Higher Ed Growth Named to the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies

featureHigher Ed Growth, a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education, announced today that it has been named #4,791 on the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately-held companies in the U.S. This is the first time the company has been named to the prestigious list in its seven year history. Higher Ed Growth’s three-year growth rate was 49 percent, with an increase in revenue of $2.7 million. Growth in the company has been marked not only by positive revenue growth month after month, but also by securing new partnerships, developing one-of-a-kind technology solutions and expanding its team.

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) was founded in June of 2007 by Frank Healy, Adam Carlson and Eric Flottmann. Merging their extensive experience in higher education, internet lead generation, sales, customer relations and technology, they created a company with an array of services to help colleges and universities enroll students. Within a few months, HEG launched its first education portal, Udegrees.com

“We started the company with a modest investment of cash and a strong investment of talent and sweat equity,” says Frank Healy, President and CEO of Higher Ed Growth.

Since HEG’s beginning, the higher education industry has transformed multiple times as the economy collapsed and slowly recovered. When the recession hit in 2008, HEG was fortunate to be in the right market; people in the workforce tend to return to school during an economic downturn to obtain a degree. As a result, HEG was able to weather the recession by matching colleges with the increased number of interested potential students.

Just shy of its year anniversary, HEG launched its proprietary Enrollment Advisor technology. Enrollment Advisor is a lead management platform that is at the root of all of HEG’s inquiry generation services and products.

“Enrollment Advisor has been our most powerful tool in allowing us to provide real-time information to our clients efficiently. Even as a small company, we have always been able to provide the same level of service as our competitors as a result of our technology,” says Adam Carlson, Chief Technology Officer.

In 2011, HEG faced multiple difficulties as higher education sector continued to shift. Negative press surrounding colleges (specifically for-profit) focused on the lack of graduate job placement in the midst of a recovering economy, causing many to question the value of a degree. An increase in government legislation targeting for-profit schools also meant stricter compliance guidelines. The lead generation industry was turned on its head as many non-complaint companies folded under their own fraud. Higher Ed Growth realized that it would have to increase its own compliance standards in order to survive, and quickly overhauled all media relations to start over with fully transparent partners.

“I knew when I joined HEG that their number one priority was outstanding customer service, which has resulted in a large database of satisfied clients. We focus on complete transparency. As a result, our clients trust us as a compliant partner for exceeding their enrollment goals,” says Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and CMO.

As a part of HEG’s new marketing strategy, they launched their second education portal, TrueDegree.com. TrueDegree was created with prospective students in mind, matching them to the school of best fit. TheGIBill.com (later re-branded as EDU4Military.com) was created shortly thereafter for servicemen seeking military-friendly schools. Both of these portals utilize HEG’s unique matching algorithm that considers both student and school needs.

“Every student is different. Every school is different,” says Eric Flottmann, Chief Operating Officer. “Over the years we have compiled an extensive database of our clients’ conversion data, enabling us to optimize campaigns for the unique needs of each school we work with. This data also drives the powerful algorithms we have built into the core of our technology. Our system learns and improves with each interaction and matches students to schools where they will have a high likelihood of success.”

Higher Ed Growth was thrilled to celebrate its five year anniversary in June of 2012 after years of overcoming adversity in the economy and industry. A few months later, HEG acquired the mobile lead generation network MobileLeads.com to expand its service offering to clients.

The beginning of 2014 was busy as HEG continued to develop its lead generation solutions with the release of EduServer, a website advertising tool designed to give advertisers and web owners the ability to optimize online lead generation. HEG also launched TM Tracker, which monitors the web for trademark infringement. March brought exciting news for the HEG team as they were presented the LEADER Award for Best New Partner by LeadsCouncil.

“HEG’s recent awards bring long-awaited recognition to Higher Ed Growth as a leader in the higher education sector,” says Healy. “We are proud to be named to the Inc 5000 list and ranked among esteemed entrepreneurs who are influencing the U.S. We look forward to our continued growth as a forward-thinking, customer-focused business serving colleges, universities and students.”

