Study Shows Not-For-Profit Universities Exhibiting Aggressive Behavior In Online Marketing Practices: Findings Part of eLearners.com Recently Released Research Report

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While for-profit institutions have been aggressively courting students for their online programs via emarketing for years, the not-for-profits have been slower on the draw. But that is changing, according to a recent report, entitled “Attracting The Next Generation of Online Learners,” from eLearners.com, the leading resource for connecting students with online education. In a survey of colleges and universities actively marketing their degrees online, 82% of the for-profit institutions claimed they devote more than fifty percent of their budget to online marketing versus only 40% of the not-for-profits claiming expenditures of fifty percent and above. However, when asked about their anticipated spending for the coming year, 80% of the not-for-profit schools indicated they would be increasing their online marketing budget, while 82% of for-profits say they plan for their budgets to decrease or remain the same.

While for-profit institutions have been aggressively courting students for their online programs via emarketing for years, the not-for-profits have been slower on the draw. But that is changing, according to a recent report, entitled “Attracting The Next Generation of Online Learners,” from eLearners.com, the leading resource for connecting students with online education.

In a survey of colleges and universities actively marketing their degrees online, 82% of the for-profit institutions claimed they devote more than fifty percent of their budget to online marketing versus only 40% of the not-for-profits claiming expenditures of fifty percent and above. However, when asked about their anticipated spending for the coming year, 80% of the not-for-profit schools indicated they would be increasing their online marketing budget, while 82% of for-profits say they plan for their budgets to decrease or remain the same.

When asked about their student enrollment process, for-profits appeared to be a bit more aggressive with 91% saying they follow up with prospective students at least once per month after the initial contact compared to just 50% of not-for-profits indicating the same. However, the outcome tends to lean in favor of the not-for-profits, at least with respect to timing, where 70% of not-for-profit respondents saying that the average time it takes from initial contact to paid enrollment is three months or less versus only 55% of the for-profits closing the deal in that time frame.

“Obviously, the for-profits have been realizing success using online marketing channels for a longer period of time, and their budgets reflect it,” said Andrew Gansler, CEO of eLearners.com. “But, without question the not-for-profits are taking the field and want to play. At eLearners.com, we are seeing it day in and day out as more and more not-for-profits are approaching us for help. The question now is whether the not-for-profits can leverage their brand names enough to offset the tremendous marketing prowess that the for-profits have achieved.”

Overall, the participating institutions indicated that the biggest challenges facing them in online recruiting is generating qualified leads, name recognition, contact rates (ability to reach the leads) and conversion rates of leads to enrollments. A unique struggle among not-for-profits was dealing with internal bureaucracy challenges, while for-profits mentioned the challenge of ever increasing competition and costs.

eLearners.com interviewed 25% of its client base for this survey. The sample was evenly distributed, with 52% of respondents representing for-profit institutions, and 48% representing not-for-profits. The candidates were interviewed on a host of subjects, including contact response, conversion, retention, vendor relationships, budgets and program selection.

eLearners.com’s research report, “Attracting the Next Generation of Online Learners,” from which this data was drawn, is available to institutions offering online programs by emailing Howard Mandel, VP of Sales, at hmandel@elearners.com.

About eLearners.com

Since 1999, eLearners.com® -- Where Learning Begins -- has been successfully connecting learners to education, including degree and certificate programs, specialized training, and a variety of courses. For prospective students, eLearners® provides a powerful search engine of online offerings as well as extensive educational resources, available at no cost. For colleges and universities, eLearners® performance-based marketing services offer a low-cost, high quality method to increase enrollment and exposure to their learning programs. eLearners.com is an operating division of Halyard Education Partners, LLC. For more information on eLearners.com, visit http://www.elearners.com.

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