decision about which programme or school to join can be a lengthy process - or a very swift one. Different factors influence users and each student user journey is unique.

Looking at the funnel can help you visualise the different stages of a user’s decision-making process.

The funnel represents where a student is in their journey. In the beginning, they're unaware of your school or programmes. As they become more informed about what to study and where - they move down the funnel.

At each stage of the funnel, the student will need specific communication types that fit their intention and state of mind.

Bear in mind, though. Not all users follow a linear funnel. They might show up on the radar as ‘engaged’ right away or linger in the awareness phase for a long time without moving any further.

So, how does this help you?

"My conversion from traffic to lead is too low" 

Say you’re reaching prospective students who are browsing for information on Google or social media. ‘Sign up’, ‘Fill in the Form’, or ‘Register’ isn't the best tactic to use right now.

Why? It’s likely the first point of contact a user has with your brand. So, you need to offer an incentive that caters to their particular state of mind. Otherwise, you could turn off or scare away great prospects.

You might also end up clogging your funnel with people who are prematurely engaged. Who will eventually fall off further down the funnel anyway.

Solution: The right lead capture incentives for each stage of the funnel

You're probably engaging your leads in a variety of ways. From subscribing to a newsletter to attending a webinar to downloading a brochure. But how are you capturing leads in the ‘Awareness’ stage?

Say a user is browsing their Facebook feed on their smartphone and sees your ad. They’re completely unaware that you even existed up until this point. 

Now, the user takes an interest in your ad and clicks. They're then directed to a dedicated landing page. Where they’re asked for contact information in exchange for a PDF brochure.

But wait. You’re asking a user to go from being completely unaware of your school to feeling excited enough to download a brochure. After seeing just one ad? 

Sharing personal details at this stage is too much commitment for a prospective student lead. 

So, how do you capture lead information early in the funnel? Give them a low commitment, high-value offer. 

A lead in the ‘Awareness’ stage is not ready to commit to too much, just yet. The user needs more proof of you. But at a low enough cost to make it worth their time to do some more research.

What does a high-value, low (commitment) cost offer look like? Well, this quiz promises you that in only 4 minutes you'll learn whether or not the programme and university are worth investigating further.

"Leads are not converting to paying students (fast enough)"

Not all captured leads are viable or qualified as a sales-ready prospect. When you’re generating traffic to your website through paid social (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora etc.) or search engines (Google ads, Display etc.), you’ll generate a lot of interest among users who are early in their decision making.

You don’t want to lose great prospects by asking how strong is their intent to study too early on. And you don’t want to clog up your sales team with leads who aren’t interested in the nearest intake.

Solution? Capture data points and qualify the lead directly

Putting the lead through a qualification process is a smart solution. This way, you can determine if they're a marketing or sales-ready lead, or if the prospect needs further nurturing. 

You can increase your sales team efficiency by sending through just the qualified leads ready to start studying now. While the ‘colder’ leads can be kept warm in an email nurturing flow for a later intake.

To qualify student leads effectively, you’ll need to capture information such as:

  • Which intake they're interested in
  • If they've taken an English language test
  • Their education background and when they'll graduate
  • When they'd like to be contacted by an advisor

Curious to learn how this can fit in with your student lead generation process? Get in touch.

Funnel

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