 

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG uses propriety technology to deliver targeted enrollment leads to for-profit and nonprofit education clients. In addition to inquiry generation, HEG offers agency of record services, enrollment analytics and consulting, search engine marketing and white label portals – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients. Visit www.higheredgrowth.com.

Media Contact:

Carol Klimas

carol.klimas@offmadisonave.com

480-505-4527

Off Madison Ave

 

More about Inc. and the Inc. 500|5000

Methodology

The 2014 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2010 to 2013. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2010. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent–not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies–as of December 31, 2013. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2010 is $100,000; the minimum for 2013 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/5000.

About Inc. and the Inc. 5000

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.  Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today.  For more information, visit http://www.inc.com/ .

The Inc. 500|5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list of the nation’s most successful private companies has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates their remarkable achievements. The event also offers informative workshops, celebrated keynote speakers, and evening functions.

For more information on Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Conference, visit http://www.inc.com/.

Frank Healy Featured in Arizona Foothills Trendsetters

Frank Healy, President and CEO of Higher Ed Growth, was recently featured in Arizona Foothills Magazine Trendsetters as an up and coming entrepreneur. Read his profile below, or on the Arizona Foothills site.

President and CEO of Higher Ed Growth

Name: Frank Healy

Age: 36

Title: President and CEO of Higher Ed Growth

Married/Single: Single

Kids: No

City you live in: Tempe

I was born…

in Globe, Ariz.

 

My favorite thing about Arizona…

is the diversity of the landscape. You can drive a few short hours and go from a warm desert to a cool pine forest.

I’m listening to…

a little bit of everything. I like top 40 songs, but I love early 80s music. My brother used to DJ at weddings in the 80s, and I still have all of his forty-fives from then.

My family…

aided in my success. My parents instilled in me the importance of an education, which eventually led to why I decided to take my skills and apply them to a business centered on higher education.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

my mom’s dad. He died when I was young. He served in the military and was on a U.S. gunboat in between World Wars II and I. I would love to sit down with him and hear all the stories he couldn’t tell me when I was a kid, which of course, are the ones I really want to hear.

One thing I cannot live without…

is the ability to choose my own direction in life.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

a toy maker or inventor. I came up with crazy ideas for toys and wanted to invent them so I could play with them.

I’m inspired by…

successful people—not just the ones who make a lot of money, but the kind, successful people who give back to their community.

The one person who motivates me is…

my brother, he’s an entrepreneur himself and a very hard worker.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

all the turmoil in the Middle East.

The perfect day would be…

on the beach, and I have somehow misplaced my phone.

My first job was…

bussing tables at the Village Inn. I was 17, and it was the grossest job ever.

My favorite escape…

is this really cool house I have stayed at a few times in Costa Rica. It is in the middle of the jungle and is so remote that the power usually goes out. At night you can hear the thousands of animals that surround you.

My life…

is unpredictable yet predictably fulfilling.

I’m currently working on…

moving into a new house really close to work! All I think about during the day is all the unpacking I still need to work on when I get home.

Always…

strive to fix problems not direct blame.

Never…

forget the people who helped you get to where you are.

Favorite Quote…

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” – Winston Churchill.

Biggest Dream…

is to improve the education system. Education is one of the most important things, and we cannot progress as a nation without continuing to improve. It enforces all the hard work of the people who fought to make our country what it is. It is my hope that my company, Higher Ed Growth, contributes to improving our system and helping students achieve higher education by helping them find the best school for their needs and lifestyle.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

is people who say there is no such thing as a dumb question.

5 Key Takeaways for Higher Education Marketing from APSCU 2014

Every year, thousands of school presidents, deans and representatives gather at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) Convention & Exposition to learn about recent trends and insights in higher education. Higher Ed Growth celebrated its seventh year of attendance at this annual event and noted distinct themes and key topics from highlighted presenters including the need for increased compliance, transparency and emphasis on the student experience. The following are key themes and takeaways from this year’s exciting event:

1. Compliance is increasingly important.

Legislative action for private colleges and universities is currently higher than normal, with media attention focusing on student debt. Federal and state action targeting for-profit colleges is likely to continue with force, and as a result, compliance is the most important focus of schools right now. Compliance problems can destroy an institution, both by costly litigation and enrollment drops due to negative press coverage.

