Leveraging a Lead: From Inquiry to Application for Your Future Students

August 28, 2023

Leveraging a Lead: From Inquiry to Application for Your Future Students

tag enrollment marketing | higher education
Leveraging a Lead: From Inquiry to Application for Your Future Students

It’s the fall of senior year, and they’ve gotten a late start on their college search. Many of their friends have already applied to a few schools for the early admission deadline in hopes of being admitted to their top choice university. They don’t know where they want to go and think they could fit in anywhere. They’ve heard about a school nearby but can’t remember the name, so they search online for “cool school near me.” Luckily, your student info page comes up, and they begin to read the content. They’re intrigued and submit their information in the “Request for More Information” form. 

Success! You’ve captured their attention for a brief moment in time. But what do you do after? Will they automatically begin an application? What if they really are waiting for more information, or they’ve moved on to another institution? 

Choosing an institution can be a huge undertaking for prospective students. One thing both outside influencers and lead generation strategies have in common is that they are both built on relationships. Building a strong rapport with a lead — in this case, the prospective student — is vital for building trust and increasing the likelihood they will apply to your university. Read below for a few lead generation strategies that can help your university become the place they apply. 

Send an email confirmation.

Once a lead submits their information, it’s best practice to immediately send an email confirmation. This not only assures the lead that they’ve successfully submitted their information, but it also gives an opportunity to thank them for their interest and provide a more customized response than a pop-up.

Follow up with more information.

Don’t ghost your lead early in the relationship. Anywhere from one to three days later, follow up with a customized email that speaks to the lead, addresses them by name, and provides links to programs or areas of study they’ve expressed interest in. 

This is also a great opportunity to offer direct access to an admissions counselor to answer any questions they may have, offer a virtual meeting or tour, or schedule a phone call for a more personalized touch. 

Nurturing is paramount.

Prospective students are looking at everything your institution offers online to get a glimpse into the day-to-day happenings and student-life experiences that occur.

Consider creating a series of emails, blog posts, social media content, or video content highlighting as lead generation strategies. 

  • Unique features of your university
  • Alumni success stories
  • Updates on courses or new developments
  • Recommended readings lists
  • Stories from current students 

Each tactic can focus on specific messaging to keep content unique and fresh versus the same picture or copy recycled across your media mix, causing fatigue and a lack of authenticity. 

Keeping a lead engaged is one of the best tactics in leveraging a lead to move closer to applying. If they can see themselves as a future student, you’re more apt to convert the lead from being merely interested to fully immersed with a desire to be a part of something larger than themselves. 

Invite them to campus.

Throughout your drip campaigns and content, remember to invite your leads to campus. The energy and environment you provide is one of your most unique attributes that can’t be easily translated through emails or social posts. 

Also offer opportunities for the community to visit campus through an open house, a tour, or other events. This will provide potential students an opportunity to truly see themselves on the campus and to interact with current students who can provide a clearer insight into the day-to-day experiences of campus life. 

This chance to connect is powerful and will continue to build a strong relationship with a prospective student, as a sense of belonging plays a large role in lead conversion and future retention.

Streamline the application process.

Although providing fun and engaging content is part of the recipe for success, remember to point back to information regarding the application process throughout your nurture campaigns. It will be easier for a prospective student to apply if they’ve been provided the tools and know the exact information needed to complete their application. 

The application process should be easy to complete with clear instructions, as well as a user-friendly online application. Remember to provide additional support throughout the process. 

The application submission is another great opportunity to connect with prospective students; not only to thank them for their application, but also to provide space for any additional questions they may have about the process. This keeps the relationship strong and removes doubts about the transactional nature related to the application process. Building relationships is key to leveraging a student lead from inquiry to application. By implementing the above steps, you’ll strengthen the trust and rapport your institution has with potential students and leads. The seed of interest might be planted, but it takes nurturing for that interest to grow.