“If you’re not using your net price calculator (NPC) as a lead-generation tool, you’re really missing out,” says Rick Dwyer, a National Sales Director at CampusLogic. “In fact, you could be losing hundreds of qualified prospective students.”
The higher education marketing and sales veteran continues: “Think about it: If they’ve taken the time to input pages of personal income and academic information on your NPC, they’re certainly a ‘warm lead’—someone who’s clearly interested in learning more.”
There’s been a proliferation of online NPCs since they were federally mandated in 2011—and many have evolved from basic calculator to enrollment driver in recent years. In this fifth post of our NPC series, Dwyer shares what happens when institutions use net price calculators effectively. Outcomes include better student engagement, more informed students and families, enhanced financial literacy, and improved “stickiness” from college search through enrollment.
Create a Lead-Generation Environment with Your NPC
You may not have thought so when NPCs first appeared on college websites, but today’s unloved, often-ignored, compliance tool is a great recruitment tool. It’s an even more powerful one, Dwyer says, when integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
Recognize that NPC completers already have spent a good amount of time on your website, and are open to receiving more information. This creates a brand-new pipeline of interested students you might not have known about—and can’t ignore.
But, adds Dwyer, “you also need to recognize that those visitors may be a year—or more—away from making their final college choice. With competition for students heating up these days, schools need to ‘meet’ their prospects sooner—and keep them engaged longer than ever before.”
In marketing terms, these students are considered “top-of-funnel” leads with whom you can cultivate deeper awareness—or “buzz”—about your school over time. With the right CRM strategy, you can automatically collect rich data like grade point average, class rank, and standardized test scores from your NPC, then craft targeted timely messages and personalized financial services conversations that fit wherever they are in their college search.
You Can’t Require Contact Info, But You Can Ask for It
The regulatory landscape may leave some school leaders disinterested in focusing on their NPC because they can’t legally require students to input personal contact information. “But that’s doing a major disservice to your recruitment strategy—and the student,” says Dwyer.
Instead, he suggests, you simply ask for contact information—always noting that it’s optional to do so, as the Fordham NPC does:
“Your contact information will allow us to send you information about academic and financial aid opportunities at Fordham University. However, providing this information is optional.”
Where and When to Ask for Lead-Generation Info on Your NPC
Encourage all users to become part of the college-search conversation with language like Fordham’s. Dwyer recommends adding your optional contact form on the first and last pages of the NPC.
Further, you can ask for contact information if your NPC has a log-in-and-save function, as ClearCost from CampusLogic offers. Just be sure to include an opt-in check-box for students who wish to receive more information from your institution.
How to Engage Your NPC Leads
“In terms of CRM,” Dwyer says, “you should score them as ‘highly interested’ in your school, and craft messaging around cost and value, ROI and academics.”
The contact info you get may also be from the parent, he adds, “and that’s good, too. Market to them; they’re important. Whether they’re first-gen or college grads, using an NPC isn’t anything like when they were in school. So, your messaging to parents should recognize that—and be very supportive and explanatory.”
Shameless Plug: Meet ClearCost, a Powerful Engagement Tool
At CampusLogic, we’re all about easy, mobile, personalized student financial services. ClearCost, the industry-leading commercial net price calculator, drives engaged students who’ll have more confidence in making their eventual, well-informed college choices. Offering wide-ranging flexibility, ClearCost is easily customized and can integrate with your CRM.
About the NPC Series
This five-part blog series offers a deeper dive for readers who might never have thought about an NPC as a key enrollment driver. For those of us who think about it a lot, however, these posts only scratch the surface. Future articles and webinars will uncover even more tips.
Today’s key takeaway: Use your NPC to make a great impression. That simple compliance tool is many students’ first introduction to your school and their college-search process. With the right NPC strategy, you can ensure an #awesome student experience.