AdmissionsHigher Ed Lead Generation

How to generate quality Higher Education leads using quizzes

By June 22, 2015 One Comment

Note: This article was contributed by Josh Haynam, co-founder of Interact.
In marketing there is a constant disconnect between the content we produce and the actual qualified leads that come in. It’s incredibly difficult to reconcile the two and still create a stream of really awesome material.
As a partial solution to this dilemma, I introduce the humble quiz, lauded by NewsWhip as the most shared type of content, which is constantly plastered on your Facebook wall by friends describing the kind of cat they are, and now… a tool for generating leads.
How in the world does a quiz normally associated with cats turn into a lead generation machine for higher education? I’ll do my best to show you how below. There are five steps to the perfect quiz for lead generation. Each is a precise science specifically tailored to Higher Ed. Here we go.

The formula for a perfect lead generation quiz.

  1. Solve a problem with the quiz. When thinking about lead generation, there is always a give-and-take. You are “taking” the person’s contact information and “giving” them a valuable insight about themselves. In order to give something of value, you must solve a real problem for potential students. Based on looking at what’s worked, here are three quiz ideas that can be adapted to fit virtually any education institution:

“Which career should I have?” Every student has thought about their career choices (or at least been asked about them by their mom) many times. There is good reason to ask this complicated question (the subject of what to do with the rest of your life after college is a big one) because the problem of discovering what occupation to pursue is a perfect fit for quizzes.

“Which school should I go to?” Whether you’re talking about different schools within your system or just schools in general, the decision of where to go to school is almost as important as what to do with your career.

“What major should I have?” Along the same lines as what career you should have is the decision of what to major in. Many students struggle for years to figure this one out, and a well constructed quiz on the subject can truly strike a nerve (in a good way).

The pattern in the above questions is that creating a great online quiz can help marketers discover problems people have in their decisions when pursuing higher education. Give people help with a question and they’ll be happy to respond by giving you their contact info.

  1. Build trust by asking questions. The principle reason quizzes work as a lead generation tool is because there’s a certain level of trust built within a quiz, which warms the prospect up to handing over their information. There are a few methods for building this trust that can be the difference between an effective lead tool and an ineffective one. Here’s what to do:

Speak like a human. Quiz questions should mimic conversations that a counselor might have with a student about life and school. Take a personal approach to writing them and don’t worry about sounding to “smart.”

Be thorough. One big difference between the silly celebrity quizzes you see on Facebook and a proper higher education quiz is the accuracy of the results. If you’re recommending careers or majors, then quiz takers will take it seriously and you should, too.

Stay on topic. You can have fun with your questions but keep them relevant. Don’t ask for their favorite colors.


  1. Be honest on your lead generation ask. The stage has been set. You have created a quiz that captures attention by promising to answer a pressing question, and then you built a relationship with the quiz taker in a short amount of time and successfully established trust. Now it’s time for the quiz taker to reciprocate and give you permission to follow up. This is a touchy moment. Here is how to successfully navigate it:

Only ask for what you need. If you don’t ever call your customers, then don’t ask for a phone number. If you don’t need to know their location, then don’t ask for a zip code. You get the idea.

Explain what you’ll do with the information. It’s better to say, “We’ll call you to see if our product is a good fit,” and it’s best to avoid saying, “Sign up for great advice!” Remember, if this person does become a good customer, then you’ll want them to trust you long-term, so don’t start off on the wrong foot.


  1. Deliver on your promise in the quiz results.

Remember at the beginning of this post when we talked about quizzes solving a problem for people? The quiz results are where that problem solving comes to fruition.

Play to the emotions. The best and most-shared quizzes have an emotional aspect. For education, the best route is to stay positive. Even if you recommend a less highly valued major or a lower-level school, focus on the positive aspects rather than the negatives. For example, you could say, “You prefer to pursue activities outside of school and maintain a well-rounded life” instead of “You don’t like school that much.”

Keep it real. The temptation with the emotional response is to just tell people nice things and not worry about the outcome, but the problem is your quiz takers will see right through phony wording. The easiest way to stay positive and also nice is to just focus on the facts. If you are recommending a lower-ranked school, then the student will have more time to focus on extracurricular activities. Make that the focal point of your result.

Over-deliver. Go above and beyond for your quiz takers. The example below from EiCollege is excellent; they provide a detailed description of the major they recommend, as well as contact information and easy ways to follow up.


  1. Follow-up after capturing a lead. Now that someone has given you their contact information, it’s time to begin the journey down the funnel to create a happy student who will rave about your school to their friends. Here’s what to do (and not do) with those new contacts.

Use what you know. If you are recommending a major or school, then the prospect is going to be curious. If you call the prospect, talk about that major; if you email them, lead with the recommendation.

Continue the conversation. Never, ever, just add your new quiz prospects to a general list. You should continue the conversation that you started within the quiz with your follow up. That means setting up a drip campaign for quiz takers, or calling them and talking about the quiz. Do not abruptly change the subject and just start sending your newsletter: a sure-fire way to ruin the relationship.

That’s it: five simple steps to create the perfect lead generation quiz for higher education. It’s not overly complicated, but it can be extremely effective.
So how’d I do? Can you see how the humble quiz can generate meaningful leads? I’d love to hear your thoughts either way in the comments below.

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about new ways to connect with customers and build trust with them.

Linkedin: Josh Haynam
Twitter: @jhaynam

One Comment

  • Jason Jones says:

    Hi, Josh superb article, consider this in 2017, 66% of admissions managers in higher education dropped their admission goals, heating up the race to engage and turn prospective students. To reach the finish line, higher education marketers need to grow awareness for their businesses with prospects as well as satisfy them of the worth of their degrees something not easily done in advertisements, print ads, and other traditional tactics. Higher education marketers are aware of this and have adopted modern marketing practices like content marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and further to grow knowledge among candidates. Nevertheless, only a tiny percentage of them are doing it well.
    Best regards

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