Ready to improve your recruiting strategy? Need to build a new development initiative? Trying to increase student enrollment?
Maybe it's time to take a deeper look at your marketing. Maybe it's time for "inbound marketing"!
If you work in higher education, you are always trying to get the attention of your current students, attract the right future students, cater to your alumni and build relationships with parents. Of all the ways you can do this — from newsletters to special events — "Inbound Marketing" is possibly the most powerful way to kickstart your audience into action.
Inbound marketing...what's that?
For starters, inbound marketing is about three important things:
- Being the right answer to a person's questions.
- Capturing consumers along their buyer's journey so they return to you again and again for more information and better solutions.
- Delighting your current students, parents, donors, faculty and others through online and social marketing.
Are you ready for Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is about publishing the right content to the right market at the right time. Case in point: your students are online ALWAYS. They want information about colleges — yours and your competitors. The good news is that you have a great deal of content to share with them: stories about your students, alumni and faculty – and your terrific athletic teams. Just as importantly, inbound marketing can be more cost effective than traditional marketing techniques.
How do you get your content out there?
Well, this depends on what you want to say to whom. To build your value and help you rise above the competition for those students searching for your type of college education might require a mix of online newsletters with social media posts, surveys, webinars, videos, emails, white papers, infographics, Instagram, Pinterest, memes and blog posts. These will engage your audience, answer their questions and keep them wanting to know more.
Your goal: to help searchers easily find content on your website, on your landing pages, on your blog or in your emails. This is what allows you to convert them into bonafide leads to be pursued.
How do you use this great content?
Higher education institutions already know that potential students want content. And they are already creating a great deal of it, particularly to boost social engagement. Fortunately, this makes it easy to shift to inbound marketing.
Once this is accomplished, different departments will have different uses for inbound marketing. For admission officers, inbound marketing can increase enrollment by capturing prospective students in the searching stage and converting them into applicants. Development offices can use inbound marketing to boost conversations and build engagement around your unique academic program. And don't forget your alumni. They're already your biggest fans but keeping them engaged for years to come is challenging. Inbound marketing is a great way to keep them connected and actively involved in all aspects of the university.
Now that you know Inbound might be just what you need, how do you get started?
First, create clear goals by formulating a strategic plan. Who is your competition? Research what content your viewers will be interested in. Then find out where they are getting their content from...the Web? Twitter? Wikipedia?
Next, what platform(s) are you going to use to drive traffic to your website? Facebook, blogging, Instagram? Figure out how you are going to disseminate the content to the right audience so that you attract them to learn about your unique offerings.
Blogging is very important. Every time you post a new blog on your site, you are adding a page of informative content. Google and other search engines are looking for that content. And, within the next few years video blogging is going to dominate the blog arena. Might as well start now. You know the saying: A picture is worth a thousand words.
It's time to make the shift from push to pull.
Changing your marketing from pushing it out to creating demand is crucial to the growth of your institution, and perhaps of higher education itself. Take the leap to the world of inbound marketing. You won’t be looking back anytime soon!
Want to read more? Start with this blog:
From Observation to Innovation,