beauty school marketing cover

I recently consulted with a small, one-campus beauty school. Their main marketing pain point was their budget. They felt like they were spending a lot of money and getting almost nothing in return. This isn’t unique. In my 8-years of working with career schools, I have found that the budget is almost always a constraint, no matter how big or small the institute.

So what can be done to fix this?

The obvious answer is to reduce unnecessary costs. So, that’s what I tried here as well.

I had them list out all of the areas where they were spending money – to see what was vital and what could be cut.

What I discovered was that they were spending money on a bunch of platforms instead of investing half that cost into one really great CRM.

Following things were driving up their costs unnecessarily. I have included the better alternatives to replace their current processes:

 

1. A cell phone plan solely for texting. 

beauty school marketing -phone call tracking

As school marketers, we all know the importance of text messages to connect with prospective students. However, with disconnected devices being used for this, the conversations weren’t recorded in the lead management system, which was a waste. They were spending 120$/month/rep on cell phone plans for texting, and these conversations weren’t even getting recorded, which was a sheer waste.

Alternative

A great school CRM has texting built directly into the core platform so that the admission reps can text back and forth with a lead, having the entire conversation saved into the contact’s record.

 

2. A mass emailing platform

beauty school marketing - email marketing

Emails are a great way to communicate with leads about your school. Whether it’s individual or mass emails, campaigns and auto-response emails should be part of your marketing plan. However, an emailing platform separate from your CRM means switching back-and-forth between different systems, and once again, no information about the leads’ engagement with your campaigns in your CRM. The school in question was spending almost 90$/month for their email marketing platform.

Alternative

Advanced school CRMs include beautiful email templates with easy drag-and-drop options, as most admissions reps aren’t HTML pros. They allow you to customize how the email appears on mobile devices and desktops, all the while tracking which emails were opened and what links were clicked by the leads.

 

3. Website developer fees for creating landing pages

beauty school marketing - landing page design

It’s common knowledge that your ads should direct prospects to landing pages with a lead form, separate from your home page. This is the number one way all career schools get leads. However, if you employ developers to create different landing pages for every single campaign, you’ll end up spending a bomb just getting the pages in place, when you have the actual ad costs to consider as well.

My client was spending almost $1500 to $2000/month developing their landing pages, which is a cost that’s completely unnecessary if you have an advanced school marketing + CRM platform.

Alternative

Investing in a CRM that allows you to create your own landing pages will save you loads of money because you won’t need to pay your website developers to create unique landing pages for all of your campaigns. Do not underestimate the value of good landing pages, as it’s the number one way to decrease your cost per lead.

 

4. A basic CRM with hardly any features

beauty school marketing- basic crm functionality

If your CRM pretty much just “houses” your leads and doesn’t give you a lot of extras, it’s not worth the monthly cost. Your admission reps’ time is so valuable, and you need to give them a CRM that acts like a rock-star assistant, not increase their work.

Alternative

Find a CRM that allows you to customize the journey of a lead and to automate the admission processes you put in place. This means your reps shouldn’t have to follow up with every single lead until they enroll. An ideal system should be able to automate some level of follow-ups, in addition to helping your reps prioritize their tasks.

 

In conclusion

If your admissions and lead flow are steady or decreasing, yet your costs continue to grow, you’re likely spending your money in all the wrong places. Investing in a great CRM to manage your leads and keep your reps on task is the first place I tell my clients to start.

Once you have good processes and tracking in place, then you can delve into other areas of your marketing budget to determine your best ROI.

If you have been following our CRM guide, you are already familiar with the various aspects of buying and using a CRM software. But, to most people, a CRM is a static system that they access from their desktop every day. This, when field salespeople form 71.% of the total sales force, is shocking, to say the least. (Source: InsideSales.com’s report on the State of Sales in US & EMEA, 2017). A mobile CRM-on-the-go is an obvious solution to this problem. While many companies have embraced this reality, there are quite a few that still haven’t adopted a mobile CRM for their field workforce.

