While traditional tactics of attracting students to higher education are still widely used, it is difficult for marketers to gauge their effectiveness and for prospective students to ignore them.
With inbound marketing, you can track your institution’s return on investment right from the minute a prospective student visits your website to the moment they apply.
Let’s talk about what inbound marketing is, why it’s important for college marketing teams to use it, and how to put one in place.
What Exactly Is Marketing In Higher Education?
First, let’s look at how inbound marketing differs from more traditional forms of marketing in higher education.
Recruiters have been reaching out to high school kids for years by making campus visits and holding college fairs, as well as sending out information by mail and airing commercials on radio and billboards. Prospects, inquires, applicants, admits, deposits, enrolls, and retention were the six stages of the traditional higher education enrollment funnel that marketers followed.
Prospective students have more clout in the digital age. Their research is done on computers, tablets, and smartphones so they do not have to wait. Furthermore, the number of people looking for post-secondary education options has grown beyond the realm of high school pupils. Working adults are constantly expanding their skill sets in order to advance in their careers, and you won’t find many of them at a high school career fair any time soon.
As a result of inbound marketing, recruiters can meet potential students and their families where they are in the buyer’s journey on the digital channels and with the content they’re seeking. Higher education’s inbound marketing funnel resembles a sales and marketing funnel, with four stages: attract, convert, nurture, and close.
Greater competition from other educational institutions and increased pressure to reach enrollment objectives are putting a strain on recruiters’ time and resources. More and more potential students are looking for free or alternative educational options as tuition costs climb. Outbound marketing is no longer effective since it’s easy for the target population to ignore and difficult for recruiters to track and make adjustments as necessary, making it ineffective for both parties.
Inbound marketing in higher education has been shown to be effective, according to research provided by HubSpot. It’s seven times more likely that colleges that use inbound marketing report higher returns on investment than those that rely on outbound marketing approaches. Three times as many qualified leads are generated by an inbound approach as those generated by an outbound strategy, according to research.
Inbound Marketing in Higher Education: Where to Begin?
Recruiters in higher education who want to implement an inbound marketing strategy should examine the content they already have and the effects they are seeing.
Look for demographic and other statistics that are comparable among the people who have signed up for your service in your customer relationship management system (CRM). Analyze your website’s traffic and keyword data with the tools provided by Google Analytics. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are a great way to see which actions generated the most traffic and sales. Investigate social media to see what people are saying about your university and who is saying it.
As a result of this data, you can design ideal student profiles, produce material that resonates with students at various points in their journey, and create metrics to measure your progress.
Optimize Your Content
To begin, you may not need to start from scratch with completely new material. Take a look at the content you already have and see how you might improve it for search engines (SEO). Following the optimization of your existing material, you can then produce new content based on questions from potential students that have not yet been addressed, and do the same with the new content.
By keeping an eye on your website’s functioning and content optimization, you can ensure that your school appears when prospective students search. A positive user experience in terms of speed, structure, navigation, and value will also be provided.
Promote Your Content
Aim for a wider audience by setting up social media accounts and utilizing the newly optimized and newly developed content you’ve created.
Put a lot of effort into optimizing your social media postings so that they include relevant keywords in the text, title, and caption. Meta titles, descriptions, and alt tags should all be written in a way that is ADA-compliant. Set up an account manager to ensure that all of your content marketing efforts are coordinated. Keep track of the reactions to your postings to see what resonates with your followers.
In the beginning, the goal is to attract the right students to your school by promoting your brand. Increase your website’s organic traffic and improve your lead generation efforts by using SEO-focused content like blogs, case studies, and social media updates. Students in caps and gowns standing with their back to the camera, looking away from the lens.
After you’ve established yourself as a credible source of information, you’ll see a rise in conversions. Students are now ready to take action on your behalf. An eBook, white paper or webinar on a specific topic can be exchanged for a user’s email address. Create landing pages with calls-to-action and forms for generating leads for these offers.
In the nurturing period, the emphasis is on one-on-one interaction. Set up email processes using marketing automation that speak to the wants and needs of prospective students. This data should be broken down into personas. You’ll get one step closer to converting potential students into new students if you provide the correct targeted material at this point.
Prospective students will apply to your school if your email nurturing campaigns are successful. They’ll be ready to enroll as soon as they’re accepted, thanks to your marketing plan’s efforts at every step of the decision-making process. Congratulation, your inbound marketing effort was a success.
It is possible to create relationships with prospective students online through the use of inbound marketing techniques.
As the demand for higher education grows, you must ensure that your institution stands out from the rest.
Increase enrollment and revenue for your school by implementing inbound marketing methods today.