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5 Inbound Education Marketing Ideas for Your School

5 Inbound Education Marketing Ideas for Your School

We can't help but "Google." And brands are leveraging this knowledge by using search engines as platforms for leaving breadcrumbs. Leading consumers right to their doorstep, and converting them into loyal customers.

This strategy is called inbound marketing. While outbound marketing calls for pushing out ads to large groups of general consumers, hoping that they'll be interested in your products, inbound marketing creates a buzz around your company by highly focusing your audience targeting - so that people looking for your products find you quickly and trust that you'll meet their needs.

So, what does that mean for education-based marketing, and how does it work? You need to create valuable, compelling content and position it in a way that reaches your ideal student audience. This way, you can drive traffic and quality leads, and then convert them into delighted students, parents, sponsors, etc. 

Paid media in years past had been considered predominantly an outbound marketing method. However, this method can easily be incorporated into your inbound marketing strategies today. 

Here are five ways that schools and universities can use paid search tactics to accelerate their inbound marketing campaigns:

1) Utilize social media advertising

Maneuvering social media algorithms can be difficult, and you can never be sure that you're reaching your target regardless of how hard you work to optimize your content. 

Social media paid advertising can cure this by using ad tools native to social media to create, schedule, and post targeted ads geared to reach a specific market. Social media advertising also ensures that your posts get undivided attention from your ideal audience.

Assume you own a personal development school, and as users search the internet for personal development courses, an ad about your school starts appearing on their feed. This is how timely and laser-targeted social media advertising can get. It helps you meet your audience where they are so you can achieve more out of your inbound education marketing campaigns

Additionally, since GenZ and millennials make up 68% of people who use social media to discover a product, social media advertising is the perfect way to build brand awareness with prospective students. 

You also have more control over how you advertise. You get to target people by income level, where they live, previous customers, and even people who visited your website but bounced off.

2) Search engine marketing

Your position in SERP’s (search engine results pages) results is highly telling about the health of your content. And while employing organic strategies pays, you can't give your inbound marketing content the best shot without spending money. 

Search engine marketing (SEM) helps you appear on SERP results through pay-per-click advertising (PPC). These ads reach users with your message when they most need it, making them ideal and less intrusive than most digital ads, and you only pay for impressions that turn into visitors.

Plus, 40% of product searches start on search engines, and Google processes 63,000 search queries every second. SEM gives you a chance to be the answer to these queries. 

3) Utilize programmatic & connected TV (CTV) 

Programmatic and connected TV advertising enables you to buy ad space in connected TV and take advantage of what Forbes describes as the fastest-growing video advertising platform. Programmatic CTV advertising includes serving ads on gaming consoles, computers, mobile devices, and over-the-top devices. 

Essentially, for higher education inbound marketing meant to garner new enrollments; this form of advertising takes your content right into family living rooms - and even when that's not the case, everyone interested can get the message on the device they prefer.

More than 80% of TV households already have at least one connected TV device, with a mean of 4.1 devices per connected TV household. Also, 39% of adults watch streaming video content daily, and 60% watch weekly.

By utilizing programmatic and CTV advertising, you can precisely identify viewership, browsing, and buyer behavior patterns, among other individual traits, and programmatically serve ads in real-time, exclusively to the individuals and households who are likely to explore your school or offerings. 

4) Retargeting campaigns

Unfortunately, 97% of your website visitors only tour it and leave without converting. Instead of crying foul, retargeting lets you show them what you're offering again, even when they visit other websites. 

Retargeting works in two ways: 

Pixel-based: When someone comes to your website, a piece of JavaScript called a pixel that works like a cookie is placed on their browser. This pixel sends notifications to retargeting platforms to display ads based on the page they visited on your site. 

List-based: List-based retargeting uses contacts you have. You can upload a list of contacts you have on a social media platform - such as Facebook – and the platform identifies users using those addresses to serve them ads. 

Take, for example, someone comparing and contrasting different schools. Even though they check you out and walk away, retargeting enables you to follow them where they go.

You can also select users to retarget based on unique data points - for example, based on courses they browsed and update the ad by attaching statements on how the course can help or how easy it is to enroll, etc.