Mobile CRM - banner

What is Mobile CRM?

A mobile CRM is a system that performs some functions similar to its desktop counterpart but provides many additional benefits for the field workforce and their managers tasked to track their efficiency. It allows the field sales team to perform all the functions of a CRM even while they travel without any hassle. Also, it helps them to get live insights into their leads and plan their day better. And, it helps field sales managers to keep a close eye on how their teams are performing at any given point.

The ideal mobile version isn’t simply a reflection of its desktop version. It needs to have features that make sense for a field agent like geo-tracking, route planning or offline working capabilities.

How can it help?

To highlight this, let’s take a look at a typical mobile user’s sales day, and how he goes about completing his meetings.

mobile CRM - infographic

Step 1: Plan his daily route

The agent gets ready to start his day. But, before he starts he needs to know which meetings need to happen and in which order. His mobile CRM tells him the ideal route that he should follow for the day. This way he can plan his day more efficiently – allowing him to meet more prospects, instead of wasting his time traveling from one end of the city to another.

Step 2: Automatic reminders and notifications

Sometimes, the agent has too many meetings scheduled for the day or there are follow-ups that he set a couple days ago that he may have forgotten. The mobile app then sends him timely reminders so that he does not miss out on his appointments. Additionally, the app also reminds him when new leads or tasks are assigned to him so that he is up to date.

Step 3: Log meeting notes on the go

The best thing about a mobile CRM app is that the agent does not have to remember what happened at each meeting and wait to get to his desktop to add updates. After each appointment, he directly adds meeting notes into his app. This way his meeting notes are much more accurate and are available real-time for his manager to view if needed.

Step 4: Upload documents instantly

There might be situations where the agent is required to collect documents. This could be important documents like KYC forms or invoices that might need processing. Instead of waiting for the agent to get back to begin the verification, a mobile CRM allows them to upload the documents directly. This way their application or order gets processed faster. This directly translates to increased customer satisfaction!

Step 5: Look for leads nearby

Just once in a while, your agent might be done with his meetings for the day, or a scheduled meeting may get canceled. He, then, uses this free time to pursue new leads in the vicinity. Just one look at his mobile CRM and he figures out which leads are nearby and contacts them accordingly.

Step 6: Get detailed field reports

Once he is done, the agent then checks out for the day. A report of his meetings and their status, as well as the route he traveled for the day, is then sent to his manager for review. This way there is transparency, and the management is updated on the agent’s performance.

This is just one use case of how a field agent can use his mobile app to increase his productivity and get more meetings done. There are various other use cases for different businesses, but the bottom line is that a mobile CRM helps make the lives of your field agents much better, and gives you a much better clarity on their performance.

Some important statistics:

Mobile adoption is on the rise. It is predicted that the number of mobile users is expected to rise to 813.2 million by 2019. And this is in India alone. Having a mobile sales team, that is as efficient as your inside sales team, simply makes business sense.

Let’s look at some more interesting stats that show how mobile CRM is helping businesses boost sales

mobile CRM - stats

These numbers are indicative of how powerful a mobile CRM can be when used correctly.

Benefits of using a Mobile CRM:

Still not convinced about adopting a mobile app for your business? Then, here are some real-time benefits that you reap from using a field sales app.

More productive salesperson:

Both the use case example that was given, as well as the statistics, stand testimony to how an app can improve productivity. A more productive salesperson means a higher ROI and a more effective sales team.

Easy access to information:

With a mobile app, the salesperson has access to information, even on the field. He can look up his lead’s activity history, his website visits, the conversations he has had with them before, to be better prepared. He can also look up new leads or tasks assigned to him, overdue appointments, lead stage changes etc. from his mobile device.

Improved closure percentages:

A sales app not only makes tasks easier for your agents. It also allows them to approach the lead with much more information and clarity, that it has a direct effect on their closure rates.

