Five Higher Ed Lead Generation Strategies to Boost Enrollment and Engagement
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5 min read
April 25, 2024

Five Higher Ed Lead Generation Strategies to Boost Enrollment and Engagement

A student writes in a notebook at a desk.
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Thousands of prospective students apply for college each year during the regular decision period in January and February.  While it might seem beneficial to increase your outreach efforts in the weeks leading up to decision months, if you employ higher ed lead generation strategies only during those months, you’re losing out on potential prospective students.

Fewer prospective students means fewer students enroll, which is not something you want for your campus. You need an effective lead generation strategy… here’s why.

Five Effective Higher Ed Lead Generation Strategies

The reality is that higher ed lead generation is a long game. If you can get your campus in front of prospective students often throughout the academic year, you have a better chance of converting prospective students to enrolled students. 

Fortunately, you and your team can implement several strategies throughout the academic year to increase enrollment and student engagement.

Consider adding these five higher ed lead generation strategies to your toolkit. 

1. Identify Your Target Audience 

While it may be tempting to want to reach every prospective student, not all of them will be a great fit for your campus. There are several reasons for this, and one of them could be as simple as your campus not offering the right degree track.

Take some time to brainstorm with your team about who your ideal prospective student is. Then, create ideal student personas for your various degree programs. Consider these important aspects when creating your student personas: demographics, career and professional goals, interests and hobbies and financial status.

Ideal student personas can help inform your higher ed lead generation efforts. Remember to include older adult students in your ideal student personas, especially considering that 1 in 5 adults are returning to college.

2. Create Personalized Outreach Campaigns

Your campus offers various degree programs, and not every student is alike. Each student has a different interest and intended degree track. So, It’s important to understand your prospective students’ interests so that you can better market your campus based on their preferences.

Personalized campaigns are more likely to be read than generic messages. With that in mind, create segmented contact lists for your prospective students. This way, when you have information to share about your nursing program, for example, only those prospective students interested in the nursing program receive the email or text message.

Pro tip: Use Cadence to create better, more personalized outreach campaigns. Cadence easily integrates with your existing tech stack to make personalization easier and more effective. 

3. Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Did you know that 67% of prospective students use search engines as their primary means of researching colleges or universities? This is why 84% of higher education marketing strategies view SEO as part of their higher ed lead generation strategy. 

Creating a content marketing strategy focusing on SEO is an excellent idea for increasing enrollment and engagement. When prospective students Google your campus and its programs, an effective SEO strategy will land your campus on the first page of Google’s results. 

The key to SEO is maintaining a regularly updated blog with relevant keywords relating to your campus and its programs. So, consider creating blog posts that feature the cool things your various degree programs offer as part of your content marketing strategy. 

Pro Tip: Incorporate an AI chatbot into your campus’s website. That way, when a user visits your website to read about a specific degree program, the chatbot is ready to interact with prospective students and collect their contact information.

4. Host Campus Meet-and-Greets

Bringing prospective students to campus, whether in person or virtually, for a meet-and-greet is a great way to boost your lead generation. Meet-and-greet events allow prospective students to learn more about your campus and its programs and experience a “day in the life” of current students.

Plus, when you host a Meet and Greet, your campus has the chance to connect with interested prospective students, learn about their interests, and collect their contact information. This can help you determine which prospective students meet your ideal student persona criteria and can better inform your higher ed lead generation efforts.

Pro Tip: Use Cadence to invite prospective students to register for meet-and-greet events.

5. Use All of Your Available Marketing Channels

The great thing about higher ed lead generation is that you can spread your efforts across various marketing and lead generation channels. 

Remember how we mentioned that most Internet users begin their research about universities with a Google search? That means prospective students are hanging out on your campus’s website, and they likely have questions.

Incorporating a chatbot into your website is an excellent way to reach potential students. With Cadence Chat, you can answer prospective students’ questions in real-time, capture leads 247, and schedule follow-up tasks. Then, with Cadence Text, you can text outreach a step further by following up with collected leads through highly personalized and segmented text campaigns. 

Pro Tip: Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is an effective marketing strategy. PPC advertising can boost awareness of an organization by 80%. With PPC campaigns, you can create landing pages to collect prospective students’ information, like their contact information and their program interests. Then, use Cadence to start SMS texting campaigns to target prospective students.

Elevate Your Higher Ed Lead Generation With Cadence

There’s no doubt about it: your campus depends on higher ed lead generation.  Your campus can’t afford to leave enrollment up to chance. Take the time to plan your higher ed lead generation strategies. The more prospective students your marketing campaigns reach, the greater the chances of higher enrollment numbers.

Ready to learn how Cadence can help you boost your enrollment numbers and keep prospective (and current!) students engaged? Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn more about Cadence.