2. Transparency is key in student satisfaction.

Both compliance and transparency are vital to school success. As social media grows, student satisfaction and dissatisfaction with schools can go viral in a matter of minutes to thousands of onlookers. Schools who truly care about student success will thrive in today’s open and transparent environment.

3. Round out the student experience through effective customer service solutions.

Admissions representatives have the power to make or break the student experience. Hiring and training representatives who focus on helping students better their lives is paramount. These representatives need to be extremely knowledgeable while conveying the honest details of their enrollment process and expected student outcomes.

4. Monitor, listen, measure and adjust your marketing strategy.

Schools need to be acutely aware of their online presence. Special attention must be paid to monitor their web presence and social media. Schools must regularly keep track of digital information being presented daily to ensure accuracy and compliance. If not, a school may find itself having lost control of the conversation permanently online.

5. Enrollments are on the decline, but the modern student is mobile.

Educational inquiries are down compared to 2013 as the economy recovers and students return to the workforce. Online program enrollment is also down, while campus inquiries remain steady. This data corresponds to recently released data published by Higher Ed Growth. Mobile use by enrollment prospects is continuing to be the dominant approach as 66% of potential students use a mobile device to research higher education.

For 2014, the most pervasive topic was clearly compliance. Compliance requires staying abreast of higher education legislation, while also ensuring that both prospective and current students are kept fully aware of outcomes and expectations that stem from attending your college or university. Higher Ed Growth has a long history of understanding and evolving to provide compliant solutions. Furthermore, Higher Ed Growth is committed to delivering 100% transparent marketing solutions to both students and schools. Visit www.higheredgrowth.com to learn more about our services and how quality prospects lead to successful students.

The 2015 APSCU Annual Convention and Exposition will be held in Denver, Colorado on June 2-5. For more information on this event, visit: http://www.apscuconvention.org

Higher Ed Growth Expands Team, Hires Vice President of Media

Tempe, Ariz. (PRWEB) May 19, 2014

Kelly Kearney joins Higher Ed Growth with more than 12 years’ experience working in the digital marketing industry. In his role, Kearney manages multi-million dollar budgets for many of the 400 colleges and universities that make up Higher Ed Growth’s client roster. Kearney is responsible for managing all lead-generating marketing channels for these clients, developing strategic media campaigns to achieve the clients’ goals and implementing these plans to maximize performance.

“Kearney is one of the most recognized names in the digital marketing industry and has demonstrated leadership and success throughout his career,” said Frank Healy, CEO of Higher Ed Growth. “His skills will translate well for our higher education clients who are looking to meet and exceed aggressive enrollment goals.”

Prior to joining Higher Ed Growth, Kearney worked with high-profile companies, including Sprint and EMBARQ (now CenturyLink), to develop digital marketing strategies to support customer building, new product development and lead generation services. He has also been instrumental in building significant revenue growth for several early-stage tech companies.

“Higher Ed Growth has a reputation in the industry for providing clients with effective solutions that drive results,” Kearney said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to elevate the company’s already stellar reputation.”

Higher Ed Growth specializes in post-secondary education and matching students with the right schools across the nation. With a client list comprising hundreds of colleges and universities, Higher Ed Growth works to exceed client’s goals of lead generation and digital marketing.

For more information about Higher Ed Growth and its talented team, visit http://www.higheredgrowth.com.

About Higher Ed Growth
Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG uses propriety technology to deliver targeted enrollment leads to for-profit and nonprofit education clients. In addition to inquiry generation, HEG offers agency of record services, enrollment analytics and consulting, search engine marketing and white label portals – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients. Visit http://www.higheredgrowth.com.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Lawhead
Jennifer(dot)Lawhead(at)offmadisonave(dot)com
480-505-4547
Off Madison Ave

EDU Server Case Study

Situation

As a leader in the higher education industry, Higher Ed Growth has first-hand knowledge of the challenges that schools and partners encounter with their inquiry generation goals. Last year, HEG was approached by a partner who owns multiple websites directed towards education prospects. Although the sites were attracting high amounts of traffic from outbound marketing, conversions were on the decline as form drop-off rates increased. HEG decided to study these sites’ advertising and web forms to determine why visitors were not converting.

