Transparency: How to Impress Your Clients with Accurate Information

In the ever-changing world of lead generation, few topics have remained as constant in recent years as compliance and transparency. For many, transparency seems like a vague concept, another buzzword. However, it can be improved upon in a real, tangible way by providing accurate information to clients.

Companies should expect and be willing to give clients a full-access pass to the lead generation process – as intimidating as it may be. This is where compliance goes hand-in-hand with transparency: if you have put the effort into ensuring your marketing methods are compliant, there should be no issue in being transparent. Your process should be visible to not only the client, but the prospect, from clear website disclosures to contact center representatives. Clients need to know that any generated inquiries have intent and are fully aware that the company will contact them. If your client feels it necessary to audit your website or call center procedures, demonstrate full cooperation as a sign of your assurance of compliance.

Understand the client’s goals and be honest about the ability to achieve those objectives. When you work together to set realistic expectations, the client will value both the honesty and trust your ability to provide results. Whether or not you are meeting goals, ask for lead-level conversion data available to optimize campaigns. In return, you should be able to provide information about the origin of a lead if requested. For each prospect, track (at a minimum) the marketing method, landing page URL, data fields entered, disclosures and opt-ins. This level of reporting will not only impress clients, but also establish invaluable confidence in your company.

Trust is founded on transparency. Just as you would be more than willing to share positive news with your client, you should be willing to explain negative news or trends in order to develop a solution. Frequently discuss conversion plans and process changes; you will find clients are more understanding and appreciative when you are direct about your strategy. If you treat your client as a partner and provide honest and insightful information, they will reciprocate that trust.

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Higher Ed Growth help prospective college students find the “perfect fit”

By Alyssa Lee for AZ Tech Beat - September 16, 2014

Finding the right fit for ones’ college education can be a task in itself. While most entering freshmen take campus tours, talk to multiple advisors and jump through other hoops to find the perfect school, one online service is making the enrollment process easier for both the schools and the students.

Higher Ed Growth is a post-secondary education marketing agency that bridges the degree searching process between prospective students and schools.

Through its education portals, such as TrueDegree.com, Higher Ed Growth funnels students’ degree and campus preferences, interests and location to match each individual with a school that could be described as the “perfect fit,” taking out the time, money and stress typically spent on finding the right school.

Between TrueDegree.com and Edu4Military.com, a portal that concentrates on connecting service members to military-friendly colleges, there are about 30,000 to 50,000 enrollment inquiries a month, Higher Ed Growth founder and CEO Frank Healy said.

The perfect match isn’t a one-way street. Schools are also looking for students who will meet the academic standards, Healy added.

“Schools are always looking to add more students to their roster, even schools that turn away students are looking for students,” Healy said. “They’re just looking for students that have a very specific set of skills.”

The Tempe, Ariz.-based agency also offers various tools to solve the problem of handling enrollment inquiries, statistics and marketing that administration offices often struggle with in large volume.

Such tools include its EDU server that is used by colleges to reach potential students, and its HEG Enrollment Advisor that helps manage inquiries and facilitate an easy online experience for both the students and the schools.

As schools push for higher enrollment rates, most prospective students seeking to enroll in college via Higher Ed Growth are females who fall between the ages of 27 to 40 years old, Healy said.

Over the last two decades, the amount of females enrolling in college has spiked to outpace their male peers.

In 1994, 63 percent of females pursued a college education in the fall following high school graduation, while 61 percent of males enrolled in a university, according to the Pew Research Center.

By 2012, the percentage of females enrolled in college following high school graduation jumped by 8 percent to reach 71 percent, while male enrollment remained at 61 percent.

A similar pattern can be seen along racial lines, with the biggest jump in female enrollment being among Hispanics and African Americans.

Among Hispanics who completed high school in 1994, 52 percent of men and women went on to pursue a college degree. By 2014, 76 percent of Hispanic women were enrolled in a higher education institution, outpacing Hispanic men by 13 percentage points, according to Pew.

