GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | April 30th, 2019

How long does it take for a prospective student to choose to enroll in a graduate program?

Lead Cycle Time for Prospective Student to EnrollIt’s been a year, or two, or 5. Are they still considering continuing their education, did they already complete another program or did they give up the dream?

For some graduate programs, there is fixed window for decisions, while others have a longer lifecycle. Let’s examine typical cycle time from shortest to longest.

1-Year Masters (After Undergrad)

You probably have a year (or 2 max) to catch these students’ attention. They are either super-motivated juniors who are planning their future or exasperated seniors who need to bolster their undergraduate degree to launch a career. If they’ve been in your funnel for over 2 years, it’s worth an email to ask if they’d still like to hear from you.


Typical lead cycle time for an MBA is 2-3 years. Often, these early career professionals realize after graduating and working for a couple years, that: 1) they don’t like their career choice and need to shift, or 2) they need a broader perspective to move into a leadership role. From this point, it could take a couple of years to prep for an admissions test, find a school and determine the right timing. They have more life decisions at play than a graduating senior, but less than a senior executive. Once they’ve signed up to take a GMAT, you likely have less than 2 years because they will be hit by every school in the country that purchases names of test takers.


Working professionals and aspiring executives who are considering an Executive MBA could be in your funnel up to 5, maybe even 7 years. There are some who know that they want to continue their education, and they want you to keep reminding them (which is why they signed up in the first place and haven’t opted out). There are some that are struggling with barriers like career trajectory, family and personal issues. And for global programs where travel is required, it can be even more difficult to work themselves into a work situation where a boss will give them the time off to pursue a degree. And then there are those who are lifelong learners who may actually be getting another degree in the meantime (yes, this happens). Give them the time they need to make the decision and do all you can to address their concerns. Even though they may seem distant, it’s possible that your messages are getting through and they’ll act when they hear the right one.

Executive Education (Ongoing)

Early-, mid- or late-career professionals and executives either need to fill a knowledge gap right away, or they are pursuing continuing education which means they are always ripe for picking a new program if your offerings coincide with their needs. For this audience, recency and relevance is key because when they’re ready to move, you need to be top of mind.


Prospective students of all career levels that are considering an online education fall in 2 camps. They either need a degree right away to get them to the next level, or they have time to decide and they are banking on ultimate flexibility. While proliferation of online degree programs is up and other free online education options are widely available, give these prospects the most leeway so you don’t lose them.

Find out more about how to engage prospects at different stages of the decision-making process. Contact GPRS.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | April 17th, 2019

Conversion Challenges: Do you have the right people in your funnel?

Let’s examine your leads, prospects and future students.

Top of the Funnel = Leads

Do you have the right people in your funnel?Depending on who you talk to — marketing, admissions, administrators, faculty — these may be the most important people in your funnel and the ones that deserve the highest dollar investment. If your leads are qualified, engaged and ripe for the opportunity at hand (your degree program), they will be much more likely to turn into prospects and seated students. Sounds obvious, right? Then why are there so many temptations to shortcut the lead generation process?

If you’ve ever purchased a list and then watched your email campaign bounce rates triple, or tried to “cast a wide net” with a digital advertising deal that seemed too good to be true, you’ve fallen prey to marketing advice that leaves you with fewer dollars and lots of time wasted. A laser-focused digital strategy that utilizes multiple platforms, compelling ad creative and targeted media may seem insurmountable with your time and budget constraints, but in the long run it can pay off. In fact, 500 quality leads will serve you better than 10,000 expired email addresses you’ve obtained with antiquated mass marketing tactics. And you’ll see the fruits of your labor as your leads convert into the middle of the funnel.

Middle of the Funnel = Prospects

This is where leads turn into real prospects — if the strategic lead generation strategy you implemented at the top of the funnel worked. The middle of the funnel is where the churn begins. Prospects are beginning to ask themselves questions like: Is it time to go back to school? Should I continue to work while I earn my degree? Is an in-person, online or hybrid program right for me? What can I afford? And this is also where you step in to answer those questions.

A targeted email communications flow to address barriers can speak to their concerns. A video or other media on your website can help them decide which program is right for them. A personal outreach or an invitation to an event from the admissions staff or call center can set their minds at ease. If you’re making these efforts at engaging them and you’ve spent the time and money to make sure they’re qualified, you’ll find that the transition from lead to prospect is much smoother.

