Reach More. Enroll More.

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It seems like all we hear about is doom and gloom. Rising student expectations, increased competition, the demographic cliff, reduced ROI on ad spending, digital ad fatigue, etc. What makes dominant online universities like SNHU, Liberty, WGU, and GCU so successful? Why are so many universities struggling to grow their programs, and yet other schools are growing and thriving?

Can we all agree that these schools are disruptive organizations in a mature sector? They radically transformed the space, undercutting their competition by creating a whole new customer experience at better prices. And, of course, you could fill a dozen PowerPoints with all the reasons why they’ve succeeded so well. 

One major difference is they deliver immediate, rapid responses, eliminating competition completely. They nurture and persist longer and remain front-of-mind to stretch ROI and drive applications. They execute speed-to-lead and persist longer compared to most other universities. 

We recently researched 100+ non-profit universities offering and advertising an online program or graduate program and measured the following. 

  1. Inquiry response time and persistence with live humans
  2. Nurturing channels and frequency (Cadence)

Key Finding – Slow or No Response — 60% of Schools did not make one attempt

If you can’t engage your leads ASAP, chances are someone else will. Every moment that passes between that initial outreach and your response, their interest starts to wane, or worse your competitor contacts them first. Prospects are going to be eager to work with the school that gets back to them. At the point of inquiry, interest is at an all-time high. It is when buyer motivation, receptivity and intent are at their peak.

Faster response = higher conversion rate.

According to Harvard Business Review, organizations that respond to customers within the first

hour of contact are seven times more likely to convert them to sales. Read that again. Seven times more likely. In other words, you could be losing thousands in tuition revenue due to poor response time.

Fortunately, the payoffs are immense for schools that act. At Education Connex, our advice is

simply to put your speed to lead and persistence rate with real, live humans at the top of your to-do list. In fact, it should be your number one priority. Admissions leaders should prioritize it; presidents, CFOs and marketers should demand it because students demand it.

Our Conclusion 

Opportunities abound for online universities to convert more inquiries without spending more money. There is an incredibly good chance you are missing growth and missing opportunities because your team’s speed to contact is not what it should be. If you’re spending money on any marketing, you’re losing money until you fix this. We can help. 

Since 2008 we have been helping colleges grow enrollment. Call us at 877-434-1828 or email We’re here to help your university succeed.