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How To Boost Student Enrollment Through a Data-driven Lead Generation Campaign

So, you need to get more leads to increase student enrollment for your school. Your ads might be getting you leads, but most inquiries are about anything BUT enrollment, and you need to learn how to reach the customers that matter to you.

Yes, it's challenging to find and attract your ideal customer because of the variety of targets — parents, students, and international families — each with unique goals and motivations. This is why many marketing campaigns lack precise targeting, relying instead on tactics that cast too wide a net, expecting quality leads and high ROIs.

Without a data-driven approach behind your marketing efforts, you will find it difficult to measure what is working and what is not. You will feel lost when deciding how to allocate your resources for your marketing campaigns.

The best case scenario is that candidates come into the admissions office already educated on their decision, so you can focus on establishing a genuine connection with them or their families and create a positive experience for their enrollment process. 

But how often does this happen? Probably not every day. 

Fortunately, there is a solution: by taking customer data and feedback to optimize your lead generation campaigns with messaging that resonates with your ideal customers and delivers them through the most effective marketing channels.

This article will explore how to start building impactful lead generation campaigns using data for your international school.

1. Create Your Buyer Persona

How to create a buyer persona

The first step to building your lead gen campaign is understanding your ideal customers deeply. Creating buyer personas is an intelligent way to do this – they are semi-fictional representations of your target audience's goals, motivations, and values based on customer data, feedback, and psychographics.

For instance, consider the example of Mr Yip: A Modern Father:

Buyer persona example for higher education

After knowing Mr Yip, you can build your campaign's messaging to create better opportunities and highlight the school's supportive community and conducive environment. You can also use testimonial videos to show the confidence of your student alums in your ads or website to attract people like them. 

Buyer personas are a data-driven approach to crafting tailored and personal marketing messages to help you stand out and attract ideal customers.

If you need help creating a buyer persona, check out our FREE guide below.

2. Use Data to Build PPC Campaigns for Your Ideal Customer

How to use data for paid per click (PPC) campaigns

Now that you understand buyer personas, let's talk about Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. It involves paying a platform like Google or Facebook to display your ads to people online.

PPC campaigns aim to drive traffic to your site (website, landing page, social media page) and convert the traffic into sales and marketing-qualified leads.

Here are some benefits of PPC campaigns that can help improve student enrollment:

  • Fast response – adapt and adjust your campaigns almost immediately

  • Audience targeting 🎯 – reach the right customers

  • Visibility 👁️ – be discovered when customers are researching schools

  • Provides valuable data 🔬 – find keywords that give the most impressions, clicks, and conversions

However, PPC is a hyper-competitive environment and paying to stand out among the crowd can get COSTLY. Many digital marketing agencies make the mistake of a 'set and forget' approach to PPC campaigns, resulting in less qualified leads and a diminishing return on investment over time. 

The key to an impactful PPC campaign for student enrollment is using data from your buyer personas. With insights such as their motivations and pain points, you can sharpen your PPC campaigns by optimizing your audience and keyword targeting to go above and beyond to grab the attention of your ideal customers. 

3. Start Content Marketing to Provide Helpful Content For Your Ideal Customers

Benefits of content marketing for higher education

Content marketing goes beyond blog posts; it involves creating valuable, relevant content that guides your ideal candidates throughout their decision-making process when choosing schools.

Here are some examples of content types:

  1. Articles
  2. Videos
  3. E-mails
  4. Social media posts
  5. Ebooks
  6. White papers 

Types of content that are beneficial to improve student enrollment are:

Virtual School Tours

Can quickly give your potential customers an idea of the facilities and lifestyle on campus without explanation. Seeing is believing, and virtual tours help viewers instantly visualize life on campus, allowing them to decide if they want to visit in person. 

Student Testimonials

From our buyer persona, Mr Yip, student testimonials can be convincing content that shows more than it tells. Testimonials can build trust and credibility towards parents of your school's ability to produce mature, capable students while inspiring potential students to enrol with your school. 

Guides for Students and Parents

Today's generation of internet users is quick to seek out the information they need. Having content as guides ready to answer common enrollment questions can be a powerful asset to build trust and raise awareness of your school.

Today, content marketing is becoming an increasingly competitive landscape: 

With a growing amount of content, audiences have more supply than demand. That is why using your buyer persona data to enhance your content is essential – delivering quality content that is helpful for your ideal customer puts your brand ahead of the competition.

4. Synergize your PPC and Content Marketing Efforts

Should I use paid per click or content marketing for higher education?

Your PPC and content marketing campaigns should work together to improve student enrollment.

Consider the buyer persona's journey before your customer enrolls in your school. Some families have already researched and visited several school campuses, so they are ready to sign up at the school of their choice.

Meanwhile, many families are still in the early stages of researching or are still considering their options. They might visit schools, read articles and reviews, or ask friends about other schools.

From these buying behaviours, PPC and Content Marketing campaigns each have a role to play in the student enrollment process:

  • PPC campaigns capture the attention of families who are considering their options or are close to making their decisions by targeting their search intent.

  • Content marketing captures the attention of families still researching future options for their children. They may be casually browsing Google or are looking for answers to their questions. 

As your lead generation campaign covers all of these areas of the buyer's journey, you will build trust and authority and be remembered in your ideal customer's minds, positioning your school as the best choice for them when they are ready to make the decision.

A limited budget is a big challenge for school marketing managers, leading to a dilemma on whether to spend their budget efficiently to improve student enrollment.

Should you use paid per click (PPC) or content marketing?

It is easy to see why most marketers focus their spending on PPC campaigns – it's fast and produces results. Still, over time, the amount of leads you get will deplete because you are not focusing on capturing potential customers in their journey's awareness and consideration stage. 

PPC vs content marketing

To avoid spending all of your budget on PPC campaigns, consider a 60/40 split between PPC and content marketing:

  1. 60% of your resources go to your PPC campaigns to target customers ready to enroll.

  2. 40% of your resources go to content marketing to build awareness and target audiences in the consideration stage.

This way, you avoid the pitfalls of exhausting your PPC leads, as your content marketing adds more fuel for your PPC campaigns, delivering a steady flow of leads to your school.

Wrapping It Up

No matter what marketing campaigns you plan to run, going for a data-driven approach is the most innovative way. Buyer personas offer to turn customer data and feedback into assets that you can use to optimize your lead-generation campaigns.

Why you should use data for your marketing campaigns

Here's a quick recap of how to build a lead generation campaign to improve student enrollment:

  1. Create your buyer persona using customer data and feedback.

  2. Use buyer persona data to build and optimize your PPC campaigns.

  3. Create content based on customer pain points to help them along their buyer's journey.

  4. Combine your PPC and content marketing efforts to consistently capture leads in the awareness, consideration and decision stages.

Want to Build A Data-Driven Lead Generation Campaign Tailored For Your School?

If you are trying to raise awareness, launch a new program, or attract more students to enroll, a tailored lead generation campaign for your school will accelerate you toward your goals. 

Even if you understand the basics to build an impactful lead generation campaign, it takes a team of copywriters, digital marketers, designers, and consultants to drive your desired results.

As marketers who have run lead generation campaigns for numerous higher education clients in the ASEAN region, our team has the insights and expertise to help you make strategic decisions for your campaign to improve student enrollment.

Click the button below to schedule a FREE 30-minute, 1-on-1 consultation session with our consultants.

Increasing student enrolment through digital marketing