As marketing strategies have moved away from affiliate marketing and focused on quality, inbound inquiries with branded search and SEO, the question we’re being asked is speed-to-lead or speed-to-contact still an important element of enrollment conversion?
The importance of speed-to-lead hasn’t changed. According to Harvard Business Review, there is a short life for online leads. You could be losing thousands in tuition revenue due to poor response time.
“Companies that try to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times as likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision makers as firms that try to contact prospects even an hour later. Yet only 37% of companies respond to queries within an hour.” Every minute counts.
How fast is fast enough? According to a Velocify survey, lead conversions are 391 percent higher if you call within a minute of an online inquiry. Waiting an additional minute drops that to 120 percent, and if you wait an hour, it drops to a low 36 percent.
Our perspective is that today, as in the past, immediate response is critical. So, before you tackle anything else, put your lead-to-contact rate at the top of your to-do list.
Mobile Search has changed everything, including the inbound calls generated by mobile search. Mobile accounts for 70 percent of searches and we have seen a dramatic increase in inbound calls with prospects bypassing the inquiry form and calling directly.
This mobile search dynamic is what Google has called “Micro Moments” which is the new battleground for your students. Prospects now demand that you “be there” regardless of when they call and that you be useful with brief, concise information about your programs. You’ve got to be relevant to the prospects needs in the moment and provide the information and answers they’re looking for.
The phone is better than a submission; better conversations drive better conversions. When you boost lead conversion rates and enrollment productivity, everyone wins. You and the prospective student.
- Inbound calls have greater intent and covert at a higher rate. The majority of people don’t enroll or make a major purchase without speaking to a person. Sure, they may apply but for big decisions and major purchases they research and then speak with a person.
- An Inbound call is immediate and allows you to circumvent the competition by speaking directly to prospects who are lower down the funnel and are ready to hear your story, and make a decision about your university; this allows you to take prospects off the market and into your school.
- Prospects feel safer providing personal information in a direct conversation, and phone interactions provide the ideal circumstance to gather the soft data that is often difficult to get through other channels. Customer experience, narrative data, the voice of the customer, and other soft data points provide your organization with crucial insight.
- Phone interaction provides things that online channels do not, including the opportunity to engage on a higher level and guide the interaction based on information like tone of voice, reaction, verbal cues, and response time to build rapport and create a positive and memorable customer experience.
Speed, follow-up tactics, and persistence are important factors in winning and increasing enrollment. We can help.