How to Lower New Student Acquisition Costs
May 31, 2016
Lower new student acquisition costs means your college and program can hit profitability sooner rather than later. So here are a few proven ways to make it happen…
Stop running paid campaigns that are losing you money. Everyone has some campaigns that aren’t generating acceptable returns – so put a pause on them. Stop spending money on an out-of-home campaign that hasn’t generated a lead, let alone an enrollment – reinvest the money into a campaign that’s meeting or exceeding projections so you can maximize the investment. You know those keywords and ad groups that haven’t generated anything in the past several months? Same thing!
Targeting. Take a look at where you are generating leads but no sales and then find ways not to target those locations. The campaign itself might be profitable but there are parts of the campaign that can be eliminated so that the entire effort becomes more profitable. For example, running your Adwords campaign targeting the United States and attracting a lot of leads from the Northeast – but few, if any enrollments? Exclude the Northeast!
Have a fast, easy, efficient process for quickly qualifying and prioritizing leads. Your enrollment team is working hard – make them more productive with a process that quickly qualifies and prioritizes the leads. Suddenly your staff is focused on higher quality leads that enroll in higher numbers because your staff is giving them the attention they deserve.
The other benefit of this approach is that you eliminate the unqualified leads early in the process so that you aren’t investing more resources on them. That means no more emails, direct mail, phone calls aimed at the 10-20% of those leads that aren’t qualified.
Test. Another way to lower new student acquisitions costs is to test new ways to promote your college and programs. Test new ways to nurture leads – new emails, new talking points on phone calls, new online events, new instructions on how to apply for financial aid… There is always room for improvement and you need to create and lead a culture that strives for finding faster ways to consistently deliver a quality experience at lower costs.
Invest in the right research. Most college have invested in research that failed to give them insight into opportunities that require fewer resources/costs to generate greater enrollments/revenue. Hey, it’s wonderful that 95% of your students rank their experience as “somewhat satisfactory” or “satisfactory” – now, go out and invest in research that tells you “…if we offered evening and weekend classes at these satellite locations, we could enroll an additional ### students…”
Check your process and system. Never assume that everything is working as it should – check your processes and systems. Mystery shop – not to blame anyone but to find those opportunities to improve the experience for the lead. One client “…just thought that there was a lull in inquiries…” until they found out that there was a programming error and web site form submissions weren’t feeding into the CRM system as they should.
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.