What are Lead Magnets and How Can They Boost Enrollment?

Over the course of this blog, I’ve brought up email marketing quite a bit.  That’s because it’s one of the most effective marketing strategies out there. Email marketing can be one of your school’s most powerful enrollment tools and can turn prospective or interested parents into enrolled parents.

 

But email marketing requires email addresses, and most people don’t just hand theirs over for nothing.  To collect email addresses via your website, you’re going to have to offer something that is valuable enough for the visitor to provide you their email address.  Enter the lead magnet.

 

Basically, a lead magnet is something valuable you can offer a visitor to your website in exchange for their email address.  In the commercial world, popular lead magnets include infographics, eBooks, whitepapers, and videos – but they can really be anything, so long as they help somebody solve a problem or are interesting content.

 

Why your school needs lead magnets

 

Many schools have great websites but don’t take the next critical step of turning visitors into identified, prospective parents.  They use their website just as a means of communication, rather than a marketing tool.  Telling a story is great, but better yet is using your website to tell your story and gather the names of the people that heard it.   A highly trafficked website is great, but one that actively identifies leads is much better.  A lead magnet helps you to identify those leads.

 

A lead magnet also allows parents the opportunity to take an intermediate step in engaging with your school.  They are not yet ready to tour or engage in person – but this gives them a low-pressure step to get more content from your school and to begin their relationship with you.

 

Finally, a good lead magnet strategy allows you to focus your marketing efforts.  No longer are you attempting to get “Parents” to engage with your school.  Now you know that the Jones family who you previously identified hasn’t toured yet.  Or you know that the Smith family who is coming in for a tour downloaded your eBook on your STEM program.  A good lead magnet strategy allows you to identify by name (and contact info) those parents who are interested so you can market to them more effectively.

 

 

What do good lead magnets look like?

 

Incentives only work if people perceive them as valuable and relevant. Offering prospective parents a video of your school’s graduation ceremony probably won’t garner much interest, because why would they care? Who wants to watch a video of other people’s children walking across a stage? But an eBook that explores the benefits of enrolling your child in a private school (like this school does) might do the trick.

Besides providing value by solving a relevant problem, a good lead magnet also:

  • Is immediately available
  • Focuses on a specific subject
  • Is easy to understand
  • Showcases your expertise

How to create a good lead magnet for your school

 

Step One

A good lead magnet starts with a problem your prospect wants to be solved, so brainstorm a list of common challenges and situations your prospective families may deal with. Remember – this is not just about your school, but about the challenges a parent might have.  Here are a few examples:

  • Getting their kids ready for school on time
  • Getting their kids excited about reading
  • Protecting their kids on their smartphones
  • How should they research a school

 

Step Two

Now go through each problem on your list and establish the solution, as well as all the steps required to reach that solution. Now your list looks like this:

  • Get your kids ready for school on time by designating spaces in the house for all of their supplies; prepping outfits in advance; making lunch the night before
  • Get your kids excited about reading by pinpointing their interests; sharing shorter reading material about those interests (Like bears? Here’s a short joke about grizzlies); taking turns reading longer material out loud
  • Protect your kids on their smartphones by having a frank discussion about the risks involved (texting and driving, cyberbullying, sharing personal info); instituting a phone-free period each day; setting limits on texts, data, and purchases; reviewing their contacts and apps
  • There are a lot of resources to use in researching schools.  Here are 10 questions that you should ask any prospective school

 

Step Three

Once you combine the problem and the solution, you’ve got your basic lead magnet template. So what type of content do you want to offer?

To decide between video, eBook, white paper, or flash mob, consider what medium best suits the content. If you’re making an in-depth guide on choosing a charter school, an eBook might be more appropriate than an infographic. If you’re providing a few tips on making healthy meals kids will love, an infographic or slideshow is more than enough. You could even create an online quiz to help parents establish if they qualify for financial aid or decide their education priorities.

Now your lead magnets might read:

  • Download Our Info Packet for Teaching Children Responsible Smartphone Use
  • View Our Slideshow for Tips to Getting Your Kids Ready for School on Time
  • Make Your Kids Excited to Read by Watching Our Tutorial Video
  • 10 Key Questions to Ask When you are Shopping for a New School

Delivering the lead magnet

 

To reach as many people as possible, there’s rarely a better place for a lead magnet than your website’s homepage. You can also include it on thematically related web pages. If there is a section on your website about safety, consider integrating a lead magnet on safe smartphone use. A web page on literacy or your award-winning academic program? Your lead magnet about getting kids excited to read.

You can also deliver a lead magnet via an overlay (like a pop-up but less intrusive), include it in a sidebar or footer, stick it in a resources pages, or weave it into blog posts, it really depends upon how prominent you want to make it.

 

Takeaways

 

  • Lead magnets build up your email list by capturing contact info that might have otherwise slipped away
  • A good lead magnet provides value by solving a problem relevant to the prospect
  • To create a good lead magnet, brainstorm a list of common problems your prospects might have, then come up with the solutions
  • Select the type of lead magnet based on what best suits the content
  • Put your lead magnet on your home page, as well as on pages that are thematically linked, overlays, and blog posts
Nick LeRoy

Nick LeRoy

Nick LeRoy, MBA, is the president of Bright Minds Marketing and former Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board. Bright Minds Marketing provides enrollment and recruitment consulting to private, Catholic and charter schools. For information about how Bright Minds Marketing can help your school improve its’ student enrollment, send an email to nick@brightmindsmarketing.com or call us at 317-361-5255.

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