Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | May 29th, 2020

Addressing your prospects’ barriers to decision-making

Addressing your prospects’ barriers to decision-makingOn any given day, your prospects are facing many barriers in the decision-making process of pursuing a graduate program. And now, with the market uncertainty COVID-19 has created, there are even more weighty questions surrounding their ability to experience your campus and gain networking and internship opportunities.

So how do marketing and recruiting teams bridge the gap and find ways to address these barriers? It’s all about connection and communication approach.

Here we examine common barriers, how to tell when a prospect has questions and ways to address them head-on.

What are the common barriers for graduate program prospects?

Many prospects who are considering a graduate program have similar questions in common regarding cost, time commitment and admissions requirements.

And for those considering an MBA or Executive MBA program, they may have the added pressure of current job responsibilities and family commitments.

Enter COVID-19, and prospects are now overwhelmed with market uncertainty, confusion over program format in the age of social distancing and travel restrictions for international students and programs. In addition, many of the reasons people choose to attend business school are now at risk, including the ability to join student clubs, build strong networks by interacting with diverse and accomplished peers and forging relationships with faculty.

How can you tell when a prospect has a barrier?

Prior to your prospects entering your funnel, they have questions that you can address in your digital advertising, website and corresponding marketing materials. Offering direct messaging that acknowledges their hesitations can be done with provocative questions like, “Is now your time?”; or reassuring statements like, “We know you have questions, let’s chat.” You may even carve out a portion of your ad campaign or website to listing the barriers which often go unsaid during the admissions process. By doing this, you are inviting the conversation and instilling comfort and confidence in your prospects.

Once they have entered your funnel, the most critical data you have about your prospects’ interaction comes from your CRM engagement report.

  • If certain groups aren’t opening emails about application deadlines, they may need more information before they’re ready to take the next step.
  • If your leads are opening your emails but not clicking, try varying your calls to action and including different ways for them to interact like a video, an online chat or phone conversation.
  • With inactive leads that haven’t interacted in six months to a year, you can create a re-engagement campaign using an enticing offer to spur action. Some examples include a giveaway or a personal invitation to a value-added webinar.

How do you address your prospects’ barriers?

Instead of altering your strategy, try employing new communications tactics and language that is direct, caring and confident. Consider:

  • Carousel digital ads listing barriers and ending with a call to discuss them
  • Email campaigns aimed at personal consultations to address questions
  • Webinars that encourage investment in personal development
  • Connecting prospects with alumni to discuss initial fears
  • A dedicated portion of your website aimed at the decision-making process
  • Virtual admissions test prep for applicants

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to address these barriers head-on because you don’t want to call attention to them, encouraging honest conversations can go a long way. By offering ways for prospects to connect with you in conversations where they “get real”, you may find that people are more comfortable and therefore more likely to continue to engage.

If you need more ideas on how to use your CRM to nurture your business schools leads through your system or develop communication that addresses your prospects’ barriers, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a digital strategy to give your prospects clarity and confidence in the decision-making process.