Bottom of the Funnel = Future Students

As your prospects continue the decision making process, your team’s efforts are pivotal in converting them. It does seem however that it is much easier to convert the right candidate than someone who was never right to begin with — even if they appear ideal on paper. See, the way that prospects appear on paper is very different from their current mindsets. They are more than just numbers, demographics and job titles. They are complex people with real lives, families, circumstances and ambitions. When you market to them, it is imperative to meet them on their journeys — where they are both physically and mentally.

If you focus your efforts early on, you can better connect with the right people at the right time — which is where the magic happens. Once they make it to this point in the funnel, they’ve already been qualified by a fantastic marketing strategy and are ready to be pulled through the funnel by admissions. And congratulations, you’re on your way to filling your next class.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | April 3rd, 2019

Your prospects have stopped engaging. Now what?

Letters spelling adaptIt’s crunch time. You’re finishing your final round of admissions events for the year. Your class is starting to round itself out, but you’ve still got those final seats to fill. You’re looking at each and every lead in your funnel, trying to predict which ones will take action.

If you’re like many schools, you’ve got a group of stagnant leads that you’re wondering about. Did they decide to pursue another program/school/path and forgot to let you know? Or is it possible that they may emerge from the black hole of grad school prospects and raise their hands, magically giving you that last push across the finish line of filling your class.

Stagnant leads are tricky for many reasons. Here are a few ideas on what to do with them.

Consider the decision timeline for your program

Some programs like MAcc or MSF, have an immediate decision cycle because students are coming straight out of undergrad. If you haven’t heard from them after a year, it may be time to purge them. With an MBA, the prospects could take up to 1-2 years as they are early in their careers and trying to figure out how to move up or switch directions. For an executive program such as an EMBA, it’s important to give prospects the time they need for their decision because they are weighing (already successful) careers and families to find the right time to weave school into their busy lives. Of course, you want to be sure that your messages aren’t falling on deaf ears, but giving them the time they need, even if it’s up to 5 years, may be necessary.

Audit your current communications mix

Within your current channels, is your messaging getting tired? It may be time to try something new. If an audit of your ads/emails/social/etc. reveals low response rates, get creative with your content. Are you only promoting events? Try some value added content like infographics or videos. Are you tirelessly pushing for applications, with no submissions? Try hosting an informal webinar. Other enticing information can be high profile alumni profiles or student stories. If you’ve tried these things to no avail, it may be time to develop or evolve your digital strategy.

Cater to your target and their communications preferences

You’ve heard the buzzwords surrounding multi-generational workforces. Catering your messaging to prospects with different mindsets – even if you’re inviting them to the same event – can work to your advantage. Here are a few ideas on communicating to different generations:

  • Boomers – prefer face-to-face interaction but also like a balance of voicemail and email
  • GenX – prefer succinct email, but since they strive for work-life balance, prefer business communications during working hours
  • Millennials – prefer all forms of online communication, but need prompt feedback

Of course, these are broad generalizations. If you’re having trouble connecting with a particular age group, do some research on their communication preferences.

Vary your calls to action

Get creative. If you’re seeing some engagement, i.e. they opened the email but didn’t click, consider what you’re asking them to do. Is it too tall of an order to request that they start an application in an email if they haven’t attended an event yet? Is it possible that something is holding them back from attending an event and perhaps they’d like to connect on the phone first? Try being flexible and varying your calls to action and see what happens.

Ask them if they’d like to opt out

“No way!” may be what you’re thinking. But consider this…how many emails do you get in your inbox per day? How many online ads or social media posts do you see per day? People are overloaded. Couldn’t everyone benefit from a little less noise? A short email to prospects who’ve been stagnant may actually spur the action you want as they say, “I’ve been watching from the sidelines for too long and now it’s time for me to act!”



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For over two decades, GPRS has been a trusted higher education marketing agency, offering custom solutions to institutions of all sizes and degree types. Admissions directors, marketing directors, deans, and presidents rely on GPRS to provide a depth of services, including strategy, lead generation, digital marketing, nurture communications, recruiting, and analytics.

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