6 Ways to Rewarm Prospective Students – Finding Value in Closed Leads


By: Christopher Tashjian Jun 18, 2018

6 Ways to Rewarm Prospective Students – Finding Value in Closed Leads

We’ve all had prospective students who seemed like they were going to enroll, but then didn’t. Where did they go? Did they drop into thin air? Prospects “going cold” can be very frustrating for admissions and marketing teams. After all, it took resources to find and engage these students. Seeing cold leads increase is understandably discouraging when you have enrollment goals to hit.

If your institution doesn’t have an enrollment strategy to begin with, start here: How to Build a Killer Enrollment Contact Strategy by Chris Gilmore

Today we’ll take a look at six ways you can breathe new life into your cold lists. Can you turn cold prospects into enrollments?

1) Develop a lead nurturing email sequence

For any number of reasons, your prospective student has gone cold. Now it’s up to you to remain on their radar… without being pushy. What techniques can help you revive this cold lead? There is no need to do “introductory” marketing. Why? Because by the time a student becomes a cold lead, you can assume they have heard of your institution! Instead, focus on being helpful with your emails. Aimed at keeping your brand top of mind as they evaluate different school options. Be useful. Give your prospects a reason to open your emails. Try focusing on general issues faced by all students searching for schools. Examples might be “How to Find a School That’s the Right Fit” or “Five Things I Wish I Had Known Before Picking My Major”. Such emails are helpful and give your cold leads a reason to stay in contact with you. Best of all, they don’t come across as pushy… Even if you really do want to eventually win a prospect back.

2) Get on the Phone

You’ve got prospects who’ve filled out inquiry forms, attended college fairs, and been faithful email readers… Suddenly, they go cold. What gives? It might be worth it to get on the phone and find out if there is something standing in the way. Why didn’t this student apply or enroll? Asking via phone is a more labor-intensive approach to reviving cold leads. You’ll want to have qualified staff making these calls! Also, be sure you’re reviewing your cold prospects list frequently. Make sure you’re identifying the students who are likely to respond to this kind of approach.

Our Enrollment Management Services group offers admissions and recruiting solutions. EducationDynamics can customize to each institution’s goals. Schedule some time to speak with us! We’re sure we can improve your enrollment management performance.

3) Engage Them With Content That Shows Your Institution’s Personality

Did you know that 48 percent of students are applying to two more more colleges? According to our Post-Traditional College Students report, school details can blur together. Ultimately, students may end up looking for a school where they’ll “fit in”. How might you address this phenomenon? Try delivering content that showcases your institution’s unique values and personality. Give them something to connect with during their college search. Students you thought were cold could, in fact, be students who were overwhelmed by details. You can “warm them up” and engage them with your institution’s unique personality. Instagram is an ideal place to host this kind of personality-filled content.

4) Try Sending Emails at Irregular Times

Many institutions schedule email campaigns for the same time of day. Try mixing it up! The goal is to land in a prospect’s inbox during times they are more likely to engage.
Online advertising firm WordStream recently tested email delivery times. They found Thursday between 8 and 9 a.m. the sweet spot for sending emails. Mondays tend to have the lowest engagement… Inboxes tend to be full Monday morning. Weekends aren’t optimal because people are running errands, having fun, or otherwise not paying attention to email. That leaves Tuesday and Wednesday as good potentials. Experiment with delivery days and see if you can’t revive cold leads with a change in timing.

5) Develop Messaging that Acknowledges Why Your Prospects Went Cold

Your prospective students are busy. They’re managing classes and social obligations. In addition to searching for colleges, they’re attending to family duties. Vying for student attention isn’t easy. Not only that, but more than 75 percent of today’s undergraduates are “post-traditional”. This means they’re likely working part- or full-time jobs along with other responsibilities. It’s even harder to grab their attention.
It’s inevitable that some of your prospects will go cold in the push to recruit modern students. Want to humanize your institution? Messaging that acknowledges how busy students are can help relationship-building.
Try emails with subjects like “We Haven’t Heard From You in A While” or “We Know You’re Busy.” A subject line like “Take 2 Minutes to Learn About [Our] College” can give you another chance to engage.

6) Connect on Different Channels

If email is your primary contact strategy, try going after cold prospects on another channel. Google and Facebook both provide powerful remarketing tools. You can create a campaign that targets students who opened an email and visited your website… But didn’t take an action (like filling out your inquiry form).
With remarketing data, you can target cold prospects on social media or the Google Display Network. Again, this gives potential students another chance to engage with your institution.
Reviving cold leads and turning closed prospects into applications and enrollments may be tough… But it can be worth it. Persistence, patience, and creativity will pay off for admissions professionals.
* Download the full Post-Traditional Graduate Students reports from Aslanian Market Research here: http://learn.dev.propaganda3.com/education-dynamics/post-traditional-graduate-students-report