The education sector gets more and more competitive with each passing year, while parents’ expectations for the application and enrollment process continue to rise.
Yet you still need to bring in new students each semester. And to do so, you need to constantly be generating leads.
To help you compete in an increasingly competitive field, we’ve compiled a list of the most effective and impactful lead generation ideas for schools and education for you to consider adding to your marketing mix.
10 Lead Generation Ideas for Schools and Education:
- Implement a “Chat with a Parent / Alumni” Feature
- Appeal to the Student’s Future
- Retarget Visitors with Compelling Display Ads
- Hold “Open Days” and Open Houses
- Design Conversion-Focused Landing Pages
- Host Community Events
- Improve Your Google Rankings
- Visualize Key Data & Facts
- Streamline the Application Process
- Use Marketing Automation to Manage Leads More Efficiently
1. Implement a “Chat with a Parent / Alumni” Feature
What you say about your school and programmes matters to prospective parents. But hearing from parents whose children are already enrolled is invaluable.
Posting their testimonials and reviews of your school is one thing – but actually facilitating conversations between current parents and prospective parents is next level.
Dulwich of Singapore offers just that. They have a chat feature that allows you to connect directly with parent ambassadors and staff to get your questions answered and hear about their experience.
The platform allows you to chat instantly – you don’t have to set up a time or worry about whether or not you’re presentable for a Zoom call.
Pro Tip: Like Dulwich, consider creating some kind of ambassador program of parents and alumni who love and support your school.
Bonus Tip: If you have an ambassador program and want to help potential parents and students connect with them, here’s an awesome product to help you get started
2. Appeal to Your Prospective Students’ Future
“People don’t buy products. They buy better versions of themselves.”
The same is true for schools. Parents don’t send their kids to schools for what they will learn, but who they will become.
One of the most effective ways to grab the attention of a potential parent is to appeal to their child’s future. If they enroll in your school, where will they be in 5 years? 10 years?
It’s the question most parents are asking themselves – even if they don’t realize or communicate it. Of all the benefits your school offers them, who they become after attending is the most vital.
Rather than just talking about what you do and what programmes you offer, highlight this in your website copy, promotional materials, print advertising, digital ads, and email marketing.
GEMS Modern Academy in Kerala does a fantastic job of this in their “When I Grow Up” series of display ads.
The ads creatively spotlight not just what a child who attends their school will learn, but who they will become.
Pro Tip: Try to set up interviews with current students’ parents to learn why they chose your school, what they hope their child will get out of it, and their biggest aspirations for their children. Compile the results and use them to fuel your marketing messaging.
3. Retarget Visitors with Compelling Display Ads
Once you have your messaging dialed in, keep it in front of your audience – especially your audience who has already expressed interest in your school.
Retargeting ads help you stay top of mind with those who have visited your website. If they have visited your site, there’s a really good chance they’re either in the consideration stage or they’re approaching it. This is the perfect opportunity to keep yourself in the running.
Singapore American School runs retargeted display ads with a simple message: it’s a happy place to be.
You can set up retargeted ad campaigns with the Google Display Network, Facebook / Instagram Ads, or LinkedIn Ads.
Like the Singapore American School, you can run these ads with a simple message to stay top of mind. But you can also take this opportunity to help your prospect move further down your funnel through a free checklist download or something similar – where you get their email in exchange.
Pro Tip: Many companies run retargeting campaigns to anyone who has visited their website. This is fine, but the more granular you get, the more effective the campaign will be. Consider segmenting and showing certain ads to prospects who have visited certain pages. And for those who have visited multiple pages multiple times, consider a strong call-to-action like “Apply Now” opposed to “Learn More.”
4. Hold “Open Days” and Open Houses
Once you’ve gotten the attention of your audience, one of the best ways to turn them into a lead is by showing them what you’re all about.
Open days not only help them learn more about what makes you great, it’s a step toward choosing your school.
Some in the marketing world call this a “foot in the door” strategy. Once they’ve taken a step into your ecosystem, there’s a much better chance they wind up choosing you when it’s time to make a decision.
Nexus International School in Singapore holds open days every month – most of them virtual at the moment. They introduce teachers, curriculum, and give a virtual tour of the campus. It’s the perfect way to connect with prospective students’ parents.
Pro Tip: An invitation to join an open day is the perfect way to use retargeting ads. Retarget those who have visited more than one or two pages on your website and invite them to learn more about your school.
Bonus: Most schools offer some kind of open house. Build hype and set yours apart by:
- Making it a fun and memorable experience parents and prospective students won’t forget
- Hosting webinars and talks to give an overview of your courses as a part of the virtual open house
- Using live chats and online forums to engage parents and potential students during the event
- Holding virtual tours to help parents and and students experience life on campus
5. Design Conversion-Focused Landing Pages
When trying to convince a parent or prospective student to attend an open house or register for a trial class – you need high quality landing pages that convert.
Many landing pages in our industry are bland, uninformative, and fail to engage visitors.
