Industry Trends Forecast for 2015

With 2015 just around the corner, organizations are starting to look into upcoming trends and insights that they can expect in the new year. Lead generators have begun developing new and innovative lead generation strategies, and some topics from 2014 are still trending hot.

So what can we anticipate for 2015? Below are Higher Ed Growth’s predictions for the coming year:

Redefining and Investing in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing will join forces with digital selling in a very meaningful way. We will see a more conscious effort to bring back the basics within digital marketing and selling. This change will come from reevaluations of the target audience to determine what is and isn’t working – making sure that both the service and the message is relevant to the customer. Many companies are also reprioritizing allocation and investments to improve on content distribution, with a focus on personalized, rich media that engages the audience.

Mobile-Friendly Forms and Sites

As the number of people using their mobile phones to research and purchase continues to increase, mobile-friendly and responsive websites and forms will continue to be vital. Users want devices to match their contextual environment, so expect to see a demand for highly customized experiences that give the user exactly what they want when they want it. Today, mobile device users expect a high performing, mobile friendly website. Not only does your site need to display and function properly, it also needs to have a layout presented in an eye-catching and attractive format.

Consumer Retention

It’s no secret that big data is changing the way marketers learn and measure success in the consumer lifecycle. This year saw the start of a push to focus on retention as the main success event. Companies will approach customer retention as a priority to ensure they are meeting the needs of consumers and keeping those customers satisfied. As a result, retention will start to become a metric of success for lead generators, instead of the traditional focus on acquisition.

From technology trends to changes in business processes, there is much to consider as we enter the new year. These trends will be a topic of conversation among all industries and companies.

As lead generators, be sure to evaluate and consider trends in your specific industry to prepare for changes in 2015, and use the year as an opportunity to test new ideas and make improvements within your organization. We look forward to another year of great strides and advancements.

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/industry-trends-forecast-2015/

Nontraditional Students Offer Opportunities for Lead Generation Companies

The higher education industry has seen a growing number of non-traditional students deciding to return to school, which has been a huge opportunity for companies that specialize in lead generation, especially in this industry.

These nontraditional students include those enrolled part-time, parents, full-time workers and adult learners. Along with the ever-changing workplace, there are numerous reasons as to why these groups of students are choosing to go back to school. Some are seeking a career change, hoping to start on a new path. Others may be wanting new skill sets or credentials to move up within their profession. Whatever the intention may be, starting or retuning to school can be an overwhelming process.

There are many options when it comes to choosing the right college and degree program, and potential students are well aware of this. They are doing in-depth research on various institutions to find one that meets their specific needs and lifestyle. Nontraditional students have unique characteristics; when it comes to making a decision on a school, they are more concerned about job preparation, balancing school with work and family responsibilities, and cost. Adult students are taking advantage of free web-based college search tools, which provide them with tailored information about schools they are most interested in.

Nontraditional students’ priorities and responsibilities differ from the average college student. With change comes challenges, and these students manage responsibilities like family and full-time positions. So what are they doing to manage, stay up-to-date and remain competitive in the era of technological advances? When it comes to getting an education in today’s world, many find themselves taking advantage of technology to pursue an education that would otherwise be unattainable. These students are utilizing online classes to earn their degrees on their own time. They are using online forums and focus groups to meet fellow peers and compare notes, experiences and insight.

Some adult students have taken to writing their own blogs and forums regarding their experience in searching for colleges, attending college, and juggling classes with their daily responsibilities. Colleges and lead generators alike should scour these blogs for insight into the life cycle of a nontraditional learner.

As a result, colleges can offer the right support system for this unique set of learners, including accommodating schedules and connecting them with others in their same situation. Lead generators can use this life cycle information to provide targeted messages and relevant information to potential students.

The higher education industry will continue to see a rise in nontraditional student enrollments, and should keep this group of students on their radar.

Leadscon Article Link:http://www.leadscon.com/nontraditional-students-offer-opportunities-lead-generation-companies/

Strengthening Lead Generation through a Stronger Landing Page

Online lead generation has changed drastically over the past decade as marketers attempt to utilize a variety of digital marketing methods to generate inquiries. Organic search, pay-per-click, social media, display advertising and email offers are some of the many ways that advertisers get visitors to their site, and more importantly, their landing page. The landing page is a critical step in the lead generation process – the visitor must not only be interested in your product or service, but also must trust that you can provide what they need. Here are some tips on how to get your inquiry to hit “submit”.

1. Ensure Cohesive Content

From start to finish, visitors to your landing page should feel a sense of cohesiveness. The headline and copy should match the advertising used to get visitors to your page – if your ads say “Get Auto Insurance in California”, the landing page should be specific to California residents looking for car insurance. Images should directly relate to your landing page purpose, and provide directional cues for the user. Content needs to be relevant, useful and engaging.

2. Provide Clear Message and Purpose

Get to the point right away. The user should know the purpose of your landing page within seconds of looking at it. The page should have a single purpose and focus: one message, one form and one call-to-action. The call-to-action (CTA) should be compelling, large, easily found and above the fold. Use bullet points to break down information in an easily digestible format.

3. Reduce Friction

The form should be on the first page the user comes to. Forms should be as short as possible, collecting only necessary information. If you do need to collect a great deal of information, move additional fields to a secondary page. Eliminate or reduce navigation links; if you do direct users to another landing page for additional information about your offer, make sure that page also has a form to collect user data.

4. Establish Trust

Every aspect of your landing page should establish trust with the user – from the copy to the form to disclosures. Disclosures should follow industry standards, and make it clear to the user what will happen after they submit their information. Privacy statements and third party assurances, such as TRUSTe or VeriSign, help promote this trust and give the visitor confidence in your site.

5. Test Everything

Testing is vital to ensuring that you are getting the maximum return on your advertising investment. A/B and multivariate test copy, images, forms – anything that could affect the user experience and change their perception of what you are offering. Calibrate your landing page based on conversions and ROI. Through testing, you can discover insights about your customers that aid in the success of current and future landing pages.

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.

LeadsCon News Link

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.

LeadsCon News Link

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

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Higher 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.

Higher Ed Growth’s three-year growth rate of 49% landed Higher Ed Growth on this prestigious list. 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.

Where Tech and Education Meet

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,” said 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.

Best-in-Class Technology

Just shy of its one year anniversary, HEG launched its proprietary Enrollment Advisortechnology. 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 exceed the service levels of our competitors as a result of our technology,” said Adam Carlson, Chief Technology Officer.

Compliance and Customer Service Advantage

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. This created the opportunity for those like HEG who were doing things above board.

“I knew when I joined HEG that a transformation was needed in order to regain market share and exceed the expectations that had been placed on our industry. The continued focus on customer service in conjunction with prioritizing compliance and complete transparency, proved to be the right formula for success. I’m extremely proud of what our team has accomplished in such a short time,” said Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and CMO.

Student-Centric Offerings

In September of 2011, as a part of HEG’s new marketing strategy, it launched its 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,” said 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.”

More Growth on the Horizon

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 first half of 2014 continues to be noteworthy.   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 mobile trademark infringement, and EduMaximizer, which is a dynamic, plug and play call center solution for those operating in education. March brought exciting news for the HEG team as they were presented the LEADER Award for Best New Partner by LeadsCouncil, an independent association established to foster trust in the lead generation industry.

“Our recent awards bring long-awaited recognition to Higher Ed Growth as a leader in the higher education sector,” said 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 continue our growthas 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.

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

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