Lead Nurturing for Higher Education: Best Practices

mortar board & diploma on white

The recruitment efforts at higher education institutions are naturally and rightfully following the trends and best practices generally acknowledged by marketing and sales specialists across a wide assortment of various fields. Strategic hybrids of methodology and technology have inspired an uptick in the extent to which recruitment professionals in higher education are using marketing automation and customer resource management tools to bolster enrollment.

The various best practices that are showing themselves to be productive and beneficial from a recruitment perspective are many and diverse.

Automate Your Efforts

Marketing automation is a strategy often associated and aligned with a variety of software platforms that aim to aid in the process of developing leads at the top part of your funnel. Effective marketing automation tools will work across multiple marketing channels such as email, SMS, social media, and websites. These distinct channels are best optimized when leads are segmented and communications with each audience segment are tailored to the characteristics of the various relevant audiences.

The lead nurturing process itself is improved by leveraging marketing automation best practices. You can save incredible amounts of time by automating email responses to individuals who download digital materials and creating pre-scheduled email sequences far in advance.

Drip campaigns are another type of automated marketing effort that provides a predictable means of marketing automation and lead maturation. After a prospect takes an action to request information about your institution, your marketing automation software should automatically enter that prospect into a scheduled communication strategy that may include email, phone calls, SMS messaging, and other poignant calls to action.

The desired outcome of a drip communication effort is to mature leads and sort out contacts with greater or lesser interest in your school.

Coordinate Content With a Calendar

Traditional social media and video creation and aggregation platforms such as YouTube and email marketing efforts alike all require a coherent content strategy. The best way to coordinate, plan, and deploy content effectively in the marketing and lead maturation process is through the use of a content calendar.

A content calendar provides a specifically planned content schedule that delineates what content will go out when and on which platform. The overall goal when employing a content calendar as part of your inbound marketing strategy is to encourage coordination and cohesion in your content marketing efforts.

You might have an email released on a Monday that details a new student orientation event scheduled in the upcoming weeks, and then follow up in the proceeding days with social media posts with calls to action back to a website blog post detailing the specifics of the upcoming event.

Linking Up on LinkedIn

Sales and marketing professionals are encouraged, in any industry, to take advantage of and to be aware of the successes enjoyed by their peers. Marketing professionals in the higher education industry are wise to consider it a must to follow their peers from other schools on professional sites like LinkedIn.

Genuinely, nobody wants to follow; leadership is the goal. That said, it is going to be difficult to ever assume a leadership position in the effort of recruiting students for your institution if you are unaware of the successes enjoyed by your peers at other schools. You’ll be wise to model and build upon the breakthroughs enjoyed by your competitors.

LinkedIn is an excellent place to publish and discover content that can act as top-of-funnel lead capture material. Prospective students will likely be perusing content from universities on their short list when looking into the alumni of the various schools they’re considering attending. If you have compelling content about your school’s distinguishing characteristics, you’ll be in an ideal position to attract prospects into the top of your lead funnel.

Best Practices for Optimal Enrollment Conversion Rates

Modern marketing and sales professionals in the education industry are tasked with the challenge of attempting to garner new student enrollments using the plethora of online platforms and tools available. The lead maturation process is a strategic endeavor that is absolutely bolstered when marketing executives make it a priority to remain attuned and aware of the best practices employed across the industry.

There’s no mistaking the extensive amount of options available to prospective students considering where to continue their education as young professionals. The way to garner an edge for your institution is to employ consistent and diligent efforts in the lead development and maturation strategies you implement and develop at your institution.

 

About Paul Mosenson

NuSpark Marketing Founder, Chief Lead Generation Strategist and Online Media Director An experienced B2B and B2C marketer, Paul has been helping clients generate leads and grow their businesses for over 25 years. Paul helps plan and optimize marketing and lead generation programs.