The main problem that HEG identified was the use of link-outs to generate inquiries. In this case of link-out advertising, visitors who clicked on education display ads were directed away from the initial site and transferred to a separate landing page to fill out an inquiry form and receive results. This method causes friction for the user at multiple points. Taking a user to a separate landing page creates a disjointed experience as the branding, creative and layout change between sites. Also, although the user is transferred to another site, their information is not, forcing them to re-enter required form data. These additional pages, clicks and steps cause user indecision and distrust, decreasing likelihood of conversion.

These websites were also using inline frames (IFrames) to capture user information. While IFrames do not transfer visitors to other websites like link-outs, the user experience is equally fragmented. The ad creative and form are inserted onto the domain without consideration of the existing site design, resulting in visitor uncertainty of the website and increasing drop-off rates.

In addition to negative user experience and reduction in conversion rates, HEG found that link-outs and IFrames require the website owner to relinquish control of the user. This web owner could not update third party advertising creative to ensure cohesiveness with the sites. When he could place pixels on web forms to track conversions, the tracking was unreliable, leaving him unable to make optimizations. Although he was generating traffic for domains, this partner had little to no control of website monetization. After reviewing these issues, HEG realized that a more efficient process for online inquiry generation was necessary to increase website conversions and revenue.

Solution

Higher Ed Growth developed EDU Server in response to the disadvantages of link-out and IFrame campaigns. This product was easily integrated into the partners’ website, and studied for effectiveness.

To combat drop-off rates resulting from link-outs, HEG embedded the advertising and data collection into one seamless process on the website. As a result, the user is able to view ads and enter information without ever being redirected to another site or page. In order to continue a theme of unity between the sites and advertising, EDU Server gives complete control of creative to the website owner. The owner can customize the content, layout and design of the ads and forms, increasing cohesiveness and brand trust.

Maintaining the idea that a web owner should have control of their website traffic and advertisements, this product also gives the owner the ability to target visitors by demographic. This allows them to display relevant ads and information to the audience, increasing click-through rates. Unlike link-outs and IFrames, EDU Server records user data entered on the site through events such as registration. When the prospect selects an offer all of their information is pre-populated, so the user is not asked for the same information they have already provided. Within 1-2 clicks, the prospect can input their information, receive results and request information from schools without any friction points.

To support EDU Server and maintain a seamless process, HEG leverages its proprietary inquiry management technology, Enrollment Advisor (EA). When a prospect submits their information, the data is sent to EA, which qualifies the prospect and uses an intelligent matching algorithm to respond with eligible school programs for the site to display. The user then selects which programs they are interested in, and EA sends their information to the chosen schools.

EA also alerts if a prospect is unqualified for schools, reducing return rates for the web owner. Prospects can then be easily routed to other offers or funnels as decided by the web owner. EDU Server is able to incorporate scoring services, LeadiD and TCPA consent in order to ensure transparency. Additionally, all aspects and attributes of inquiries are tracked and stored by the system and are available to the web owner. This best-in-class technology allows the partner to optimize traffic and advertising, allowing him to efficiently monetize the websites.

Results

When Higher Ed Growth’s partner used link-outs and IFrames to generate inquiries, the websites were converting about 0.6% of visitors, with a Revenue per Impression of $0.15. Within a year of using EDU Server to improve user experience and tracking, this web owner saw a rise in conversions to 2.3% and Revenue per Impression increased to $0.56. This increase in both conversion of revenue of over 270% demonstrates the effectiveness of the EDU Server technology. By creating a seamless, simple and customized experience for visitors, this service increases click-through rates, conversions and revenues for web owners. Higher Ed Growth looks forward to helping more partners reach their inquiry generation goals with EDU Server.

EDU Server Case Study PDF