Each year, April 1st marks a transition period in the education lead generation realm.  Search traffic begins to dry up, we start to scrape and claw for every lead, and the industry hunkers down in anticipation of the abyss that is the summer season for our online lead generation activities.

Education Lead Generation Meme

However, you don’t have to spend countless hours combing through new lead aggregators to test (stop chasing the Golden Ticket) or combing through Velocify to find anything that’s broken (“Something has to be broken!”).  Take this time to instead focus on things you can have an effect on, and remember to keep your eyes on the prize at the end of the summer.  Read through these 5 tips to help you and your team make the most out of this summer’s slow season.

1. Optimize Your Website Conversion Elements

The off-season is the perfect time to A/B test your website’s conversion elements and user experience.  Is your Call to Action too passive?  Will changing the action button from purple to red increase conversion rate?  How does the user experience feel on a smartphone?  These are all questions you should be asking yourself this time of year.  Get all of these answers worked out before peak-season hits so your website does not drop the ball during your most important business cycles.

2. Gather Student Testimonials at Graduation

No one is happier with their educational experience than on the day they graduate.  Make sure you capture this enthusiasm at its peak by asking your graduating class to fill out a survey based on their experience.  Not only will you get valuable feedback for expanding and improving your current offerings, but you will also compile a huge list of testimonials from your best sales people, the students themselves.

Quick Note: Make sure to add a disclaimer that allows you to use this in marketing materials.  You want to be able to add the best testimonials to your website and your email nurturing campaigns.  Nothing builds confidence and credibility like a glowing customer testimonial!

3. Host Fun Events

Prospective students who attend an open house or other event hosted by your school can be up to 50% more likely to become an enrolled student, so look for fun and innovative ways to get prospects through the door.  Host a concert on campus for a local band, attend a high school job fair, or sponsor a “Hole in One” event at a fundraising golf tournament hosted by a local charitable group.  These are all cool ways to get your brand in front of those prospects that aren’t actively using Google to search for a school this time of year.

Brainstorm a few ideas with your marketing team.  Find out what your target market likes to do for fun and show up at an event they are likely to attend.  The only limit here is your imagination!

In the days leading up to your event, don’t forget to promote it locally.  Check out Cidewalk, my hyper-local mobile ad platform of choice.  We have used this tool as a means to drive foot traffic for our client’s events with great success.  For as little as $1 a day you can get your ads in front of prospective students where they spend the majority of their browsing time, on their smartphones.  The zip code targeting feature of Cidewalk allows for incredibly granular targeting.  Excellent for driving people to your summer concert.

4. Don’t Neglect Your Brand

Spend this time refining and building upon your brand awareness.  Brand awareness is not an immediate response lead generator.  It takes time to build an effective brand, one that will bring in high volume, low cost leads when peak season hits.

Look to Targeted Display Campaigns like Quantcast and Millennial Media to expand your reach in a highly targeted way.

Work hard on your brand now so it will work hard for you down the road.

5. Reengage Past Website Visitors

You may be familiar with lower-funnel retargeting, which serves display ads to any user who has visited your website in the past 30 days.  This is a great way to keep potential leads engaged and remain top of mind as they continue their research.  However, this doesn’t do as much good during the slow business cycles since new users are not coming to your website with nearly the frequency that you saw in January and February.

This is where mid-funnel retargeting comes into play.  Mid-funnel looks back beyond the classic 30 day retargeting window and focuses on users who have not been to your site in 45-90 days.  With some creative offers and messaging, we can reengage these users and bring them back into the mix.

This is just another tool to hold onto the busy season just a little while longer!

Have other ideas?  I would love to hear them.  Want to hear more of ours? Contact us today for a free marketing analysis to help you get the most out of this summer and set yourself up for success this coming fall.