Allow remote access:

There are chances of your reps being in areas where there is no internet connectivity. In this case, a mobile app with offline working capabilities would be a huge help to them. They can then add, modify or access leads even if there is no internet.

Keep a check on sales performance:

In an ideal world, a need for this feature would not arise. But, in some cases, a mismatch between the number of meetings an agent says he’s done and the number he’s actually done may occur. To avoid conflict, a mobile CRM can help you monitor and track each meeting that the agent has done over the day. Increased transparency equals reduced discrepancy!

Hopefully, this article has done a good job of impressing upon you the benefits and importance of having a mobile CRM application. Remember, the art of selling needs the proper equipment. Go get your team, the mobile CRM they need today!

leadsquared- education case study

With the shrinking pool of high-quality candidates and growing competition in the higher ed space, institutes everywhere are struggling to attract the students they want to enroll. Add to that the problem of accidentally missed enrollment inquiries & delayed follow-ups, and you’ll have the sum of the challenges that Harding School of Theology faces on a daily basis.

We spoke to Matt Carter, Director of Admissions at Harding to discover how he deals with these problems every day.

Tell us something about Harding School of Theology

Harding University was established in 1924, and the School of Theology in 1954, when school leaders saw the need to provide quality graduate theological training for preachers, missionaries, and other leaders in the church.

Our mission is to challenge Christian leaders to deeper faith in God and higher standards in ministry and scholarship. The main objective is to train people for Christian ministry and to effectively lead churches & other ministries.

 

What are the biggest enrollment challenges HST faces?

Challenge 1) Prospects falling through cracks

leadsquared- education case study

The biggest challenge we face is that the pool of quality prospects is shrinking while the number of competing programs continues to grow – in others words, we are slicing an already small pie into even smaller pieces. There are at least two consequences to this reality: we need to find new pools of prospects, and we cannot let any of our leads fall through the cracks.

As an inquiry comes in, we do send a message, but the admissions officers might not set up a follow-up appointment, and we later find that we did not get back to the prospects.

 

Challenge 2) Trying to do more with less

We are a branch campus 125 miles from the main campus, and I am the only person on my marketing team here. There is a full marketing department on the main campus, and they help us, but they have limited time & resources they can allocate to us.

I am the Director of Admissions and have an Administrative Assistant working with me. We also have two student workers who give us a combined 15 hours per week.

Because of limited resources, we are always juggling multiple responsibilities, which means that sometimes some tasks are unintentionally missed.

 

How did HST overcome these challenges?

We weren’t really looking for a new system, because we didn’t think we needed one. But, one day, I received an email about a LeadSquared automation webinar and signed up because it appeared to be something that could fit in with our existing systems and workflows.

It took less than a week from our first conversation until LeadSquared was installed, and we were up and running. This was made possible by excellent tech support by the LeadSquared team. The response time has been excellent. Jenny and his colleagues get back to me the same day, usually within an hour or so.

 

Challenge 1) Prospects falling through cracks

a) Online lead capture 

We have connected LeadSquared to Gravity Forms on our WordPress site, so information requests or applications for admission are automatically added in LeadSquared. This saves time because we don’t have to manually enter the data that we have already captured.

We have also connected our university G-Suite email (Gmail) to LeadSquared, so our email exchanges with prospective candidates are also captured automatically. This not only saves time but gives us the complete context of the conversation at any point in time.

The follow-up feature is also a great help – LeadSquared helped us customize the follow-up process according to our workflow. So we have complete clarity about the next conversation schedule for each lead.

We capture a large percentage of our leads from our website, and LeadSquared works well at capturing those leads automatically.

b) Offline lead capture

We also get lists of Bible majors from some of our feeder schools, and it’s really easy to upload these leads.

We do a lot of face-to-face recruiting at grad school fairs, conferences, and other events. Again, my team can easily enter those leads in the system.

