Different Options to Acquire International Student Leads

With the LeadsCon East conference coming to NY next week, I felt this would be an appropriate topic.  As you know, there are many companies that can provide your school with international student leads.  Leads can come in a variety of packages, pricing options, delivery methods, etc.  Some are exclusive, others are sent to multiple schools.  Some can be Geo-targeted, others are not.  Some are delivered instantaneously others every month or so.  So what is my rule of thumb for finding good quality leads that have a chance of converting and giving you hero status for good use of your budget?  To answer that, let’s dig into the different ways leads are sold.

CPL, or Cost per Lead is the most common way that leads are bought and sold.  How is the CPL determined?  Typically it varies upon how specific that you would like the lead to be as well as how qualified.  If you are looking for international students and you don’t care where they come from, what level of education they have completed, or what programs they are interested in studying, then your CPL would be rather inexpensive.  If, however, you have certain target regions of the world you are looking to recruit from and say, you only want students that are interested in earning an MBA, the cost would obviously be more.  Other factors come into play as well, such as are you looking for exclusive leads, or is it worth a lower price to compete with other schools for the same student.  Do you only want leads that are verified, meaning the accuracy of the information is correct; they have the ability to pay for their education, their English proficiency, etc.

CPA or Cost per Application takes the lead to an application before you ever see the lead, they have been pre-qualified and instead of your staff having to deal with a lead, you pay for each completed application that is filled out and sent to you.  This is a much higher cost than dealing with the leads, however for schools that are not staffed to handle hundreds of leads per month but might be equipped to handle a handful of applicants; this option could be worth the extra expense.

Other methods of lead pricing and packaging include bundling leads into groups and guaranteeing a certain number of leads are delivered on a monthly or annual basis.  The leads are typically generated by having a landing page for your school and driving quality international student traffic to that landing page in an effort to have them request more information.  Once that request is made, the information is sent to you and now is considered a lead.  These leads tend to be of better quality, since they made the conscious effort to share their contact information and educational goals with you.

So what is my rule of thumb for finding good quality leads?  You get what you pay for and what you are willing to spend per lead.  As an example, ten $10.00 leads, could be dollars spent for someone who is not a fit for your institution and has a dozen other schools trying to recruit them as well or can only attend your school with a full scholarship (yikes).  Whereas a one exclusive $100 lead that has expressed interest in your school chose a major that you offer and has been phone verified might be well worth the dollars spent.  Figure out your budget, how many leads you can handle, who your target student is and base your lead generation strategy on that.

What is your rule of thumb for finding good quality leads?


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One Response to Different Options to Acquire International Student Leads

  1. Gillian says:

    Agree that it is really important for institutions to do the numbers. As the old saying goes “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

    It is surprising how many institutions baulk at the prospect of paying for leads, but are happy to pay set large monthly adwords budgets even though they have no idea of their conversion rate and CPL.

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