The Art of Spending Wisely
Are you getting the lead volume and lead quality you need to grow your online and graduate programs?
With the seismic shifts in the prospect’s journey, increased competition and a variety of potential tools, marketers are planning their futures with greater uncertainty than ever before. Today, the student journey is full of multi-directional wandering as they seek out information, a challenge that is compounded by the fact that much of that information is delivered to users unsolicited. This shapes the student’s journey in profound ways, which, in turn, must dictate how universities approach potential students.
Successful marketers of today and tomorrow recognize that the space in between the beginning (awareness) and the consideration set (desire) is critical, which make both direct response and inbound marketing strategies vital. Unfortunately, just being in the game isn’t enough. Universities need to excel at it, and the ones that do will have an overwhelming competitive advantage.
Fortunately, the right strategy is just beneath our noses. All we need to do is glance down and look for it.
At EducationConnex, we believe there are four things you need to consider before you increase your marketing spend. We like to call it the Art of Spending Wisely. Show me a boss who doesn’t like that?
1. Evaluate Your Existing Digital Media Mix. When it comes to marketing growth, self-awareness is everything. But, let’s be honest, when was the last time you took a good look at your digital media mix? Are you overly invested in awareness media that is difficult to capture and measure and monetize? Have you evaluated lead volume by channel and measured historical averages (preferably 15 months’ worth of data) to identify if a single channel is the source of the short fall?
(And let’s be honest, if you’re not asking these questions you need to call us).
So, just what is a healthy digital media? We believe that 50% of your inquiries should be from organic, inbound inquiries. Not getting that volume? Consider how your CTA’s or your response devices are performing. Are you measuring and tracking inbound calls and Live Chat for original source attribution? What CTA’s are performing well and can you add other CTA’s?
We find universities are losing out on 25% of potential lead volume. 25%! Take care of that alone and you will make significant progress in your marketing. We’re working with our clients inall these areas, but, we believe the major opportunities are found by increasing web traffic & on-page conversion to increase inquiries and applications. And speaking of your website. Do you have optimized web pages? Are they missing Call Me Now (Mobile), Live Chat &a Prominent TFN. This will significantly increase inquiry volume for SEO & PPC. Remember, small changes can make a big difference. By the way, social media is great but make sure you can measure it.
And make sure you customize your submit forms. Your button is critical and needs to be evaluated to ensure it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. What happens when a user submits the form?
The CTA and button text should connect in meaning; the button text is the payoff of the CTA. For example:
CTA: Learn How We Set You Up For Success
Button: Succeed at ______ University
CTA: Request Information
Button: Get Your Info
2. Commit to Driving More Calls, Not Just Clicks. We’ll go on the record as saying we all love that endorphin rush you get when you tally up your click numbers at the end of the month. But, you and I both know, inbound calls are better than digital submissions. And, yes, increased inbound calls +increased digital submissions are even better. Historically, the measurement for media performance and the goal was the digital submission via the RFI (Request for Information) form. However, the model is shifting to creating more web traffic and converting more on-page traffic with response devices, including inbound calls. Response Devices include the following:
• Request For Information Form (RFI)
• Live Chat
• Prominent and unique Toll Free Number
• “Click to Call” (Mobile Devices)
• Abandon Pop-Up (we’ve seen amazing ROI on this small, but mighty device).
• Each device can be measured, sourced and monetized. Look at How We Generated 2,260 applications and increased organic inquiries by 28% monthly check out our recent case study in our resources section
1. Prospects make immediate contact
2. Unique approach that circumvents competition
3. Increased inquires
4. Integration of digital channels
And…most important, it increases enrollment
3. Embrace Mobile Platforms 100%. Let’s be clear, there is a big difference between mobile enabled and truly mobile friendly. The difference is your advantage?The fact is, 50-60% of edu searches are on mobile devices. Consumer behavior has changed; phones are both computing and communication devices dramatically increasing.
In fact, according to Google, 70% of all mobile searches have clicked to call a business and 61% of searchers say the phone is the most important step in the process. Here are some more interesting stats on mobile:
• 51% of emails are opened on a mobile device
• Mobile ad spending is growing 3x faster than non-mobile
• Mobile has surpassed desktop for paid search
• In 2015, 100% of Facebook’s ad revenue growth was in mobile
4. Consider Paid Media Performance. While there is a role for limited outbound marketing, primarily Pay-Per-Click and branded display, the following elements must be present in your paid media in order to be successful:
• Defining qualities must be your unique value proposition and message
• Media must elevate unpaid organic and web traffic
• Media selection is based on historically high CPE performance and measurable return on marketing performance
Bottom line, the days of buying CPL leads are gone. Inquiry to enrollment rates have plummeted. Education marketers must now rely on brand by creating quality content that pulls people toward the university and establishes a relationship based on the student’s journey. A relationship that genuinely answers the student’s most important question: “Why Buy?”
Put it all together and spending wisely begins with an honest evaluation of the strategies you have in place, and even more important, how well you execute those strategies. In the high-stakes game of university enrollment, success is always in the details.
If you need help with the details on the path to converting more leads, call us at 877-434-1828 or email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help your university succeed.