Making money selling education? Do these three things first

Turning marketing investment into enrolments is what keeps education businesses going. With so many channels to choose from, knowing what works and what doesn’t - and ultimately how much it costs to acquire a student - can mean the difference between surviving and thriving in the future.

Calculating the return on your marketing dollar is becoming more and more of a science for today’s providers of vocational and higher education. Here are three proven ways you can get better at understanding your marketing investments, build in quality assurance and maximise success.


1. Capture and understand all of your leads


Data and visualisation is key in today’s competitive market for enrolments. Educators who succeed at gaining more value from their marketing spend typically move past superficial ‘finger in the air’ attempts at marketing investment or ‘gut feelings’ about what works and go very, very granular.

This means capturing all your lead data in one place for you to measure marketing performance.

For example, many Registered Training Organisations in VET find themselves doing a mix of different marketing activities that are successful in making their business tick over, but only measure the effectiveness of their marketing based on data captured from their online lead forms.

Getting control by capturing all your leads –from phone calls and online chats to emails and expos – ensures you know where all your leads are coming from (they also need to be conscientiously de-duplicated, to ensure that you are getting an accurate reflection of the real source of leads).

When you know the source of your leads, your reporting can give you fundamentals like your total marketing investment, unique leads and enrolment figures, right through to a granular look at your sales conversion rates and cost of acquiring new students through each acquisition channel.


2. Make a call on your quality assurance levels


The phone call your sales agents have with potential students can make or break the decision to invest their money – and future - in you. While online enrolments are growing, the phone is still a huge source of lead capture and cultivation, whether you have a single agent, or a room full.

Setting standards, measuring and understanding phone leads and sales through your sales agents is important. Do you have a call framework set up for consistency? Do your agents know what needs to happen in every call, from meeting student emotional needs to dealing with possible inhibitors?


3. Put your new understandings to work


The insights provided by the data you gather can now help you optimise marketing spend. Once you have the data at your fingertips, you can understand where leads are really coming from and your 1-1 student acquisition cost, so there is a dollar figure next to each enrolment in your courses.

This makes it simple to undertake controlled experimentation within your budget to achieve higher sales results. For example, looking at display or Facebook advertising might reveal a higher student acquisition cost for dollars spent; these can then be easily be reallocated to more successful (and cheaper) channels to boost your overall student numbers and revenue. If you are doing marketing by individual courses, this insight and experimentation can get even tighter insights and results.

 By getting at least an overview of your spend and ROI across marketing channels, you are also not completely in the dark or reliant on an external agency or a marketing team to manage your spend – you are seeing it in real time, asking the right questions, and ensuring dollars are spent wisely.

Is that call framework supported by documentation of standards, detailing the why and how? Are your sales agents measured on that, by having 6-10 longer calls reviewed and fed back on, or using a customer NPS call scorecard? These all support the best possible call experience and enrolments.