Recruiting students is a moving target, and as we move further away from traditional channels and tactics to digital, things are moving even faster. In addition to other digital marketing tactics, lead generation should be part of every education marketer’s and recruiter’s portfolio.

Prospective student leads can be generated through inbound digital advertising, or they can be student names purchased through websites or organizations in the education space. There are a lot of myths surrounding the latter, which I’ll tackle here.

The leads are not high quality. 

“The leads are just warm bodies. They aren’t necessarily interested in the programs at my school or in coming to a school in my location.”

A good lead generation service will deliver high quality, targeted leads. In a digital world it is possible to target students based on their program(s) of interest, their interest in studying in your province, state, country or even city, and much more. So, make sure you are working with a vendor who can deliver the level of targeting you want.

A second myth is that student leads are not CASL (Canada’s anti-spam legislation) compliant. 

“I am not sure if I have permission to communicate with student leads.”

This is a valid concern. The penalties for communicating with students who have not opted-in to your list can be significant. You should ask if the students in the vendor’s database have opted-in and if the vendor is CASL compliant. You should also verify that the leads have opted-in to receive information directly from you.

The leads are too expensive.

“Paying for a lead is too expensive, I have less expensive ways of marketing.”

While there is a cost associated with lead generation, there are some considerations to keep in mind. First, the lead has been qualified, which means they are further down the funnel and closer to applying. This means you are saving the advertising costs and other “top of the funnel” marketing costs such as education fairs and events.

Secondly, when you consider the overall cost to recruit an undergraduate student (which according to a recent survey by Ruffalo Noel Levitz is between $300 and $3,000 per student), the cost for generating a student lead at $.50 to $50 is a bargain.

The leads don’t convert.

 “We may get lots of interest but students don’t end up coming to our school.”

If you are working with a reputable vendor, the issue may be your communication plan. Good quality leads means real students who are making real decisions about where they will go to college or university. If they didn’t choose your school, you have to ask – “what could I have done differently?”

Review your targeting. Then look at your communication plan. Are you responding to a student’s request for information? You would be surprised at how many institutions don’t respond at all! Are you engaging the student and building a relationship? Are you providing them with useful, relevant content? This is a nice segue to my colleague, Lauren Lord’s article on communication plans.

Lead generation is a powerful tool and when executed correctly it can be a very important component in driving your overall student recruitment strategy.

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