Fall 2021 Secret Shopper Results

with Tips for Connecting with Your Leads in a Timely and Effective Manner

Bianuually, we conduct our “Secret Shopper Program”, where we test the timeliness and effectiveness of school’s lead responses. We create different alias accounts and “request info” from over 80 schools and rank them. 

In this guide, we will cover:

» Lead Management Trends

» Responding to Leads: 3 Best Practices

» Fall 2021 Secret Shopper Results

Lead Management Trends

» Email remains the best way for reaching out to your leads, as 87% of prospective students indicate email as their preferred communication method.

» Email gives you the power to segment, build relationships and trust, build your brand, and actively move students through the recruitment cycle.

» Don’t overlook mobile! Up to 60% of email opens are on mobile, especially when it comes to Gen Z. 

Responding to Leads: 3 Best Practices

1. Speed

» Gen Z’s have prioritized speed in communication, with the expectation to be communicated with immediately.

» As students request information from an increasing amount of schools, you want to be at the forefront.

2. Relevance

» Always aim to be relevant and engaging with your communications.

» The best responses are those that feel personalized and unique to each student.

» All communication should serve a purpose — avoid communicating “just for the sake it”.

» EX: Sending a program specific email to a student interested in a particular program.

3. Persistence

» By using personalization and asking questions, you can encourage students to follow up.

» If you try at least 6 times, you have a 93% chance of making contact instead of 39% if you only try to contact them once.

» Be informative and generate interest without being excessive.

Fall 2021 Secret Shopper Results

» We wanted to know how (and if) student enquires are being managed.

» “Julia” is in grade 12, living in Ontario and interested in business, and “Aliya” is in grade 12, living in India and interested in coming to Canada to study a STEM program. They sent requests between Oct. 14-26.

Secret Shopper Results Graph

Responding is critical — time lapse is important too

» The average response time was 7.4 days, shorter than 8.4 days when we conducted the test in January 2021

» 57% of schools responded at least once:

  • Single response time 57% 57%

We scored the responses based on the following criteria:

» Response Time

» Layout

» Content

» Relevance

» Mobile Layout

» CTA / Preheader / Subject Line

» Frequency

Some outstanding examples:

Best Practices:

» Providing relevant information is KEY

» Use of personalization

» Use a strategic Call-to-Action

» Use engaging visuals

» Use a relevant subject line/preheader

» Be mobile friendly

» Offer an unsubscribe option

And the winners are…

1. Yorkville University

2. Ontario Tech University

3. Algoma University

4. Huron University College

5. Cambrian College

6. Western University (SIC)

7. Centennial College

8. George Brown College

9. Tyndale University

10. Vancouver Island University

Next Steps

If you’d like to know how your school ranked or if you’re looking for assistance with your lead responses, don’t hesitate to reach us at info@schoolfindergroup.com