Admission Campaign Strategy to Improve Quality Leads for School/ College Programs

We often struggle with poor quality leads when we run a campaign and we always want to improve the quality leads. So, here are some tips and tricks that you need to understand to improve the quality leads. To address this issue, you should be entirely aware of the entire customer journey and access to all the platforms. Here is an example:-

Digital Marketing Strategy to Improve quality leads to admission campaigns

Let us say, you are running campaigns for college admission for different courses across different geographies and you are getting poor leads for admission. In that situation what should you do? There are a lot of things that you can do but here are some of the things that you should also consider doing.


Demand & Supply

Is there any demand for what you are trying to sell?

Before launching the campaign, you need to do research on demand and supply. For example, if you are trying to sell MBBS degree to Canada, you need to first know if people or the prospective students in that particular age group in Canada are actually looking for MBBS degree in your country.

Some of the tools that you use for this research purpose is:

  • Google trends
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Think with Google etc.

Why should they choose you?

So now, if you are sure that people are looking for those particular courses in those particular areas, then you have to make sure that they choose you. Here, you can ask some questions to yourself:

  • What do I offer which is not easily available in the targeted country?
  • Do the students have a career orientation after they finish the course?
  • Can students from that particular country afford the tuition fee?
  • Are they willing to travel to a new country?

There could be a lot of questions that you can ask and have the answer for yourself. List as many questions as you could and try to answer those questions. You can also assign some weights to all questions based on their importance.

Another thing I would like to suggest here is, if possible, take a survey of students from different programs and ask those questions. It would become easier for you to assign them a weight. Also, You can come to know more about what students think when applying to a particular program. A proper demand and supply research can guarantee 20% of better leads.

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Budget Allocation

Once you have done the entire research, I would suggest you do the budget allocation per different countries per different program. The initial demand and supply research that you did per country for each program will save you a lot of time in making the campaigns. So now, you do not make the campaigns randomly but based on some data.

Target Group

So now you have all the data to back your plan up. Now is the time for targeting. If you have historical data here then awesome. You can get everything from there for better targeting. But if you have no historical data. You can look at the current program batch and deduce a number of targeting decision from there.

Audience target group

Basically, targeting is, in short, considering a lot of different factors such as age group, gender, location, education level etc. before making a final decision. Here is a list of sample question that you should ask yourself for targeting:

  • Should age group vary across different countries because people graduate at a different age?
  • Are you advertising in the local language and is your course in a different language?
  • For a particular course, do a student need to be affluent?
  • What ratio of the gender you think should be ideal?
  • Should you be only targeting the affluent cities?
  • What should be the level of education of the target group?
  • Which is the viable channel for a particular targeted region?
  • What is the internet speed in the targeted region?
  • How often people access the internet there?

Think of as many possible cases as you could to narrow down the targeting. Here is an example:

  • Students in some of the African country only access internet twice or thrice a week in which one day is a weekend. The internet speed is slow and the mailbox is the first thing that they check when they go to the internet cafe. 

Here is another scenario:

  • Young generations in the US use Snapchat & Instagram more than Facebook or Whatsapp. They trust a review and recommendation from an internet celebrity more than an ad. 

So, if you think you know about your target audience, rethink it. That’s not the all always. A perfectly identified target group will further enhance your leads quality for sure.

Targeting Channels

Once you have your target group identified, you would surely want to start researching on the targeted channels. One shoe does not fit all. So, you need to start listing down all the possible digital touch points in a particular targeted region. Here are some of the scenarios

  • While Facebook seems to be a viable option for targeting students ranging from 20-25 in the developing countries, the same cannot be used for targeting students in the western countries such as Canada or the US because the population has moved away from that channel.
  • In China, they have their own version of Facebook & WhatsApp.
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To put the long story in short, not all the channels are viable everywhere. So, here are some of the tricks that you can do:

  • Go to Alexa and look out for the top 100 websites that people visit in those particular countries. You will surely see a difference. Can you do media buying there? Is there any way to put your ads on those websites?
  • Explore other platforms such as Quora, Reddit, Outbrain, Programmatic, media buying.
  • Compare all the possibilities to fit your needs.

