There’s a reason “inbound marketing” has become the buzzword for online marketing strategies—it works. For higher education institutions, inbound marketing can help give your enrollment numbers and school donations a boost. It’s a great tool to maintain communications with students and alumni, and give you a platform to interact with all the members of your institution.
However, most institutions find the prospect of incorporating an inbound marketing strategy into their marketing mix a little challenging and daunting. So we’ve created this brief roadmap to illustrate and simplify what the entire process entails.
1. Start with content marketing
Content is a critical part of marketing. Institutions, large or small, have since recognized that online presence is important to their growth and continued relevance among their target audience. And a big part of that online presence is dependent on the kind of content that they produce.
Students, the lifeblood of any higher education institution, practically live on the Internet. It makes sense, therefore, to have a solid online presence to allow students to discover and learn about what makes your institution stand out from the rest.
This also means that you have to pay more attention to the kind of content that you provide prospects. You can’t just produce content for the sake of having them. You have to create posts tailored to their needs, and optimized for your own objectives.
For instance, you have to consider things like keywords and SEO to ensure maximum visibility on search engines, but that doesn’t mean that just because you did, you won’t have to write about topics relevant to your prospects.
This leads us to the second point…
2. Don’t ignore search engine optimization
SEO isn’t dead. In fact, SEO is essential if you want to be found on the internet. Higher education is a very competitive industry and knowing what your users actually search for, can help you stay on top of search engine results.
Knowing what your audience is looking for is key to finding the niche topics that are unique to your institution and relevant to your users. Remember to use SEO keywords sparingly and in the most natural way possible as you craft your content.
3. Web design is important
You may think that design has nothing to do with content marketing, but visuals are an intrinsic component of content marketing too.
You want to convey a sense of credibility and professionalism if you want to attract prospective students to your institution. A badly designed site with complicated navigation or a site that isn’t optimized to be viewed on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones will just work to turn your users away.
When they’re already on your site, make sure that you are able to keep them engaged, by making it easy for them to explore information and learn about your institution.
4. Don’t be afraid to reach out
A lot of higher education institutions neglect email marketing thinking that it’s not a very effective way to reach out to prospects. But as far as maintaining communications with prospects, enrollees, alumni, donors and other key members of your school, it’s actually a great way to stay top of mind and keep them engaged.
Like published content, email has to serve and address the needs of its recipients. Sending out emailers without regard for their needs will only lead to them removing their subscription, so make sure that whatever you communicate via this platform is relevant to them.
Personalize your approach whenever you can. This can be as simple as addressing them by their names, which has been known to increase open rates and assures recipients that they are not receiving spam.
5. Use social media to boost engagement
Your audience, prospective students especially, will definitely have social media presence. More than any other online platform, it’s likely that they will be on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where they are growing and expanding their network every day.
Having social media as part of your content strategy means you have more opportunity to reach out to your students, raise awareness about your institution and deliver news and information.
One last thing…
Inbound marketing is a strategy designed to help you develop content that appeals to your desired audience. This roadmap helps simplify the process so that you get a clear picture of what you should do and what benefits you can derive from adding it to your marketing mix.
Of course, implementation will take dedication and hard work, but with careful planning and a clear approach to how you can properly implement it, it is possible to start leveraging on its benefits.
If you think you need help mapping out a content strategy for your institution, give us a call today.
And if you have any questions, leave us a message below.