How GATE Academy reduced cost per lead in their online lead generation efforts

The GATE Academy is one of the fastest growing education companies in India. It aims to nurture budding engineers to discover their full potential by preparing them for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) Examinations. The team at GATE Academy develops the teaching methods and course curriculum to assist engineering talents who are preparing for the all-India Engineering and Technology based examination.

GATE Academy invests significantly in online lead generation through many channels, particularly digital marketing and PPC advertising, using Google Adwords for its business and for its few dozen franchise partners. The marketing team wanted to bring down the cost per lead, increase lead volume, and improve revenues. Lead management was another issue that troubled the marketing team at GATE Academy, as they were collecting leads from multiple online and offline sources and it was difficult for them to manage the leads in multiple systems, resulting in lost opportunities and revenue loss.

Thus, the company was on the lookout for marketing software which could help them in their online lead generation efforts, get more sales from their existing marketing budget, improve lead quality, and in doing so, tackle their lead management challenges. After evaluating multiple systems, they found LeadSquared to best fit their business needs and the budget.

Key Challenges and Solutions:

Challenge 1: To reduce cost per lead and increase lead volume

Solution:

        a) Landing Pages: The performance of PPC campaigns can improve dramatically if the landing page is relevant to the traffic which is brought on to it and if the offer is compelling and relevant to the visitors. The team at GATE Academy was running the ad campaigns with limited number of landing pages that were created by their technical team and for any change to the design or offer on the page they had to go back to the technical team. Take a look at the image below; for the various kinds of offers the GATE team was running. The landing pages were limited, thus reducing the landing page relevance and adversely affecting their online lead generation efforts.

online lead generation

Using LeadSquared, the marketing team at GATE Academy could create and deploy conversion optimized landing pages very fast. Also, with the ability to monitor the landing page reports on the fly, it was easy for them to identify the keywords which were not only converting but also giving high quality leads without any help from the technical team. As described in the image below, multiple conversion optimized landing pages increased landing page relevance and boosted online lead generation for education.

online lead generation

        b) Auto response: LeadSquared landing pages also offered them the ability to setup auto-response email and SMS to the lead, and setup notifications for the counseling team to chase the lead. This enabled them to be very responsive to the lead and gave them the ability to reach out to the lead faster than their competitors.

        c) Email Newsletters: Using LeadSquared email campaigns, the marketing team could also nurture leads which were not sales ready by sending newsletters, offers and notifications periodically.

Using LeadSquared, the team at Gate Academy was able to increase conversions by 300% – 400%. These reports made it easy to analyze which ad campaigns were working well.

Challenge 2: To prevent lead leakage and centralize lead management

At the time, the marketing team of Gate Academy did not have a centralized system in place to store and manage all the leads, which came in through different online and offline sources. Leads were generated through organic search, Adwords, other online sources and several offline sources. Leads were getting collected and managed over multiple places. Some leads would be stored in Excel sheets, while some were in emails and others in the website CMS. Due to multiple systems, as shown in the image below, it was difficult for them to know what was going on with each lead and what was causing lead leakage. Further, it complicated the process of sending new offers and promotions to all the leads resulting in lost revenue opportunities.

online lead generation

Solution:

LeadSquared provided the GATE Academy’s marketing team the ability to collect and manage leads from various sources in one system. This prevented lead leakage, gave them the ability to track the buying stage of each lead and gave analysis of the lead sources which were working best for their business. The image below describes the lead storage process, which not only preserved their time and effort but also kept them focused on leads which needed attention, and contributed to revenue growth.

online lead generation

Challenge 3: Lead Prioritization and Lead Nurturing

Firstly, without a system to track lead activity, lead prioritization was tough and therefore, the student leads were not being nurtured properly. It was hard for them to figure out which students were really interested in enrolling for their classroom course or other online and distance learning courses. The main reason for this was the absence of a system which could tell the counselor what is of interest to a particular student and out of all the student leads, which leads are most interested and likely to buy.

For example, when you are aware of a particular lead’s engagement with your website, content, emails etc., it is easy to identify how interested they are in your product. That way, you can separate leads that need immediate attention, from those who still need to be nurtured.

Secondly, sending offers to drive ‘walk-ins’ to the coaching centers was a time consuming process and it was difficult for them to do it periodically. Initially, they had to collect leads from all over the place, and then upload them to the email-marketing tool, in order to run email campaigns. This meant a lot of unnecessary effort for the marketing team. In addition, it was hard to determine which student leads were engaging with the campaigns and which were not. Therefore, they could not nurture the leads resulting in lost opportunities.

Solution:

a) Lead tracking helped the counselors identify the intent and interest of the students. Now, the counselors could pinpoint and nurture those students who were genuinely interested in the various coaching, online and offline courses. The lead tracking facility simplified lead prioritization.

b) With the help of lead scoring, they were able to verify which student leads were active based on lead activities like, clicks, downloads, feedback, etc. Thus, the leads with higher lead scores, were given a higher priority in follow up activities. The image below gives an example of the lead scoring system, based on lead activity.

online lead generation

All the important online (email links clicked, website pages visited, etc.) and offline (positive response to a phone call, etc.) activities of the leads were being recorded in LeadSquared. This simplified the process and made it easy for the counselors to follow the most important leads first.

c) Through LeadSquared, they were able to send marketing and promotional offers via email campaigns and newsletters with ease. Campaign reports gave complete analytics and feedback on students who were most engaged and interested in their offer.

With LeadSquared in place, the GATE Academy’s marketing team was able to launch online lead generation campaigns quickly, while the counseling team got the ability to prioritize and focus on leads which needed most attention, nurture the leads which were not sales ready, and could tie in the marketing investment to the business results.

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