Thoughts, stories and ideas.


Like most things in India, college admissions are a huge family affair. It takes a whole lot of time, trust, and well-wisher testimonials for a person to finally sign up for a college in India.

A person who markets higher education courses and colleges in India needs to compensate for the low conversion rate with high lead volume – which oftentimes becomes a make-or-break factor for your education business.

Lead generation for brands in the education industry is difficult because of immense competition. Advertising is extremely important for this industry.
Here’s a complete guide to education lead generation in India:

1. Website

It’s crucial to make sure you have a professional, credible, informative and conversion-optimized website.

You need to have a website from the get-go, so as to establish yourself as a reliable institute. However, this will generate leads only through the traffic coming in from your ads on various other websites.

You can convert these hits into leads by enabling live chat, email subscription options, free consultation offers on sign-up, etc.

In the long-run, once your brand name is well established, your website will become an independent source of lead generation because more and more people will search for your institute and organically land up on your website.

2. Content Marketing

In order to rank organically for the keywords that your prospects are searching for, you need to create search engine optimized content around those topics. You can experiment with the nature of the content, depending upon the budget and your target audience.

For instance, you can write articles about the various financial options a student can consider for sponsoring their higher education degree. You can also upload recorded sessions of a few of your classes on your blog and/or a YouTube channel, to give your prospects a clear idea of what the institute offers to its students. Inviting career counsellors to answer common queries either through a live chat or a webinar is another great idea.

Along with helping your search rankings, maintaining a blog will increase your trustworthiness amongst readers. Unlike your advertising efforts, your blogging endeavours will provide valuable information to the prospects, and therefore be perceived more favourably than the former.

3. Social Media

Many education brands use social media platforms to engage with their prospects. Sharing links to your blog posts and videos on them, run contests, quizzes and giveaways based on educational topics, organizing online events such as hashtag-based Q&A etc., can help you generate leads.

4. Search Portals

These online portals help students search colleges or courses according to their specific criteria. They are used by both parents and students. They provide free resources to the visitors such as discussion forums, counselling support and informative articles as well. Therefore, they attract a lot of traffic and tend to rank on Google’s first page for the common search terms that students use.

Here’s what the search results for ‘top MBA colleges in Mumbai’ looks like:


Organic search topped by search portals like,, etc.

These portals provide a free listing, as well as a variety of marketing options to educational businesses. They can include running display ad campaigns, sending emails to prospective students that match some particular criteria etc.

blog-3 provides display advertising in the form of ‘featured’ sections on its website.

The search portals you need to target depend upon the course that you offer (for instance, MBAUniverse is primarily for B-schools). However, the top portals that will help you search for a wide variety of courses include,, and

5. Competitive Preparation Sites and Magazines

Such websites or magazines provide resources to students preparing for competitive exams such as UPSC, CAT, CET, GMAT etc. Their visitors or readers tend to be serious about a particular course. Therefore, these platforms can generate much more qualified leads than the usual online search portals.

For higher education lead generation, they provide direct advertising options to education institutes. Some websites may also enable AdSense – this means you can advertise on them by using Google display ads.

The top competitive preparation magazines are Competition Success Review (CSR), Success Mirror and Pratiyogita Darpan. and are some of the competitive preparation websites catering to a large number of courses.

  1. Education Discussion Forums

Education discussion forums act as online platforms for students preparing for a particular exam to interact with their peers. Many of these forums also provide education-related news articles, expert interviews,and other information to attract first-time users to their community.

They offer many advertising avenues for lead generation in the higher education industry. For example, PagalGuy, mainly catering to MBA aspirants, offers the following marketing solutions to its institute clients:

• Interactive banners

• Newsletters

• Sponsored articles

• Sponsored usernames

You can also generate leads for free by creating profiles of your education brand on such platforms and promoting your college by answering relevant queries, and providing real value to students while doing so.

Other popular forums include,,, etc.

7. Career Portals and Magazines

Such portals or magazines focus on career-related content and tools, primarily covering both education as well as work life. A few of the most popular names in this field are India Today Education, Careers360, Analytics India Magazine (AIM) etc. They offer multiple advertising options for higher education creating lead generation for your brand.

