By Joe Laskowski

At Higher Ed Growth (HEG), we always look forward to the month of March because it means connecting with industry leaders at LeadsCon 2018 in Las Vegas. As a longstanding sponsor and presenter, HEG enjoys taking part in meaningful conversations around trends and the future of lead generation. LeadsCon acts as a true barometer of the industry, providing attendees with valuable insight year after year.

From the Higher Ed Growth team, these were the five biggest trends at LeadsCon 2018.


Transparency Remains a Top Topic

Regardless of the presentation or topic, transparency was top of mind at LeadsCon and for good reason. Transparency is much more than an expectation; it’s now a requirement for success.

When it comes to the lead buyer–seller relationship and the advertiser-publisher relationship, the conference underscored the critical need for trust and transparency. One thing Higher Ed Growth has always stressed is sharing data between partners. It not only supports these goals, but also strengthens outcomes. This is especially true for student success metrics in EDU marketing. Connecting the dots between marketing channels and enrollment data offers a wealth of insights and allows EDU marketers to properly optimize future campaigns.

Higher education institutions, in particular, are showcasing a steadfast commitment to transparency. Schools are more focused on the link between the transparency of its marketing partners and quality leads than ever before.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to the quality-versus-quantity debate, industry leaders are overwhelmingly choosing quality. Companies seem to be focusing more on conversions and success metrics, even if it means scaling back slightly on volume to ensure high-quality leads. New, sophisticated business intelligence tools and analytics are proving that results are driven by the right leads, not more leads. Overall, those organizations who deliver quality will be given more opportunities to expand on business relationships.

Shifts in Content Marketing & SEO

Lead generators are dedicating more resources to SEO and content marketing than they have in recent years. With strategic content for every stage of the lead lifecycle, such practices can generate low-cost, high-quality leads. When done properly, content marketing practices boost SEO and place resources toward the top of search engines. Companies that can optimize their sites with useful content will benefit. We can expect to see new and original campaign concepts in order to attract visitors and overcome a saturated market.

New Facebook Lead Generation Ads

Facebook recently introduced lead generation ads aimed toward collecting lead information in a low-friction environment. The social media innovator’s new initiative streamlines contact forms for better conversion rates and quality. Some advertisers have even reported a 56 percent reduction in cost per lead using Facebook lead ads. We’re sure to see more and more companies testing Facebook for their digital campaigns.

Actionable SMS Campaigns

Like email, text messaging isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For advertisers, SMS campaigns are growing in popularity – especially for re-targeting campaigns aimed at leads who have expressed interest but have not completed the sales funnel. Lead generators are utilizing text messages to spur action in a mobile-dependent culture.

In Higher Education, text message campaigns have also been shown to boost student outcomes. In fact, one study showed that a segment of community college students in STEM programs who received text reminders had a 10 percent higher chance of staying on track in their program. SMS campaigns are impactful. With TCPA compliance in mind, we may see SMS campaigns expand and play an even bigger role in enrollment marketing, as well.


LeadsCon 2018: Renewed Lead Gen Confidence

In recent years, there has been an underlying sense of uncertainty from LeadsCon attendees due to an ever-changing regulatory environment. Marketers weren’t sure where new guidelines would land and how they might impact compliance and bottom lines.

In 2018, however, there was a renewed confidence amongst lead generators and other industry leaders. With quarterly Consumer Financial Protection Bureau funds redirected toward the deficit and other news, signs point to a calmer period with regard to new or tightening regulations. For LeadsCon 2018, it meant conversations could center less around “what might happen” and more around “what can we make happen together.”


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