Turning Leads into Enrollments: The Importance of Speed to Inquiry

As your digital marketing and pay-per-click ads generate inquiries, the next step is to quickly respond in order to turn them into leads. The problem is that the majority of colleges and universities face an overburdened staff with only one or two enrollment counselors responding to all incoming inquiries.

Many schools are just now grasping how this affects their enrollments. In this highly competitive market, not responding, or responding too slowly, increases the likelihood that the inquiring student will choose another option.


Inquiries generated from digital marketing campaigns are high-intent prospects that are usually looking at two to three other schools. According to the 2017 Aslanian Market Research of Online College Students, 61% of students start school with the first institution that contacts them.

So, what is Speed to Inquiry?

Speed to inquiry is how quickly an enrollment counselor contacts a lead to move it through the enrollment funnel. This creates an open line of communication with prospective students to answer all the questions they may have – and help progress them through the enrollment process. This process of quickly responding and engaging inquiries has a distinct market advantage that helps entice prospects to apply and ultimately become students.


What Students Value in Their Search

While students value a quick response from schools that they reach out to, they are mainly searching for information. Some of the key topics prospects want to investigate include: if the school offers the degree they want to pursue, the tuition and related fees, and available financial aid options.

In fact, 47% of students said they would prefer to find out how much financial aid they would receive before applying. Therefore, quickly responding to inquiries creates a dialogue where you may be able to review information that is important to prospective students.

Common Marketing Challenges Facing Higher Ed Institutions

As higher education institutions experience enrollment declines, many are now missing net revenue goals. This has resulted from challenges such as:

  • Increased competition from more schools
  • Shrinking pool of prospective applicants
  • Overburdened staff
  • No longer a “traditional” educational trajectory for schools to market to

How are colleges and universities overcoming these difficulties? Many partner with third-party agencies, such as EducationDynamics, that provide high-touch enrollment services to drive revenue without additional headcount. By extending institutions’ resources to improve the frequency and quality of student engagement, they see benefits like lower cost per inquiry, increase in conversion rates and overall productivity.

Generating Leads Through Digital Campaigns

More and more higher education institutions are using digital campaigns to generate leads. To maximize the ROI from these efforts, which often generate high-interest leads, it’s important to make contact with prospective students as quickly as possible. Without the back-end support to follow through with the generated leads, implementing digital marketing efforts can be costly and yield minimal returns.


60% of students submitted an application to a school within four weeks after starting their search for an online program.

Using Mobile to Quickly Respond to Leads

As shown above, students are looking to make a quick decision when it comes to choosing a school. They are now using their mobile device as opposed to desktops or laptops. In 2017, more than 80% of online college students conducted some, almost all, or all of their college research on their mobile device.

This only adds to the importance of immediate response to inquiries as these prospective students can literally be contacted in real time. Is your school missing out on the opportunity to turn these inquiries into enrolled students?

Real Time Inquiries and Responses

With only four weeks from the time prospective students begin their research to the time they send out an application, colleges need to respond to every inquiry to maximize the ROI of digital marketing efforts.

This is especially true during weekends and holidays, as 49% of online undergraduate students work full-time and 71% of online graduate students work full-time. That means these students are usually searching for colleges outside of normal business hours, which adds to the difficulty that many colleges and universities face when it comes to speed to inquiry.

At EducationDynamics, we receive inquiries for our partner colleges and universities in real-time and respond very quickly in order to move the lead through the enrollment funnel by developing a trusting relationship through an open line of communication.

Want to learn more about the impact real-time inquiry delivery and rapid response can have on your enrollment goals? Schedule a free, no obligation enrollment consultation here.