 

Challenge 2) Doing more with Less

It’s very easy to map your admission process into LeadSquared, and it’s easy to use as well – My team is really happy using it. We have customized activities relevant to us, and quality scores exactly how we need them. Lead scores also help us in identifying & reaching out to the most promising candidates first. The dashboard lets us establish a quick view that shows us the information that we need to know & details of things to do each day. Additionally, we can send the candidates relevant information and helpful content automatically.

The system just makes sense!

We can also see the complete list of prospective candidates based on their stages in the application cycle. Along with the candidate details, we can see more information about them, send emails or texts, and set tasks without switching screens. This is a real time-saver.

 

How do you sum up your LeadSquared experience?

We are very pleased with LeadSquared. The LeadSquared team helped get the system set up to work within our existing workflow. Jenny and Sai have been responsive to issues or challenges that we face and have helped come up with solutions that may be out of the box for them but meet our specific needs. They listen to make sure they understand what we are trying to accomplish and come up with a way to get it done.

LeadSquared has helped us become more efficient, giving us more time to connect with our prospects. The customer service and tech support are excellent. I highly recommend it!


 

LeadSquared is rated 4.5/5 on G2crowd. Check out the reviews here

 

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In today’s digital age, prospective students expect rapid responses to their inquiries. Fast Company reports that, within the context of company-customer (or school-student) relations, fifty percent of e-mail responses are sent within two hours. Social media is nearly twice as demanding, with 42% expecting a response within 60 minutes. That’s Generation Z

Top 10 ways to effectively communicate with Gen Z (View Infographic)

 

This expectation is only magnified by the proliferation of media and technology. Generation Z is connected to some type of device up to 10 hours a day. And, by some estimates, is exposed to around 4,000 advertisements daily. Prospective students’ attention is increasingly spread thin, meaning schools not only need quick response times—they must find engaging ways to communicate, too.   

 

So, what can higher education institutions do to ensure they’re responding at the speed which Generation Z prospects need and expect? How, too, can institutions ensure that they’re communicating in creative and compelling ways? 

 

Acquiring well-designed marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) software is a great start. The technology allows admissions and marketing staff to respond to questions and potential interest immediately with specialized notification features. And they can personalize messages based on their audience—one of CRM’s most important communication tools.   

 

For example, if a prospective student takes a sales-relevant action—like filling out a form or visiting a program’s webpage—staff are alerted right away. They can then respond immediately, which helps put them ahead of their competition. Staff are also encouraged to text with applicants, Generation Z’s preferred method of communication.  

 

The software’s mobile nature is also a key strategic feature. Staff can manage communication through CRM software’s app on their cell phones, allowing them to respond to messages on-the-go. This is also helpful managing multiple inquiries, helping staff stay organized outside of their e-mail inbox.  

 

Perhaps one of CRM’s most valuable offerings, however, is its ability to collect, organize and analyze data. The software offers critical insight into what students are interested, and what draws them in. This addresses one of marketing’s greatest challenges: attribution, the analysis that tells you if what you’re doing is working. 

 

“Until you’re able to meaningfully attribute your user experience success to a particular effort, you’ll never be able to target the proper audience at the proper time,” says Katya Popova, a strategic communications director at American University in Washington, DC.  

 

Which is why, in order to communicate strategically, understanding one’s audience is so important. Accurate and carefully-analyzed data informs staff who a student really is, allowing them to personalize communication in creative ways.  

 

“Marketing automation allows you to speak to possible constituents in a way that resonates with them,” Popova says.  

 

This includes messaging in drip e-mail campaigns, which can be segmented based on criteria like students’ interests, age and GPA; landing page text and form auto-responders; staff-to-student direct communication; and more.  

How to Attract the High-Quality Applicants You Want

 

Fast response time and data-backed, personalized messaging—both achievable through marketing automation and CRM software—are two essential elements of strategic communication in higher education. Schools who can address leads’ inquiries and engage them in personal ways are aligned with Generation Z’s needs—and one step way ahead of their competition.