In the complex world of recruitment marketing, generating student leads or inquiries is vital. It gets prospective students and their families into your database, allowing you to build personalized follow-up campaigns that range from emails to admissions counselor follow-ups. At the same time, generating student leads can also be immensely challenging. Virtual campus tour options, engaging events, and other tools need to become more integrated into every campus’s approach.
Consider the rise of so-called stealth applicants, who never enter your radar until they submit their applications because they’ve done all their research without submitting an inquiry. This is just one reason why lead generation is among the biggest challenges higher education marketers face. Fortunately, a few sources can help—and not all of them may be immediately obvious. Take virtual campus tours as an example. They might be designed as an engagement-first tool. But when executed correctly, they can also play a significant role in generating inquiries.
Consider these four ways in which your virtual campus tour can help you build your pool of student leads.
1. Gate Your Tour Behind a Sign-Up Page
The first option is to treat your tour as a type of gated content: it’s free to use but ‘hidden’ behind a sign-up page. Then, anyone who wants to tour your campus virtually simply has to provide their name and contact information, as well as some secondary information like their enrollment term or the major they’re interested in.
This is the most direct lead generation opportunity. But it also comes with some drawbacks. Most importantly, you are limiting access to your tour only to audiences who want to sign up. Anyone else, even interested students who might simply be wary of handing over their data, will not have access to this vital recruitment tool.
2. Periodically Offer Lead Generation Opportunities
A less intrusive alternative to the first option is to utilize pop-ups as part of the virtual campus tour experience. Instead of gating the tour behind a sign-up form, the same form simply pops up periodically throughout the experience.
In this scenario, your audience can close out the form if they don’t want to learn more about the school. On the other hand, they might not have much incentive to sign up. After all, they are already getting a good experience, and the sign-up is no longer directly connected to a direct incentive.
3. Offer the Natural Follow-Up to Your Virtual Tour
Research consistently shows that virtual tours are not a replacement for physical campus visits. Instead, they tend to be precursors, with students checking out your campus online earlier in the funnel before deciding whether a campus tour or open house visit is worth their time and attention.
The right virtual tour can leverage that fact. A call-to-action might not link to a general inquiry form. Instead, it could link to a form specifically designed to drive campus visits. Your audience can sign up for the next tour or event directly from the tour’s navigation bar or through a pop-up, incentivizing them to take that next step in their enrollment journey.
4. Present the Opportunity to Learn More About Specific Topics
Finally, it’s possible to get even more specific in your quest for student leads. Chances are that your virtual tour covers several specific campus-related topics you’re particularly proud of. Options might be:
- The new academic building
- A vibrant downtown, or
- Newly renovated residence halls
A well-placed inquiry form can prompt your audience to learn more specifically about that topic.
This inquiry form can live on your virtual campus tour in a number of spaces. It might be placed close to the navigation when a link to learn more is closely related to a specific spot. Or it could be a hot link in the middle of the virtual environment your audience is navigating. Either way, its existence allows you to build personalized communications plans to satisfy your audience’s need to dive deeper.
Ready to Turn Your Virtual Campus Map Into a Student Lead Generation Machine?
A virtual campus tour is much more than just a way to show off your physical space and engage your audience. Built the right way, they can also help you drive more student leads, enhancing your enrollment funnel in the process.
Ready to learn more? Contact us to learn about our virtual tour solution and how it can become part of your inquiry generation machine.