How warm are your student leads?

4 min read

Julia Sachs

Getting a strong and diverse range of student leads can help your institution grow in ways you never expected.


In any business, a strong range of leads will often determine their success, and an educational institution is no different. Here are some tips on how to improve your student leads, as well as your applicant pool, and how doing so can create meaningful, positive impact at your campus. 


Whether your lead generation or lead nurturing efforts could use some work, now is the time to take a look at where you are in both to determine any gaps that could be filled in your efforts. You should be actively lead generating and lead nurturing year-round to assure a diverse and robust applicant pool. Identifying gaps in your lead generation process will help attract a bigger applicant pool later on, and there are lots of ways to help students feel welcomed to your institution both online and in-person. 


Website Optimization


Your website is most often going to be the first impression that a prospective student gets of your institution when they’re looking at universities to apply to. Regardless of how much online marketing you do, if your website does not have a welcoming and easy to use interface, students are not going to want to learn more about your institution. Take some time working with your web developer to assure that your desktop and mobile websites have a sleek and intuitive user interface, and are easy to navigate. 


Important information should be easy to find, and additional information about specific departments or programs should be easily accessible from your home page. You can use pixels in your website to target students that visit your website on social media in the future as a way to nurture leads. You can also encourage them to share their contact information in a pop up window on your website. This will enable you to keep in touch with them, ask if they have any questions, and help them feel more welcomed to your institution from the start. 


Website content, like blog posts and frequently asked question sections, can help optimize your website for search engines like Google and help students get important questions answered, often before they even know what to ask. Blog content can be invaluable to both your lead generation and lead nurturing process as it helps students easily find the information they need, while each web page helps your Institution rank higher in Google Search, for a wider variety of keywords. 


Your website is likely the only place that students from out of state are going to find information about your school that they need before deciding on whether to apply. Treat your website home page as you would the entrance to your school’s campus, and decide whether the first impression that students are getting is something you can feel proud of. Use your website to convey important information, offer virtual tours, and give key insight into what students can expect when they visit your campus for the first time. 


Social Media for Lead Nurturing


Like we said before, using a pixel on your website can help you continue to reach potential applicants elsewhere. Use social media marketing to advertise to potential students, especially potential students that have visited your website in the past. Once someone visits your website you can continue to target them in online advertising, both through Google and through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Your advertising should draw them back to your website, and grab their attention in a way that speaks to what they want out of a university experience, such as information on the education, sports programs, social scene and other on-campus activities. 


Influencer marketing is often another great lead nurturing tool. On campus, find students that have a strong social media following and ask them to advertise for your school by discussing the on-campus experience and what they love about it. Several years ago Baylor University made headlines when it entered a marketing partnership with a set of influencer twins that were enrolled in the university. The twins were able to give a perspective on student life that the school was otherwise unable to convey online, giving potential students a firsthand connection to what life was like on campus. 


On Campus


On campus lead nurturing may be more difficult to track, as there is no analytics platform that can offer clear data on who is visiting your campus and why. However, that doesn’t mean that on-campus resources should go unattended to. On-campus resources are one of the most effective ways that you can assure interested students are going to submit an application. Make an effort to offer robust on-campus resources like tours and meetings with counselors, information about campus life, and information about specific programs offered through your institution. 


Improving the efficiency of on-campus resources will help prospective students get the access they need to important information. Online, you can use analytics to get data on who your current leads are to help identify gaps in your marketing. Use the data you have access to as a tool for lead generation, and then find ways to market to new demographics whether it be through your website, social media, or on-campus services advertised to local schools in your area. Each element of lead nurturing and lead generation should work together to streamline the student lead process. 

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