Why “Stale” Leads May Be Your School’s Hidden Asset When it Comes to Student Recruitment
When marketing higher education, everyone loves a new lead. Full of potential. When that fresh lead hits your inbox, there’s no voicemail frustration. No “sorry we missed you” email to send. It’s no wonder Admissions Reps prefer these leads.
But does your student recruitment team neglect the leads that might take a bit more time to engage? If so, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to serve prospects and increase student enrollment at your school.
The Lead Life Cycle
When a lead comes in through your website, you can be reasonably sure, at least in the moment they filled out your web form, that individual was curious about your school. But if you’ve spent even one day in Admissions, you know curiosity doesn’t always translate into a desire to speak to someone at the school.
For eager career explorers who have the necessary support in place, starting school might be a relatively short process. But what about the many folks that don’t follow through so smoothly? The career explorers that have things come up like a move, change of job or a medical issue.
With the challenges of daily life, it’s easier than ever these days to put off anything “extra” – even something potentially positive like a career change.
Do you have a process in place to support leads that take a bit more time? If not – and if you’re interested in strategies to increase college enrollment – you need to keep reading.
What Counts as a “Stale Lead”
Every school’s enrollment timeline process will be a bit different based on the programs offered and other factors. But in general, a lead that contacted your school but did not take any further action can be considered a “stale” lead after 3-4 weeks.
When to Contact “Stale” Leads
We recommend reaching out to “stale” contacts every 3-4 months. Times like the beginning of the new year as well as late summer, when individuals are naturally inclined to be reflective of what’s up next for them, can be excellent times to reach out to your database of older contacts.
How to Re-Engage “Stale” Leads
First and foremost, does your school have a system in place to track all the leads that come in? This can be an automated CRM system or a manual spreadsheet or other system of your own creation. Whatever your process, if you keep a record of leads that come in, you should be able to pull a database of contacts that at one time reached out to your school but did not proceed.
These leads were generated through an expense you already incurred. It costs you nothing but a little bit of time to send an email to these contacts.
Some things to remember when you reach out to “older” leads:
Remind the Reader Who You Are – People are busy. Time has passed. Don’t assume a lead remembers filling out a contact form or inquiring to your school. Early in your email explain who you are and why you’re reaching out. For example: “At one time, you inquired about potentially pursuing career training with us…”
Keep the Tone Light & Conversational – Avoid language that might make the reader feel defensive, like “We haven’t heard from you in a while.” Be friendly, like you’re reaching out to acquaintances who you remember fondly.
Invite Them to Re-Engage with Your School – Give the reader an easy way to move forward with your school, for example, a link to schedule a chat with Admissions or to register for an online open house.
AVOID IT: The #1 Obstacle to Increasing Student Enrollment Through a Lead Recovery Campaign
Lead Recovery Campaigns are an almost no-cost way to potentially re-ignite “stale” leads and turn potential prospects into successfully enrolled students in a way that takes nothing from your marketing budget. So, why do so few schools do it?
Schools don’t follow through on Lead Recovery Campaigns for the same reason many prospects don’t follow through on a school interview. They’re busy. They don’t have the space to take on one more thing.
Just like you’ve no doubt seen the positive outcome when a prospect manages to take an hour or two to focus on their future and sit down with your school, an hour or two investment in a stale lead campaign could have a major payoff for your next enrollment.