Conversion Strategies to Convert Leads to Applications

by jon 21. January 2011 01:45

Successful schools have a conversion strategy for everyone who inquires to their school.  They have another strategy for those who have applied. They even have one for those who have graduated.

 

When developing conversion strategies, the name of the game is segmentation. Those you contact want to know you are speaking specifically to them, and conveying relevant information they need to know. If you do this each time you contact them they will engage.

 

A successful conversion strategy is only as good as the information you collect on each inquiry. You need specific mandatory information on your site registration page to pre-qualify a lead and allow your admissions department to do their jobs. If you are going to ask for additional mandatory information make sure the questions you ask help you to categorize inside your overall conversion strategy.

 

For example you choose to add a drop-down to your site registration page and ask  ‘when do you plan on continuing your education – 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, not at this time’. Those who selected 0-6 months could then either receive a unique auto-email, or follow-up email correspondence that speaks to their immediate interest - all others would receive separate creative.

 

When developing an overall strategy it is helpful to start by breaking out the main clusters of your inquiry life-cycle for example:

 

·         Deferred inquiry (those who will not graduate for 12+ months)

 

·         Workable inquiry (those who are in the position to apply)

 

·         Inquiries who do not set an appointment with the school

 

·         Inquiries who interview but don’t apply

 

·         Inquiries who apply but cancel their application

 

·         Inquiries who applied and were not accepted

 

·         Inquiries who applied and were accepted

 

·         Restarts – (students who did not complete their program)

·         Graduates (<6 months after graduation)

 

·         Alumni (>6 months after graduation)

 

Over segmentation is never good – but the ability to do so is. What I mean by that is you do not want to create too many clusters. You do want the flexibility to be able to know which people belong where so collecting the right information to be able to do this is crucial. If you are not going to use it, don’t collect it.

 

We can break the above student life-cycle stages into 5 main clusters:

 

 1 Those who are interested in attending your school but unable to start

 

2 Those who might be interested in attending your school

 

3 Those who have applied to start

 

4 Those who might be interested in completing their studies

 

5 Those who might be interested in further education

 

Each cluster should have an email conversion cycle developed.

 

For example, those who are interested in attending your school but have yet to graduate need to be nurtured, reminded of their passion, and encouraged to learn more about it at events leading up to their graduation. You could develop events such as ‘Day in the Life...’ sessions where the interested parties come to your school to listen to those in the industry they are interested in speak about what a typical day looks like, the types of positions,  earning potential, etc. You could hold ‘Lunch & Learn’ events that could cover financial planning for your education, etc. Not only would this invite your inquiry inside the front doors of your school, their initial impression of your school would be a positive one as you are helping them in their decision process.

 

Your calls to action are very important on all correspondence and you need to limit them to a primary and secondary call to action to achieve the best results.

 

You need to decide what action you want the inquiry to take. Calls to action can include: pre-qualifying; invitations to visit the school via events; invitations to set an appointment to speak with someone at the school; invitations to invite a friend, etc. Once a call to action is accepted the next in line should be asked until the inquiry has sat down with a school representative and interviewed or decided against your school.

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