How Education Providers Can Re-engage Old Leads to Maximise Student Enrolments

Claudia Reiners
June 22, 2021

How Education Providers Can Re-engage Old Leads to Maximise Student Enrolments

4bf428ed6af9ff680b7ac8b24b046f3d?s=50&d=mm&r=g Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

When it comes to generating more student enrolments, education providers typically prefer to drop old leads in favour of newer ones. But retargeting old, or ‘dead’, leads helps bolster enrolments once the existing lead pipeline has run dry.

Depending on the reasons why the lead went cold, re-engaging old student prospects can maximise sales – and revenue – for your business.

Re-invigorate your post-enquiry process with the following tips and tricks.

What is a ‘dead lead’?

Some might argue that a lead is never truly ‘dead’. However, interactions with student prospects can sometimes come to a standstill. At Candlefox, we prefer to label these leads as ‘old’ rather than ‘dead’.

These are leads that:

  • Can’t be contacted after multiple attempts via phone or email.

  • Are unwilling to progress to the next stage in the enrolment pipeline for numerous reasons.

  • Or have stated they are no longer interested.

Why chase after old leads?

Education providers are often quick to forget about dead leads, especially if they’ve poured time and resources trying to convert them. However, instead of disregarding old leads, we recommend approaching them from a different perspective.

When you don’t get a response, it’s easy to assume that a lead isn’t interested. Depending on the circumstances of the student, this can be true (for example, a student has outright stated they are no longer interested) . However, more often than not, they’re just not ‘sold’ on the product yet.

This requires adjusting your post-enquiry process or developing approach. Here are some considerations:

  • Have you clearly articulated your value proposition?

    What makes you stand out from your competitors and how have you communicated this to your leads? If in doubt, revert back to your brand strategy.

  • What was your ‘speed to response’?

    Were you responding to student leads a full 48 hours later? For best results, we recommend reducing the time between an enquiry and the first contact attempt.

  • Are you under-communicating with your leads?

    Have each of your leads entered the end-to-end post-enquiry contact strategy? If not, is this due to stretched internal resources? Review your pipeline and ensure you allocate enough resources to your sales team.

Instead of only focusing on new leads, direct your marketing and sales efforts towards nurturing both old and new leads.

Reasons why student leads go cold

COVID-19 has disrupted people’s priorities, job security and broader educational goals. 37% of households have experienced at least some disruption in their professional and personal lives due to the pandemic. 


37% of households saw some disruption due to the economic impact of COVID-19



56% of UK employers say they now want to hire new staff

Education providers saw leads drop-off at an alarming rate in 2020. Fewer individuals were considering study in 2020 than 2019, due to job instability, heightened financial stress and increased domestic responsibilities. 

In May 2020, a third of domestic school-leavers were reconsidering their decision to go to university. Additionally, the number of international students enrolling at the UK universities plummeted by 47% – many preferring to remain closer to home for education.

Key tips for re-engaging old leads

Providers looking to boost their enrolment rates can use the following two tactics to nurture and convert more student leads.

1. Use email EDM marketing

Email is a great way to bring new and old leads into your nurture funnel. 

87% of marketers say email marketing increases performance success. 

Email is still one of the most effective ways to connect with student prospects. A study by McKinsey found that email marketing is 40% more effective at generating engagement than social media.

Here are our best practice tips:

  • Develop nurture journeys for each lead segment depending on the reasons why they’re old. Some potential segments include: those who did not respond to any contact attempts, those who were unsure about taking the final step (enrolling) and those who stated they weren’t interested at that time.

  • Use the above segments to develop targeted messaging to drive open and click-through rates.

  • Include one clear call-to-action (CTA) per email. Make it easy for your leads to navigate down the enrolment funnel.

  • Experiment with various email marketing tactics.

email marketing tactics

2. Manage and optimise your lead pipeline

If you’re worried about using up resources on old leads, it’s worth distributing your time to focus on when you’re going to get the biggest lead volume. Using historical data to map out when leads tend to peak, whether that’s during certain times, days or seasons, can help you reinvigorate old leads in a more efficient way.

Furthermore, knowing this information can help you to understand when you’re less likely to convert leads. Quiet periods can be a poor time to go for dead leads, as the chances of them converting might be lower. It’s up to each business to decide how to plan their schedule, but picking the right times to go for old leads could be more productive in the long run.

Distribute your resources based on when you are likely to receive your peak lead volume. Peak lead volumes can change depending on days and seasons – use your historical data to help you forecast this. It’s important you don’t have your entire team working early in the morning if only 5% of your leads arrive at this time. Have the right number of people available and optimise your chances of successful enrolments.

3. Undertake cold outreach

Reaching out to old leads via phone is a quick and simple way to reignite interest. 

One of the toughest parts about cold calling is demonstrating the value of your brand and product to a customer in a very short amount of time. If you’re re-contacting old leads, you’ll most likely spend less time explaining your product and start having more bottom-of-the-funnel conversations around enrolment.

Old student prospects tend to avoid phone calls, so if you’ve been able to make contact with the lead, you’ve made a significant breakthrough. This step is invaluable.

Focus on quality, not quantity, when it comes to this method. Hone in on the vital information you want to convey and nurture a relationship with the student. Once you’ve developed a strong relationship, you can start to build and steer conversations towards enrolment.  

For leads who have stated that they’re still not interested, don’t be afraid to ask why. Feedback can help you shape your post-enquiry processes in the future.

There are a wide variety of tips and tricks you can use to turn dead leads into exciting new prospects. Make the most of your marketing and sales efforts by targeting and nurturing both old and new prospects. 

img claudia3 257x300 1
Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
disk 1s 111px 1