For African Americans, men were more likely to pursue a college degree after high school in 1994. However, in 2012, the amount of African American women enrolled in college jumped by 21 percent to reach 69 percent, while male enrollment remained stagnant at 57 percent.

As interest in higher education grows for minority students, Higher Ed Growth is gaining interest from various college administrations. The agency recently earned a spot amongst the fastest growing, privately-held companies in 2014.

In a list published by Inc. magazine, a publication that focuses on growing businesses, Higher Ed Growth was ranked No. 4,791 out of 5,000 privately-held companies across the United States as the fastest growing of its kind.

The findings were based on revenue earned over a three-year span between 2010 and 2013. Jumping by 49 percent from 2010, the marketing agency raked in $8 million in revenue in 2013, according to Inc.

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Tempe education company listed among fastest growing in US

Posted: Monday, September 8, 2014 to the East Valley Tribune

By Whitney Ogden, Special to Tribune

A Tempe-based post-secondary education marketing company earned a spot among the country’s fastest-growing, privately held companies of 2014.

In a list published by Inc.com, a website that provides advice for growing businesses, Higher Ed Growth was one of 5,000 privately held companies in the United States featured as the fastest growing of its kind. The list measured the total growth of privately owned companies over a three-year span, from 2010 to 2013. Percentage of revenue increase for each company varied from 42 percent to 158,957 percent.

Higher Ed Growth finished at 4,791 and raised $8 million in revenue — representing a 49 percent increase — in three years, according to Inc.com.

The company was founded in 2007 by Arizona State University graduates Frank Healy, who is president and CEO, Eric Flottman, chief operating officer, and Adam Carlson, chief technology officer.

Higher Ed Growth connects hundreds of higher education schools such as private colleges and state universities to prospective students as a way for schools to boost enrollment rates and to offer easier opportunities for those who want to begin or continue a college education. Healy said the majority of those who enroll with colleges through Higher Ed Growth fall between 27 and 40 years old. They are often former students who are looking to either continue a degree that was never finished or they want to continue on for a master’s or Ph.D.

Today, Higher Ed Growth connects students with more than 300 higher educational facilities nationwide.

Healy said more and more colleges use Higher Ed Growth services to reach out to students who could be interested in going back for a degree. He said the company assists several local colleges like Arizona State University, which he said is one of the most active colleges in reaching out to students.

“Schools are being more proactive because it’s more competitive now,” he said. “ASU has really been a leader.”

Higher Ed Growth launched additional sites in 2011 that focused on connecting a specific demographic to colleges. The new sites include TrueDegree.com, which was created as a tool for potential students to find what schools best fit their interests. The company also createdEDU4Military.com, which assists service members who are looking for military-friendly colleges. The company has used other means to expand its profits, which includes outsourcing its technology to competitors who also assist students in finding schools.

Healy said the company plans to review recent financial data in February 2015 to determine the next step in order to continue its growth.

“As you’re in business, you see some new opportunities,” he said. “I’ve definitely made some mistakes along the way, but we’ve made some good companies.”

Best Practices for Lead Generation in Higher Education

The higher education industry has shifted dramatically in light of the recovering economy, changing technology and new government regulations. This shift is reflected by recent trends in the industry. Educational inquiries are down from recent years as students return to the workforce. Online program enrollments are on the decline, while campus enrollments remain steady. Health care and medical degree enrollments are increasing while business degrees slowly decrease. More students are using mobile phones to research colleges and universities, opening opportunities for mobile and text advertising. Negative press surrounding student loans and the education system are making students question the value of a degree. Schools are responding to legislation with increased compliance and transparency standards, and re-evaluating their recruitment methods. Amongst all these changes, schools and inquiry generators alike need to quickly adapt their inquiry generation methods.