Create landing pages that engage the visitor with:
- Compelling headings that appeal to your target persona
- Captivating design and visuals
- Easy-to-navigate calls to action
- Testimonials from parents or alumni
Here’s a recent landing page we did for Lorna Whiston:
Pro Tip: Social proof has been proven to increase a visitor’s likelihood of converting. Using testimonials should be a no-brainer, but also consider highlighting other forms of social proof on your landing page, like: total number of alumni, where your alumni are now, third-party reviews, accreditations, and awards.
6. Host Community Events
A fantastic way to build awareness for your school and generate leads is through community events – even if they’re virtual.
Plan an event, invite the community, and run it smoothly.
This kind of tactic is perfect for your entire audience – no matter where they are in their journey.
- It could be the final deciding touch for someone in the decision stage
- Those in the consideration stage can learn more about what makes you unique
- Those with younger kids not yet considering school can learn about you for the first time
Tanglin Trust School hosts an annual TEDx event, showcasing speakers from all walks of life – including some of their own students! It’s an engaging event that’s relevant to and valuable for a broad audience.
Involving students is a game changer here. Not only do those who watch or attend have a positive experience with Tanglin, they also can see Tanglin students showcasing their knowledge and creativity.
Pro Tip: Use these events to make connections with attendees. Consider giving away items or doing something interactive in order to collect contact information.
7. Improve Your Google Ranking
500 people per month are searching for international schools in Singapore.
Over 100 people per month are searching for the best private schools in Singapore.
These numbers aren’t massive, but ranking highly for these terms on Google could mean getting lots of eyeballs on your website each month. For an international school who converts 5% of its site visitors, ranking in the top 3 could mean 10-20 quality leads each month.
Pro Tip: Over 50% of clicks go to the local pack (pictured above) when it shows up in search results, so if you want to improve ranking for Singapore terms, it’s the best place to start. One of the biggest ranking factors for the local pack is Google reviews – so don’t be afraid to ask current parents and students to leave you one!
8. Visualize Key Data and Facts
Once you get a prospect to your site, make it as easy as possible for them to learn what makes you unique.
Every school in the area boasts dedicated teachers, great facilities, and strong curriculum. Prove that your school is truly unique with real data and figures. Don’t just tell, but show. Visualize the data in a compelling and easy-to-absorb way.
Dover Court International School and Nexus do a fantastic job of this on their homepages. It’s immediately clear what makes each unique.
Pro Tip: Showcase the data that sets you apart from similar schools in the area, and don’t be afraid to show how your numbers stack up to competitors. Don’t be shy. If you know the average number of languages spoken at competitor schools is much lower than your own – highlight that number next to yours.
9. Streamline the Application Process
The primary goal for most schools is to drive applications. If this is true for you – make the process as easy as possible.
The days of printing applications and mailing them in are long gone. Thanks to the likes of Amazon, Apple, and other leading tech companies, your prospective parents are used to streamlined processes that make tasks super simple.
And they expect the same from your application process.
Nexus provides an incredibly easy process that guides parents step-by-step through the tasks. It’s all done online – and you can even save and return to it if you get busy.
Nexus lets parents know what will be required of them and about how long it will take to complete. No one likes getting halfway through and then realizing they need to submit a picture of an ID. Remove or simplify any task that creates friction
Pro Tip: The application process is too important to skimp on. If you recognize yours needs to be improved, but you don’t have the resources to do it yourself, engage an agency, designer, or developer. Don’t be afraid to spend some money to make the application experience easier. It will be money well spent.
10. Use Marketing Automation to Manage Leads More Efficiently
This one’s a bit of a bonus, as it has more to do with managing leads you’ve already generated.
You’ve probably got hundreds of leads at any given time. Some of these leads are just checking out their options, while others are warm and ready to convert in the next few weeks.
As you generate leads, it’s important to keep track of all of them and where they might be in the decision making process.
The most effective way to do this is through a marketing automation and CRM platform that tracks website activity, marketing touchpoints, allows you to log calls, automate email sequences, and can even measure how close leads might be to converting.
- You can create an automated email journey that moves a prospective parent from initial enquiry through a campus tour.
- You can set up an automated email journey that goes to those who have visited the campus – but are still on the fence – to chat with parents or watch parent testimonial videos
- You can send existing leads timely emails about application deadlines and semester start times.
Through marketing automation and CRM implementation, along with helping them implement some of the above automations, we helped Lorna Whiston decrease their cost per acquisition by 52% and gain a Return on Investment of 305%.
Pro Tip: If you’re considering a marketing automation or CRM platform, don’t assume you can implement it on your own without prior experience. You’ll quickly find yourself not getting enough out of it and wondering why you’re spending so much on it.
Improve Lead Generation for Your School in 2022
We hope these education lead generation ideas have been helpful and that you’re able to implement a few in your own marketing – and we hope they give you a boost in new leads. If you want help implementing any of the above, or you’d like some help with your overall strategy – our team would love to help.