Maybe, it is a good idea to list out all the channels in an excel sheet along with the country, budget, and programs.

Unique channel targeting

We often do not think of these but targeting unique channels highly relevant to the audience can be highly targeted and beneficial. Here are some examples:

  • Twitch for gaming
  • Different subreddits for the different audiences
  • IMDB for acting or movies
  • Behance or other such animation websites for animation or 3D etc.

Ads Type

So, once you have the targeted set of channels, next you would want to define the set of ads in different sizes. Should those be static banner ads or even HTML ads? Should there be a video ad as well? What should be the language and tone of the ad?

In my opinion, the ads type is more related to creativity and targeting than optimization. And, your creative department has found the perfect way to strike the ball, you will come to know what kind of ads perform better in which location. The discussion over ads type in itself is a bigger topic.

Some Ads Type Example

  • Instagram and Facebook stories are good for brand awareness for scholarships or sort of announcements
  • Google display responsive ads perform much better to static ones
  • Social media carousel ads can be used for consideration phase
  • Static images with higher ratios such as 1:1 work the best for conversion based ads
  • Canvas ads work best for scholarship announcement

Writing the ad copies

Prefer to write the ad copies in the tone of the target audience. Ad copies can prove to be a great filter for non-qualified leads. Here are some examples:

  • If you are advertising in Non-English countries and your courses are in English, A simple messaging about courses in English only can filter out a lot of unwanted traffic.
  • People tend to engage with the ads in their native language than a foreign language.
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Landing Page

A landing page is the first point of interaction to your prospective leads. That’s the first step towards confidence building in the leads.

Perfect landing page

Example of a landing page

Here are some landing pages tips:

  • Build the landing page around brand guidelines while also giving it a feel of the target audience
  • Include as much information as you can which a prospective lead might be looking for before coming down in the funnel.
  • The included information could be an admission fee, placements, program structure, Alumni, testimonials, reviews, interacting with the past students etc.


Targeting the right audience can save a whole bunch of finances. I have seen many campaigns bleeding money because they were not targeted correctly. There could be a lot of options on different platforms to target. Before you decide on targeting the audience analyze their following traits from the current and past students such as

  • age
  • gender
  • locations/ metro cities

Use Google analytics to find interests

Besides the above data from your CRM system, you can also use Google Analytics to find the interests, affinity etc of the audience. Create a persona around that audience and target that persona across different platforms based on the strength of the platform.

Retargeting audience

One of the best converting audiences that I have seen are the retargeted audience. There could be a lot of strategy around the retargeted audience such as:

  • Targeting the past 6 months CRM leads
  • Targeting the leads from events and open house
  • Targeting Email openers
  • Landing page visitors
  • Landing page to others course information page visitors
  • Targeting page visitors from different sisters programs
  • Creating lookalikes of all of these relevant audiences
  • Targeting audience who interacted with your branded campaigns such as based on video interaction, engagement etc.
  • Implement UTM or third-party cookies to further narrow down your targeting

Create More Audience

There could be a lot of different ways to get more audiences for retargeting and creating similar and lookalike audiences

  • Create Lookalike audiences based on past 6 months leads
  • Organize events, open house, portfolio reviews events, meetup events to create more audience and get more email IDs.
  • Targeting page visitors from different sisters programs
  • Run brand awareness campaigns in new potential markets and retarget the audience
  • Targeting audience who interacted with your branded campaigns such as based on video interaction, engagement etc.
  • Landing page to others course information page visitors
  • Announce scholarships from time to time to get more interested audience reach and retarget them later

Campaign Structure

You can create three different kinds of campaigns.

  • Core branded campaigns per program per target regions
  • Core Non-branded campaigns per program per target regions
  • Campaigns for different meetup types of events

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