The higher education vertical is unique in the lead generation industry as a result of its vast array of organizations. In paid search, education keywords are far more competitive than other industries, meaning that costs are higher. As regulations increase, marketing methods are limited and companies must come up with new and effective ways to reach potential students. According to Google, about 80 percent of students haven’t decided which school to attend when they begin their education search, so colleges need to present students with their school offerings as soon as possible to be included in the consideration set. Unlike some industries, education is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so matching students with programs that they will excel in is vital.

In the past, lead generation has focused on quantity over quality, but the industry has shifted for the better to focus on high-quality leads above all else. First and foremost, compliance and transparency are not optional. Make sure that prospects are fully aware of your matching process. Websites should have clear disclosures and messages, and contact center representatives need to be fully informative and honest to allow students to make choices based on best fit. Successful inquiries are those who trust your organization to meet their needs. Mobile advertising allows organizations to create click-to-call campaigns, connecting students directly to schools for questions and application information. Changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) have opened the door for organizations to text consenting inquiries, and marketers should take advantage of this by creating relevant texting campaigns for today’s generation. Companies should also be using data verification services to increase lead quality while reducing return rates.

The colleges and organizations that will be successful through changes in the industry are those that pay attention to student needs. As the workforce changes, highlight programs that translate into in-demand careers. As technology changes, adapt the way you reach out and communicate with prospects. From government to colleges to lead partners, the main goal in the higher education industry should always be successful students and graduates.

Higher Ed Growth is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. Higher Ed Growth has a long history of understanding and evolving to provide compliant solutions. Visit www.higheredgrowth.com to learn more about our services and how quality prospects lead to successful students.

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Compliance: Staying Ahead of Changing Legislation

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled to make changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 2012, companies in every industry panicked. The TCPA revision included a new prerequisite of prior express written consent for contacting consumers via autodialed or prerecorded calls. Marketers scrambled to both define and implement this new regulation by its effective date in late 2013. As our own company prepared for these changes, we realized that this was an opportunity to increase both quality and transparency in lead generation. In review of the last year since the TCPA implementation, it is clear that FCC reignited an important issue for organizations: compliance. Compliance has become a rising topic in industries from education to financial services to health care as companies recognize its far-reaching effects.

In business, compliance means adhering to legislation and guidelines that are set by the industry or company. This is a main focus right now in a large part due to the growing number of regulations in every industry – as regulations increase, organizations must learn, adapt and apply new procedures that cost time and money. As we’ve seen in recent news, non-compliance results in mild to severe fallouts. The allegations of legislation disobedience alone can ruin an institution in terms of both clients and prospects. Repairing the damages of negative press surrounding non-compliance is exceedingly difficult, and few companies are able to fully recover. Current concerns are undeniably focused on the more serious consequence of lawsuits, which can financially devastate companies. With the risk of losing an organization to negative press and lawsuits, it is no wonder that businesses are eager to understand compliance.

So how do organizations ensure they are compliant and remain that way with ever-changing legislation? Recently, the word showing up alongside compliance is “transparency”. Transparency means, in a broad sense, effectively communicating the expectations and outcomes of doing business with your company to clients and prospects. This transparency applies to every part of the company model. In online lead generation, landing pages and disclosures should accurately describe what the prospect will receive (calls, emails, etc.) when submitting their information. Contact center representatives need to be honest and knowledgeable, providing prospects with a clear understanding of company services. Transparency ensures that companies are not sidestepping necessary procedures for the sake of conversions. Processes should be audited continuously, checking for gaps in compliance or transparency.

Remaining aware of upcoming and current rulings in the industry is crucial to planning and staying ahead of the curve. It is also important to realize that ensuring compliance is a continuous process of research, updating procedures and auditing. When companies are transparent, they reduce the risk of negative media and litigation. With a steady rise in government regulations surrounding businesses, there is no doubt that compliance will remain a central topic of discussion as companies calibrate to comply.

Higher Ed Growth is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. Higher Ed Growth has a long history of understanding and evolving to provide compliant solutions. Visit www.higheredgrowth.com to learn more about our services and how quality prospects lead to successful students.

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