Most of the education-related content on such websites is targeted at both parents as well as students, to help them find and select the right course and institute. Because of this broad outreach, these platforms can be a good source of leads for education institutes offering a bouquet of courses in multiple fields. This also gives you exposure to students from diverse backgrounds.

Moreover, as these platforms create content even for students interested in niche fields, they are must-try options for colleges offering focused niche courses that are less mainstream and do not have dedicated online spaces of their own.

8. Campus Portals or Magazines

These portals or magazines cover campus life and often have dedicated sections on career. Some examples include University Express, Campus Ghanta etc.

Educational institute offering post-graduation courses can advertise on campus portals or magazines that chiefly focus on students who are currently pursuing their graduation.

9. Coaching Institutes

Several coaching institutes allow you to advertise on their websites and also offer other advertisement options such as list slots.

10. Advertise on Social Networks

Popular social networks have large user bases and access to immense amount of data on their interests and activities. As such, they are able to offer highly targeted and inexpensive advertising solutions to businesses. Higher education marketers can advertise on the following social media platforms, depending upon the kind of their course offerings:

• Facebook
Facebook ads are usually the cheapest and it has consistently helped education brands in lead generation. Since people from across all backgrounds are on Facebook, it is definitely a must-try for education marketers selling any course.
Facebook’s targeting options are all the more useful and straightforward for education marketers, as you can target people who have done specific courses, attended specific schools, or completed specific educational levels, with ease.

• Twitter

While Twitter does not provide a direct targeting option for education businesses. However, you can still use it to reach out to a large number of prospects by targeting specific keywords or interests.
You can also create your own tailored audience based on your mailing list.

• LinkedIn
If you’re marketing a course that could be useful for people with work experience, for instance, executive MBAs, LinkedIn ads can be a great way to connect with these relevant professionals.

• Instagram

As a photo-sharing site, Instagram is a favourite with people in creative fields, such as fashion, architecture, etc. If you’re marketing courses in these fields, you can run ads on Instagram to reach out to your target audience.

11. Track Social Networks

Quora and Reddit are two platforms where prospects regularly post questions regarding various colleges and courses. Keeping track of these social networks and answering to them helpfully can help you generate leads in terms of warm enquiries.


Higher education related queries on Quora

  1. Advertise with Search Engines
    Search engines offer many advertising options to businesses, such as ads on the search results page (above or next to the organic results), ads on the websites/apps who partner with them, etc.

They come with tools, for example Google’s Keyword Planner, to help you find the keywords or search terms your prospects are using.

They have access to extensive data about their users and their browsing patterns. This is why they can offer highly focused targeting options to make sure your ad reaches the right people at the right time.

Google is the most visited site in the country and across the world and it offers various advertising options with Google AdWords.

• Display Network: These ads appear on relevant websites and apps in Google’s partner network, i.e. those who sign up with Google AdSense to monetize their site or app.

• Search Engine Network: These ads appear on the top or to the side of Google’s search results when the person searches with some words and they match with particular keywords as specified by the advertiser.

• Search with Display Select: These ads are displayed both in the search results as well as in the display network. The display network selected is more carefully targeted.

• TrueView Video Ads: These are video ads that appear before, or in the middle of a YouTube video and also display network videos.

Yahoo and Bing are other search engines that see significantly lesser traffic than Google, and are therefore cheaper to put search/display ads on.

These services operate upon a pay per click or pay per view model (this means you are charged only when your ad is clicked or viewed). This cost per click/view depends upon multiple factors such as industry, competition, bidding etc.
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Ultimately, what drives the customers to purchase your product or consume your services, is the effort your education brand puts in. With the help of digital marketing, one can utilise the technological interface to engage with the targeted audience.

Indian educational institutions are yet to efficiently harness the vast potential of digital marketing. We, at 1702 Digital can help your education business can generate leads exponentially by drafting a customised lead generation plan that caters to your needs.