Improving Your Prospect to Inquiry Rate


By: Christopher Tashjian Mar 14, 2017

Hello, again. My name is Anthony Levato, director of marketing here at Education Dynamics. Thank you for joining me for another Whiteboard Wednesday.

If you remember from last week, we built a higher education enrollment funnel based on the number of enrolled students you would need for a program at your school. Last week, we made the assumption that you would need 15 enrolled students for your program. We determined that you needed 5,375 prospects to reach your goal of 15 enrolled students. For a refresher on the enrollment funnel, see the link in the description below.

In this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, we’re going to look at how to optimize your prospect to inquiry rate, so that you can see a better yield in the number of enrolled students or you can reduce your marketing costs. Let’s start off by defining what prospects and inquiries are. Prospects are the people that visit your website who are responding to your marketing campaigns. They are people that are interested in learning more about your institution. Inquiries are prospects who visit your website and fill out your forms to learn more about the programs that you’re offering. So, there are two strategies to improve your prospect to inquiry rate. The first way is to improve your off-page tactics. The second way is to improve your on-page tactics. Let’s go over some of the off-page and on-page tactics you can improve in order to see a higher prospect to inquiry rate.

So, your off-page strategy is mainly influenced by two things: audience targeting and ads. Let’s go ahead and list some of the things you can do to influence your audience targeting. So, we’ll start with off-page. Some of the things we can do for audience targeting is improving our ads. This includes the bidding on our ads, the keywords that we’re targeting, and the ad networks that we’re placing our ads on. The next thing we can do is SEO. SEO includes optimizing both the content and our actual website structure, so that search engines can easily crawl it and find our content so that it’s deliverable to our audience. The next thing we can do is affiliate. And this basically means what affiliate partners we have, working with those partners to ensure we’re targeting the right audience. The next one is social. Social includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and it basically ensures we’re targeting the right audience on those platforms. And the last one is email. The things we can do for email include segmenting our database to ensure that we’re targeting the right audience and reviewing our email strategy to optimize our deliverability, open rates, and click-through rates. The next tactic within your off-page strategy includes your actual copy. So, we’ll put copy here. Copy includes all the messaging in your ads, your SEO, your affiliate marketing, your social, and your email to ensure that you’re targeting the right audience for your programs. Now, let’s say we’ve optimized our off-page strategy through some of the tactics I just described, and we’re able to increase our prospect to inquiry rate by 1%. So, we’ll add 1% to the 4% we had from the previous example.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the on-page tactics you can improve to hopefully find some additional yield in your prospect to inquiry rate. I’m going to go ahead and erase our off-page strategy, and let’s discuss some on-page strategies. The first tactic you can use for improving your on-page strategy is improving your load time. Believe it or not, improving your load time is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your user experience and increase the chances that a prospect becomes an inquiry. So, we’ll put load time. The next tactic is optimizing your form, and what I mean by that is to optimize both the position of your form to ensure that it’s above the fold, as well as to remove any unnecessary fields which might cause friction for your prospects to fill out the form and therefore turn into inquiries. The next tactic is copy. You want to ensure your copy is both compelling and matches the messaging of the ad or the marketing that your prospect saw that resulted in them coming to your website. And the last tactic within your on-page strategy is optimizing your website for mobile. And the reason that’s important is because nearly half of all traffic originates from a mobile device.

So, let’s say you optimize all of the tactics within your on-page strategy, and you’re able to get an additional 1% of yield on your prospect to inquiry rate, so you have a total of 6% now. I’m going to go ahead and change this to 6%. Now, you might not think going through all that work to optimize both your off-page and on-page strategy to get that additional 2% is going to have a huge impact on either the number of enrolled students in your program or your total marketing cost, but you’d be surprised. Let’s take a look at the math. So, let me go ahead and create some room for myself and erase the on-page strategies and tactics. The first thing I’m going to do is some math to determine the new number of prospects we now need based upon our improvement of prospects to inquiries. We’re not going to change any of the other numbers in the formula. They’ll all remain the same. The only thing we improved here was our prospect to inquiry rate. So, we’ll take our original number of inquiries required from last week, which was 215. We know that 215 equals .06 of X, or 6% of X based on our new number. That could be rewritten as X equals 215 over .06 or 6%. X now equals 3,583 prospects. So, we now need 3,583 prospects versus the original 5,375 prospects to visit our landing pages with the improved rate of 6%, based upon the optimizations we did before to reach our enrolled goal of 15.

Now, let’s determine what the actual percentage change was from the old prospect number to the new prospect number. So, the formula for that is original minus new over original. So, the original number was 5,375, minus the 3,583, over the 5,375. This yields 1,792 over 5,375 for a percentage change of 33%. This means through our off-page and on-page optimization tactics, we’re able to see a 33% decrease in the number of prospects we needed in order to reach our enrollment goal of 15 enrolled students. This is actually more powerful when you start assigning dollar values to the enrollment funnel. Let’s take a look. Let’s say in our original example, we spent $50,000 in marketing to get our 5,375 prospects. This means if we divide our total marketing costs, $50,000, by the number of enrolled students, we get a cost per enrolled student of $3,333. However, because we optimized both our off-page and on-page strategies to see an additional 2% in our prospect to inquiry rate, we are able to see a performance improvement of 33%. So, now, we only need 33% less people or 33% less marketing dollars to get the same number of enrolled students. So, our new cost per enrolled student is now $2,233 per enrolled student. And when we multiply the $2,233 per enrolled student by the number of enrolled students, we now only spent $33,500. As you can see, with everything else remaining the same within your enrollment funnel, if you’re able to improve some of the off-page and on-page tactics and increase your prospect to inquiry rate by just 2%, you can reduce your total marketing costs by $16,500 for that program to get the same number of enrolled students.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, and I thank you for joining me. If you found the video useful, please share it or like it with your network, and if you have any questions or comments, please submit them below. Be sure to tune in next week when I discuss ways to improve your inquiries to applicants rate. Thanks again for joining me, and have a great day.