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How to Increase Student Enrollment by Working Aged Leads

You’re eager to accelerate enrollment growth, but your admissions team isn't having enough qualified conversations with prospective students. How can you get more students to apply without spending more on leads? You worry your team isn’t maximizing opportunities in your existing lead pool. More conversations lead to higher enrollment, but how can you achieve this without additional lead generation costs?

What if I told you that your team may already have access to all the leads they need to generate more conversations? 

For our clients, one of the best ways to maximize opportunity and prospective student conversations is to re-engage your recently aged leads. But what exactly does that mean, and how do you best implement an aged lead re-engagement strategy to increase enrollment?

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What an aged student lead is
  • How to prioritize which aged leads to contact
  • Strategies to re-engage your these leads
  • Challenges admissions teams face when implementing aged lead outreach

By the end of this article, you’ll learn how to leverage your aged leads and avoid potential obstacles so you can boost your admissions team's results.

What Is an Aged Student Lead?

Aged leads are the prospective students in your admissions funnel who have exhausted all of your outreach attempts previously and have been unresponsive for more than 90 days. If your team only reliably attempts to contact leads for 30-60 days after a lead is generated, this window may be much shorter. 

As a leader, you may not be sure what type of outreach these leads consistently received in the past. Your team may give you grief when you ask them to attempt to re-engage these older leads. These leads may have lower engagement rates when you work with them. The combination of these factors typically results in teams writing off these leads as "dead leads."

However, the truth is that a prospective student may still be a valid lead for several reasons. In many cases, they just may not have been ready when you were. This is especially true for adult and nontraditional learners - life happens, and a prospective student’s initial plans or timelines may have changed.

How to Prioritize Your Aged Leads with Lead Scoring

If you have thousands of aged leads and don’t know how to prioritize them, implementing aged lead scoring can help you segment and re-engage the most valuable ones. This strategy will allow you to retroactively work your entire list of aged leads in the next 30 days. Plus, it will help you create a system or routine for reworking aged leads on an ongoing basis so you don’t find yourself in this position again.

increase-student-enrollment-aged-lead-scoring

Lead scoring helps you determine which leads are engaging with your institution’s marketing and involves assigning point values to each of your leads, based on specific attributes you know about them or actions they have taken to engage with your brand.

Some standard interactions to incorporate in your aged lead scoring are:

  • Opening a marketing email
  • Clicking a link within an email
  • Visiting your institution’s website

Specific interactions can also help you identify bad-fit leads you won’t want to re-engage. If someone unsubscribes from your communications or their email bounces, it’s a good indicator that you shouldn’t attempt to contact them further. Typically, your marketing platform will allow you to assign these contacts a negative score so they can be added to “do not contact” lists.

Overall, aged leads with a higher score will be of higher value and should be prioritized in your re-engagement efforts.

Several popular higher education systems can implement lead scoring models, including LeadSquared, Zoho, Element451, HubSpot, and Slate.

How to Build Your Strategy to Re-Engage Aged Leads

Once the aged student leads are prioritized, you want to connect with them in a way that provides ample opportunities for them to respond.

In our experience, we’ve found using an outreach method similar to our attempting contact cadence can be an effective way for institutions to re-engage these prospective students.

When building your aged lead re-engagement strategy, follow these key steps:

  1. Determine the Goal - Identify what “success” looks like for your aged lead strategy. Possible goals could be be scheduling an appointment with your admissions team or perhaps filling out another inquiry form with more information. When your chosen goal is met, the prospective student should not longer receive messaging from your aged lead outreach.
  2. Identify Contact Mediums - For the highest chance of success, utilize multiple contact methods. The most common mediums are phone, SMS, voicemail, website chat, and email. Combining these mediums helps maximize engagement with your institution.
  3. Determine the Cadence - Discuss how many contact attempts there will be for aged leads, the frequency of those attempts, and the time of day each attempt will be made. Based on our results you must contact them at least 3-4 times over a 7-10 day period by phone and SMS. We recommend planning for some of the contacts to occur on evenings or weekends, as that’s the time most prospective students are available.
  4. Develop Relevant, Personalized Messaging - Document the messaging for each step in the process. When doing so, explore messages specific to the student population you are communicating with. SMS messages, voicemails, and emails need to be personalized and personal. Even if these messages are automated in a bulk format, you should be speaking to them directly, as if they are the only person that received that message. Bulk marketing efforts at this stage will not generate the results you are looking for. Always, ask them to call or text you back. Consider providing them with your office hours for the next 2-3 days to really lean on a personal message that seems as if it was sent one-to-one. 
  5. Build Processes and Tracking Systems - It’s key to document your aged lead processes and strategy so your team can be effective and efficient in completing the work. In addition, considering implementing a system to track the progress of your aged leads to ensure a smooth experience for both the students and your admissions team!

If you aren’t doing all of these steps as part of your higher ed admissions strategy, you are doing it wrong!

Challenges Admissions Teams Face When Trying to Implement Aged Lead Outreach

While re-engaging your aged prospects is an excellent strategy, some challenges may arise. The most common challenges are:

Bandwidth Issues

If your team already has challenges contacting every prospective student, or if you’ve had staff turnover, implementing an aged lead outreach strategy on your own will be difficult, if not impossible.

Additionally, reallocating your staff to work aged leads could result in less availability for contacting new, engaged leads. Finding the balance between new vs. aged leads can be particularly challenging for small admissions teams. 

Pushback Against Cold-Calling

Most admissions staff don’t want to “cold call” prospective students. Calling 200 leads per day requires 7+ hours on the phone. The majority of counselors were not hired with these types of expectations in their job descriptions. As a result, it can be tough to ask an admissions team to call a group of leads that may have low engagement rates, and some resistance happens when you do because it is not work that they were initially hired to do.

A typical admission counselor will want to focus on valuable, relationship-building conversations - not attempting to connect with leads who haven’t responded to prior outreach. If this is the case, you should hire a contact center to do this work or consider bringing on a contact center within your institution that will excel and thrive with this work.

Technology Limitations

Without the proper systems for tracking leads and outreach, it’s challenging to know what’s working and what’s not. In addition, not having the right product to systemize outreach efforts and use multiple contact methods (such as bulk texting) will limit the type of outreach your team can use.

By understanding these potential challenges, you can better prepare and plan as you introduce an aged lead strategy as part of your admissions processes.

Work with an Admissions Partner to Re-Engage Your Aged Leads

Now that you understand how aged lead scoring works, strategies to get started, and potential challenges that may come up, you may feel overwhelmed.

When your team is already stretched thin, adding another strategy to your admissions outreach work can seem impossible.

When facing these challenges, admissions leaders like you consider outsourcing part of their admissions process so their team can focus on connecting with the most qualified prospective students.

If you need immediate improvements to your outreach efforts, consider working with a higher education contact center like Enrollment Builders. A contact center regularly helps institutions implement lead scoring and re-engagement for aged leads to clean up their CRMs and improve their enrollment systems.

A higher education contact center will have established strategies and technologies for working with aged leads in your admissions funnel that you can implement in a matter of weeks without adding additional work to your team’s plate.

To discover if partnering with a higher education contact center is the right solution for you, read the article: