Language school owners and language service providers are in a really tricky situation – they want to generate new language customers online using their website and social media as fast as possible just to discover they are overwhelmed and frustrated dealing with those leads up to the point where they fear to contact those contacts from the lead generation marketing efforts.
Reasons Why Lead Generation Is A Central Language School Marketing Problem
Language service providers and language school owners – like so many other industries – are often still stuck in the idea that if you have an impressive website and attractive social media accounts then language students will flock to you almost automatically. This never happens in such numbers to be profitable from this.
There is no way around to use paid advertising lead generation strategies to get the necessary numbers of potential students to contact and follow up with.
The Cost of Lead Generation
The problem is that your marketing budget might be unrealistic. While email marketing with new automation technology made it significantly more cost-effective compared to 10 years ago, you still need to have a realistic monthly marketing budget.
Any Pay-Per-Click budget under €1000 per month won’t render any significant contacts. You need to know your numbers: how many students do you need to speak with on the phone in order to close a sale? 20? 30? 50?
You need to get at least 10-20 times more potential leads. If you need 20 students to convert one sale, you need 200-400 leads. A 10% conversion rate, by the way, is very high and is usually more like 1%-3% instead.
Alone by this little calculation, it is obvious that generating leads is a long-term marketing strategy that needs substantial funds.
The Lack Of Staff & Talent
The biggest problem is the lack of staff and talent. If you hire specialists that are able to generate leads for you – those leads are worthless if you do not have a dedicated marketing team that is able to follow up interested language students within hours or days.
You need talented people to do this, too. It requires a professional understanding of how to talk to prospects on the phone and giving them the right amount of trust and pushing them to make a sale happen without annoying them.
The Lack Of Time
If you have a very successful marketing campaign online you might end up with dozens and even hundreds of potential prospects and leads. How are you able to call 200 people within 7 days?
The Outsourcing Problem
If you try to let others do the work finding new customers for you, you have to be aware of the biggest problem with this. It is the way potential customers perceive your language services and your brand and how you make them trust you.
What you can easily outsource is the technical aspect of marketing: get professionals to do the pay-per-click marketing campaigns on Google, Bing and social media for you.
What you can not outsource is the personal follow up.
You can’t hire a generic call center that has no idea who your language school is. There is no way around to call your leads and talk with them in real time: either you have a dedicated marketing team at your school who can call them or you need to train and brief a professional call center that knows your school VERY WELL in order to create that necessary personal bond with your brand and products.
The Right Way Of Generating Leads For Your Language Business
Generating leads is a necessary marketing task. The question is in what amount and scale you can do it. There are two methods of generating leads. You can choose with one is the right lead generation method and if needed you can mix them both.
The Massive Leads Flow Method
Generating leads by paid traffic marketing is the only method where you can control how many fresh leads you will receive. Based on the number of staff to follow up on leads you can decide if you need 20 leads to call or 50 leads. You can start with a lower number based on your budget and then expand once you are confident you have the right audience that needs the exact language services you offer.
The Natural Leads Flow Method
If you want to use a natural lead generation flow then lead generation through SEO is the other option. It will cost you a bit less than paid-traffic, but it still not free, because SEO optimization to show your website in Google without paying for ads needs specialists to optimize the content of your website month by month.
This method also can’t predict how many leads you will get. If your website is found on page 2 when potential customers search for “Learn French in Paris” then obviously you won’t get many inquiries, if you are on page 1 results you will get inquiries, but you won’t know exactly how many leads you will get when you show up higher in the search engines.
The lead generation by SEO, however, generates leads that often trust your company more, because they feel they have not clicked on an AD but got a “natural recommendation from Google or Bing” instead.
The 2-Step Qualification Method
Email automation is one of the most important keys to follow with your prospects and leads. And it is much more than just sending a series of email messages every week to potential language students that showed interest by signing up to a newsletter or downloading a PDF report related to their language interests.
The key is to ask people not just for their name and email, but also for their phone number of course.
If you ask a potential lead to add their phone number, you will get significantly fewer subscribers than just asking for the first name and their email address, but it is worth to pre-qualify a potential language customer this way to increase the quality of leads in your follow-up funnel.
A very effective overlooked method is, however, to ask subscribers in the first stage for the name and email only and then – after they have received a series of emails that build their trust in your company – asking them to fill out a landing page where they can update their phone number and update their records.
This can also be done by using webinars and online presentations as follow-ups where it makes natural sense to share more updated details about someone.
There is no wrong way of doing it: asking for phone numbers right away or qualifying the customer later after a series of emails depends on how your trust-building process works best.
The Automation Trigger Method
Modern email automation systems offer trigger functions. You can for example set up alerts or actions when an email subscriber clicks on specific links or visits a website.
If you have already captured the phone number of a potential customer and send him a series of follow up emails, you could send her/him to a landing page where they can request an evaluation for a language level and if the person clicks on it you can notify your sales team to call the person and follow up within several hours.
This is the freshest lead contact and the highest possible quality of interest you can get from a potential customer.