5 Content Lead Magnets That Increase School Enrollment
Higher education marketing has changed drastically over the past few years. The days in which a university could simply send a viewbook to a large list of purchased SAT names are long over. Today, as a large number of institutions are competing for a limited number of potential students, more nuanced strategies are absolutely crucial.
Enter inbound marketing, a concept that builds itself on providing value rather than promotion. Its methodology, with an emphasis on education, aligns closely with the core mission of educational institutions. That's why colleges and universities across the country have increasingly embraced the concept to attract and convert future students on their way through the enrollment journey.
Inbound marketing for education requires understanding the types of content your students are looking for as they prepare to graduate high school and look towards their future. Yes, that means highlighting your core value proposition, available majors, and the quality of your faculty. But it shouldn't end there.
How Lead Magnets Drive Inbound Marketing
Students, especially under the age of 18, don't yet know their path. They need help navigating the complex world of financial aid, and how to choose a major. Offer the right content, and you can implicitly position yourself as a valuable expert with the goal of helping both students and their parents to make the right decision for their future.
That content can come in many forms. In the context of inbound marketing, institutions use social media, email, and student blogs. Lead magnets lend themselves most closely to educational content. That's because they offer real value, enough for students to give the college their contact information - and receive future, more targeted communication as a result.
Of course, not every type of content works as a lead magnet. Sticking with the theme of inbound marketing, you cannot expect to get prospect emails if you simply talk about how beautiful your campus is. Instead, these 5 examples offer the value your students are looking for to get in touch, learn more about your school, and ultimately add to your enrollment.
1. An Interactive Career Exploration Tool
Educational expert Jamie Casap, who specializes in the needs and expectations of Generation Z, has a crucial insight into the direction your messaging should take with young students: "ask students not what they want to be, but what problems they want to solve." That means, instead of highlighting the number of majors you offer, an effective lead generation can help prospects (and their parents) define their future career.
Ideally, this type of tool is interactive. Students can add information about their interests and skills, and include an email address for the results. Those results will highlight the types of careers that suit their needs, along with the majors offered by your university to lead to these types of careers.
2. A Virtual Campus Tour With Conversion Points
Visits are among the most effective enrollment marketing initiatives. But what if your students can't make it, or want to check out your campus before planning a long-distance trip? Many universities have turned to virtual tours as a more convenient solution that still offers some degree of immersion.
A basic virtual tour is increasingly common, and probably won't prompt sign-ups. But you can go deeper. Consider adding conversion points to various points of your tour, at which interested audiences can dig deeper and learn more about areas like the library or football stadium. Alternatively, offer premium features (such as VR videos) that are only accessible through a sign-up form.
3. The Comprehensive Guide to Filing Your FAFSA
Financial aid is consistently among the biggest worries students and their parents have in the college search process. Even well-meaning advice from financial aid counselors and university websites becomes difficult as it delves into jargon and only leads to more confusion. So why not take charge of helping your audiences dig through the process?
A lead magnet like the above is perfect to get started. Build it as an eBook, a lexicon on the most confusing jargon terms, or even a checklist with specific dates attached to when the student and their family need to perform which steps. Offer opportunities to reach out for a personal consultation as needed, but keep the content college-agnostic otherwise. Once you establish it as a resource, students and families will begin to share it with their peers, amplifying your lead generation.
4. How to Find Scholarships that Make College More Affordable
Similar to the above, this type of guide helps families think of college in less negative terms. Many university marketers stay away from mentioning costs altogether because of high sticker prices. The reality is that this point is at the forefront of your audience's mind, so you might as well do something to address it.
Most families don't even know about the range of options available to them. This guide can list both internal and external scholarship possibilities, along with tips on how to search for one that fits and how to submit an application that maximizes success chances. Add enough tangible resources, and students will sign up naturally.
5. How to Find the Perfect Roommate
Don't forget about social life, especially as would-be college students begin to imagine themselves as a resident on your campus. When that happens, finding the right roommate is definitely a core consideration. Though a guide like this, you can alleviate worries and prepare your students for their success.
Some colleges automatically match roommates for incoming students. In that case, you can adjust this type of guide to instead highlight how you get along with or simply adjust to living with a suitemate. Again, focus on the immediate worries your students tend to share, and provide unbiased, comprehensive answers to alleviate concerns.
Building a Comprehensive Inbound Marketing Strategy For Your University
Of course, these types of lead magnets are just one part of a more comprehensive inbound marketing approach. New leads in your CRM or student management system matter little if you don't follow up, nurturing them towards applying to your school and eventually enrolling. And of course, digital ads and search engine optimization can help to make sure that prospects and their parents find your lead magnets in the first place.
In other words, you need a successful school marketing strategy that you can use as a framework for your most comprehensive and valuable content. With that strategy in mind, you can maximize the success of your individual tactics, attracting more students to your website, CRM, and school.
If you are interested in developing a successful inbound marketing strategy for your institution, let's talk.