Why Higher Education Needs Lead Magnets!
By: Renee Seltzer
As the internet has evolved, so has how people use the Internet and search engines. Over time, our expectations aor website load times, mobile and user experience has increased. We expect more from websites. If a website looks out of date, then it’s more likely going to have a higher bounce rate and a lower conversion rate.
People’s expectations have changed; colleges need to keep up with the latest design trends just as much as any other vertical or business.
The one trend in lead generation that is becoming ubiquitous is lead magnet pages.
Since many other industries are using lead magnets, it starts to change a visitor’s expectations of how a landing page should look.
What are Lead Magnets?
“Lead Magnet is an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information. The goal of the Lead Magnet is to maximize the number of targeted leads you are getting for an offer. It’s the first step in my Customer Value Optimization process”, according to Joe Polish from Digital Marketer.
Collecting Emails vs Collecting Leads
In Higher Education, our lifeblood are inquires. I’ve spent over ten years in Higher Ed marketing over the course of my 15-year marketing career. I remember when enrollment folks wanted 15+ fields on the forms to collect as much information as possible. And, let’s be honest, if someone was willing to fill out all the fields than that person already wanted to come to school and would have pretty much filled out 50+ fields. While these inquiries did convert at a higher rate, we had a high abandonment rate on the form. We were never able to build a relationship with all of those people who didn’t fill out the form.
Quickly, we realized that we had to limit the number of fields on a form to only the essential information otherwise very few people were filling out our lead forms.
Without people filling out the lead forms, we didn’t have a large enough pipeline to call or enroll. It was always a delicate balance we had to play.
The Balance is Shifting Again
With over 60% of Internet traffic coming from mobile, it’s more challenging for mobile visitors to fill out lead forms with multiple fields.
We have to consider again reducing how much information we collect from a visitor, especially those who are accessing the form on a mobile device.
Why Consider Lead Magnets?
Let’s say 5% of your visitors are filling out a lead form. That can be a great website conversion rate, but what is happening to that other 95%? Are they going to a competitor’s website?
One of the biggest competitors is time!
People are incredibly busy and often multi-tasking while surfing the web. A visitor might be optimistic and say, ‘I’ll come back to the website and fill out the form later,’ and just never come back. Personally, I’ve done it more times than I can count. We get distracted and busy.
Why not do more to capture that 95%? If you don’t capture their email address, then you have no way of building a relationship with them in the future.
Use Lead Magnets for Social Media
If you are doing any paid campaigns on a social network then you should consider using a lead magnet landing page versus the Higher Ed traditional landing page. Or at least testing out a few variations of a lead magnet to see they work for you.
When people are on social media, they want to be on social media. They want to see what their friends are doing. They want to check out from work, life or stress and just mindlessly scroll through their feed.
If your ad pops up in the feed, make their time commitment as minimal as possible to engage with you. Be considerate of their time and let them get back to what they want to do most, socialize with friends.
Set up Facebook Connect on your form so the person just has to click a button to request more information.
Now, you have at least their email address! You may think this doesn’t sound like much. You also know who they are through Facebook, so you can always have your Enrollment person friend them on Facebook and start the dialogue.
Also, check out our article on how to best run Facebook ads to grow enrollments.
What Can You Do With An Email?
Email marketing is still an important marketing channel and if done correctly can be very fruitful for you.
By collecting their email address, you can now set this person up on a lead nurturing track or have your Rep email the candidate. You now have some control of the conversation.
Regalix reported that 48% of the marketers they surveyed believe that investment in email marketing will only grow in 2015 and beyond.
Offer Something of Interest
On your lead magnet page offer something that your prospective student would need or find valuable.
Give away a free guide relating to the program of interest your prospect is looking to enroll in
Allow access to a video they can only see if they opt-in
Provide a career handout or a program handout with unique insights
Get instant access to a toolkit or episode
Get access to a special Facebook group for career networking opportunities
Schedule a mock interview to help prospective students apply for jobs
Schedule 15 minute session to speak with an Instructor
Value Perception Is Critical!
You are probably speaking to mostly Millennials and Gen Z (18-35-year-olds). To learn more about this age group check out our article series to learn more about them and how to speak to them.
Your offer should be perceived as having tremendous value to your prospective students. And, yes, in return you may just get their email address, but it can be worth it as you start a relationship with them.
What separates lead magnets from having a 20% opt-in rate versus a 3% or less is the value of the offer. The more valuable the offer higher the opt-in rate.
How to Find Out What Entices Your Audience Most
Start with your website analytics. Search for which pages on your website get the most traffic. You can create a specific offer per page. If a few of your pages on your website receive the bulk of visitors than you can surmise that this information is most valuable to your visitor and create an offer based on that page topic. Let’s say your tuition page gets the most traffic.
You might be able to offer a 15-minute session with your Financial Aid Officers.
Or offer a free easy to follow guide on how to apply for a Pell Grant
Offer a guide or video on fill out a FAFSA.
Another way to find topics is to use BuzzSumo to search for content ideas that get the most social media shares. If something is shared a number of times, then it’s probably a great topic and worth sharing.
To create a strong lead magnet, pick a topic which resonates most with your audience. If a topic received a lot of shares, then you’ll probably have a great topic to use as a starting point for your offer.
Also, check out what other industries are doing, get inspired by what other markers are doing in other verticals.
Writing Copy for Lead Magnets is Different Than Everything Else
It’s important to write a headline for your lead magnet that attracts interest.
The 20 Words Nurses Use Most. What You Need to Know Before You Start Your Career.
15 Tips for Landing an Awesome Automatic Job
Free ebook: How I got hired at the best hospital in Miami, FL
How to Apply for a Pell Grant and Possibly Get Free Money
Don’t be vague with your offer. Offer a solution to a problem your perspective students are having. Offer tremendous value so you can create a lasting impression and start a relationship with more prospective students.
Here is a Great Example
Michael Hyatt is offering to save readers 10 hours off your work week. Now, I have to know how.
He also used this pop up to get more people to sign up for his newsletter.
And he wrote a blog post to promote this free b-book. He created a strategy touching on multiple initiatives to drive people to this call to action. And, it’s working for him.
Give Away A Course
The University of Phoenix has a great free 3-week trial as their call to action. What can your call to action be?
Lead magnets are not standalone strategies. They need to be deployed as a part of a well-crafted marketing strategy. Coming up with the right offer is hard work! Then coming up with a few variations to test against a baseline is even harder. The good news is all of this hard work can have huge rewards.