I just spent a week in Vancouver at the annual NAFSA conference. I spent a lot of time talking to folks at colleges and universities that are responsible for the international marketing and recruiting strategies for their institutions. I received a lot of feedback as to what works well, what works OK and what does not work well at all.
So, I thought I would share the feedback from the conference and what to look for if your school does decide to go down the path of student lead generation. Here are some good questions to ask if you do decide that is a good strategy for your school:
- Are your leads exclusive, or are they being sent to one, two or many, many other schools?
- Can you Geo-target to specific regions, countries and nationalities?
- Can you provide leads that match up with our school and the programs that we offer? In other words, only send us students that want to get an MBA at our business school and not students that are looking for flight training that we don’t provide.
- How often will I receive the leads? Is it daily, weekly or monthly? Do you have the ability to send them in real time?
- If we are not receiving enough leads, do you have a marketing plan in place to increase the numbers to meet our needs? If so, what is it?
- How do you handle duplicate leads or invalid ones? Do you have an automated process in place to catch the duplicates?
- Do you do any sort of pre-qualifying or screening to validate the leads?
The more “yes” answers you get to the questions above, the higher the quality and better the conversion rate. Another thing to keep in mind is if you are receiving leads from a provider, do you have the staffing and process in place to follow up with the interested students. Make sure you know how many you can handle and manage effectively, otherwise, you are throwing those hard to come by marketing dollars away.
If you ask the right questions and find the right partner, lead gen can be a very effective and cost effective tool for your recruiting tool box. What has your experience been working with lead gen providers? What works well for you?