5) Content distribution services

To maximize your content's potential, you need to combine it with stellar distribution strategies. The oldest yet best strategy is finding your audience where they are, even if that means getting on ten different channels.

Each content type has suitable distribution channels. For example, e-books do well on website landing pages where visitors can share their contact information in exchange for the e-book.

Interviews and podcasts do well on channels like Google podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc. On the other hand, putting videos on YouTube helps leverage the giant video platform to reach audiences who learn better by video. 

Each of these content types falls into three categories of content assets: paid, owned, and earned. Paid media requires buying ad space on different platforms and websites relevant to your brand and running search ads on Google.

Earned media involves using people like employees to share content on their networks through feedback, likes, mentions, and shares. Owned media is content like webinars, industry reports, case studies, and infographics that place you as a thought leader in your space. 

Keep in mind that content strategies aren't eternally tied to a particular channel. You can repurpose content throughout different channels, thereby giving Google a chance to crawl the content again. For instance, you can repurpose an article on your website for LinkedIn and make a video for YouTube.

In conclusion

Getting your content seen is just as important as creating quality and attractive content. Education-based inbound marketing is the best way to ensure you don't spend millions of hours developing content but never reach the prospective students. 

And as siloed as inbound marketing for colleges and universities may seem, the people who need your services frequent the same channels when they're looking for nail polish, shoes, or a baseball cap. Your job is to develop content that sets you apart from your competitors and use the methods of advertising we've discussed to rise above the online scramble for attention. 

Sonority Group specializes in higher education marketing, and we have the skills and software needed to run these targeted marketing campaigns for you. Let's chat!

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FAQ Recap:


What is inbound marketing in education marketing, and how does it differ from outbound marketing?

Inbound marketing focuses on creating valuable content tailored to specific audiences, attracting them naturally to your brand or institution. It involves strategies like content creation, SEO, and social media engagement. In contrast, outbound marketing involves pushing messages to a broad audience, often through traditional advertising methods like TV commercials or billboards.


Why is inbound marketing important for educational institutions?

Inbound marketing allows educational institutions to attract prospective students, parents, and sponsors by providing relevant and valuable content. By targeting specific demographics and addressing their needs, institutions can build trust and credibility, ultimately leading to increased enrollment and engagement.


How can social media advertising benefit educational institutions?

Social media advertising enables schools to target specific demographics and reach potential students where they spend their time online. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer powerful ad-targeting tools that can help institutions showcase their programs and offerings to interested individuals.


What is search engine marketing (SEM), and why is it important for schools?

SEM involves using paid advertising to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). This allows schools to target users actively searching for educational programs or information, increasing visibility and driving relevant traffic to their websites.


How can programmatic and connected TV (CTV) advertising benefit educational institutions?

Programmatic and CTV advertising enables schools to reach potential students through targeted ads on various devices, including computers, mobile phones, and smart TVs. By leveraging data-driven insights, institutions can deliver personalized messages to specific audiences, increasing the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.


What is retargeting, and how can it help schools convert website visitors into leads?

Retargeting involves displaying ads to users who have previously visited a website but did not take a desired action, such as filling out a contact form or enrolling in a program. By keeping their institution top-of-mind for these users as they browse the web, schools can increase the likelihood of conversion.


How can schools effectively distribute their content to reach their target audience?

Schools can distribute their content through various channels, including social media, email newsletters, podcasts, and video platforms like YouTube. By understanding their audience preferences and behavior, institutions can tailor their content distribution strategies to maximize reach and engagement.


Why is content repurposing important, and how can schools utilize this strategy?

Content repurposing involves adapting existing content for different channels or formats to reach new audiences or reinforce key messages. Schools can repurpose blog posts, articles, or videos into social media posts, podcasts, or infographics, extending their content's lifespan and visibility.


How can I get started with inbound marketing for my school?

To get started with inbound marketing, schools can begin by identifying their target audience, creating valuable content that addresses their needs and interests, and leveraging various marketing channels to reach and engage prospective students. Partnering with a reputable agency like us here at Sonority Group can also provide valuable support and guidance throughout the process.


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