From applicants to students: WhatsApp lead nurturing guide for education institutions

From applicants to students: WhatsApp lead nurturing guide for education institutions

9 Jul 2024


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    Ready to reach customers with WhatsApp?

    Grow sales by 160%

    Cut service costs by 73%

    Boost responses by 40%

    WhatsApp for Business solution by Cue

    Chasing unresponsive leads during intake periods doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as sending a text message. You can effortlessly guide them from initial interest to enrolment, all within a platform they already love - WhatsApp.

    Today's students are tech and digital-minded, glued to their smartphones and craving personalised, instant communication. Nurturing student leads with WhatsApp allows you to create a bridge between your institution and their future.

    In this guide, we'll dive deep into WhatsApp lead nurturing for universities, colleges, and higher education instiutions. We’ll focus on:

    • Understanding WhatsApp lead generation.

    • Exploring the unique benefits that WhatsApp offers education institutions.

    • How to use chatbots, broadcasts, live chat, and web widgets to turn leads into students.

    • How education providers used Cue to increase response rates by 7x and over-index sales conversion rates by 160%.

    What is WhatsApp lead generation?

    For education providers, think of it as the process of attracting and capturing potential students' contact information through WhatsApp. It's like hosting an open day, but virtually. Instead of students visiting your campus, they’re exploring your offerings through interactive WhatsApp conversations.

    Why WhatsApp is better than other channels:

    • It’s where the students are: WhatsApp is the world's most popular messaging app, making it the perfect place to find and engage your target audience.

    • Real-time, two-way conversation: Unlike traditional ads, SMSes or emails, WhatsApp allows for real-time, personalised conversations, building relationships from the start.

    • High open rates: Unlike emails that get lost in spam folders or phone calls that go to voicemail, WhatsApp messages have a 98% open rate.

    • High engagement rates: Customers on WhatsApp show 70% higher engagement compared to channels like SMS and have reported up to a 40% increase in engagement rates since switching to WhatsApp.

    Lead generation vs. lead nurturing

    Think of lead generation as the first class of the semester—it's all about making a good impression and hitting the ground running. Lead nurturing, on the other hand, is what follows. It's about building a relationship, providing value, and guiding applicants towards enrolment.

    But why should you use inbound lead nurturing on WhatsApp? 

    Inbound lead nurturing on WhatsApp is like being the cool professor who's always there and ready to help. You're not forcing information on students but rather giving them valuable content and support when they need it. This builds a rapport with your institution and increases the student's knowledge of how your school can benefit them, promoting uptake in enrolment.

    Why WhatsApp works for education providers

    WhatsApp is versatile and can be used to boost your marketing, student support, and sales efforts. Here’s how:

    Marketing: Keep applicants interested

    • Education institutions can send personalised messages to promote upcoming open days and update prospective students on application deadlines, or new programme launches.

    • Share interactive content like quizzes, polls, or virtual campus tours to keep students engaged.

    • Easily capture prospective student details using QR codes or web widgets and add them to your WhatsApp broadcast lists.

    • Share brochures, flyers and other marketing collateral with prospective students via WhatsApp.

    Sales: Convert applicants to students

    • Nurture leads through the enrolment funnel and provide a smooth application process. Sales reps and chatbots can guide students through each step of the application, from document submission to fee payments.

    • Send manual and automated, timely reminders about application deadlines or missing information.

    • Live agents can address concerns or hesitations in real-time, increasing the likelihood of enrolment.

    Student support: Keep students engaged

    • Education providers can give instant answers to inquiries about programmes, admissions, or campus life.

    • Use WhatsApp chatbots to offer round-the-clock support for common questions while your staff sleeps or focuses on other tasks.

    • Easily connect students with advisors for more complex queries or guidance with WhatsApp live chat.

    • Get feedback from existing students using WhatsApp.

    How to use WhatsApp for lead nurturing in education

    Now that you’ve learned about WhatsApp for lead nurturing, the question is how do you turn prospective students into enroled students? 

    WhatsApp chatbots: 24/7 admission assistants

    Chatbots are like having a tireless admissions assistant working around the clock. They can answer FAQs, guide applicants through programme information, and even help with basic application steps.

    Education institutions can set up WhatsApp chatbots to handle initial inquiries, provide programme details, and schedule appointments with human advisors.


    • Instant responses at any time

    • Consistent information delivery

    • Frees up staff for more complex tasks

    WhatsApp broadcasts: Mass communication megaphone

    Unlike WhatsApp groups, WhatsApp broadcasts allow you to send messages to multiple recipients at the same time, without them seeing each other's information. Education providers can send updates about application deadlines, open house events, or new programme launches to an entire prospect list.


    • Reach a large audience quickly

    • Personalise messages for each recipient

    • Convert already-engaged students

    WhatsApp live chat: Personal admissions advisor

    WhatsApp live chat allows students to connect directly with your admissions team for real-time, personalised conversations. Agents can offer one-on-one guidance on course selection, application processes, or financial aid options.


    • Personal touch builds stronger connections

    • Immediate resolution of complex queries

    • Opportunity to upsell or cross-sell courses

    WhatsApp web widgets

    Web widgets allow visitors to contact you on WhatsApp and get redirected to the app directly from your website. Education providers can place widgets on key pages to capture leads and offer immediate assistance.


    • Reduces friction in lead capture

    • Increases website engagement

    • Provides the option for immediate support during the research phase

    Convert students with Cue and WhatsApp

    When it comes to WhatsApp lead nurturing for education, the results speak volumes. Just look at Richfield, which saw a staggering 7x increase in response rates and a 65% boost in call-to-action conversions. 

    MANCOSA switched to WhatsApp, and over-indexed their sales conversion rates by 160%, and saw a 163% web chat conversion rate.

    These success stories are a testament to the power of WhatsApp in transforming student engagement and enrolment. From interactive web widgets to AI-powered chatbots, WhatsApp is transforming how educational institutions connect with prospective students.

    Ready to write your own success story? Don't let another potential student slip through the cracks. Contact Cue today for a demo today.

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    Ready to reach customers with WhatsApp?

    Grow sales by 160%

    Cut service costs by 73%

    Boost responses by 40%

    WhatsApp for Business solution by Cue