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Inbound Marketing for Colleges: Why it’s so Important

Inbound Marketing for Colleges

Inbound marketing is one of the most important aspects of any business, and colleges are no exception. By using inbound marketing techniques, colleges can attract new students and increase their enrollment numbers. 

But how do you incorporate inbound marketing into your campaigns? In this blog post, we will break down the inbound marketing methodology and buyer's journey. Understanding these concepts will help you use the inbound methodology in the enrollment journey.

What is Inbound Marketing for Colleges?  

The Inbound Marketing Methodology is a set of best practices designed to attract, engage, and delight prospective students through intelligent digital content. It helps you build lasting relationships with your audience by providing valuable content that educates them about their needs and helps them solve their problems. Unlike outbound marketing methods like cold calling or direct mail, inbound marketing attracts customers through interesting and valuable content. 

The inbound marketing methodology can be broken down into three stages: attracting students, engaging students, and delighting students. Each stage has its own set of tactics that colleges can use to reach their target audience. Here's how: 

1) Attract 

Attracting is the first step in any inbound marketing campaign, and colleges need to be creative when doing so. You need to create valuable content that establishes you as an authority and, at the same time, catches the attention of students and makes them want to learn more. You can have content answering queries such as "what are the highest paying careers in my region?"

To attract or draw students, you also need to ensure that your content is easily accessible. This means publishing your content on channels where your target audience hangs out online, such as social media platforms or forums. You should also confirm your website is optimized so it shows up in search engine results pages (SERPs) when students search for educational content related to what you offer.  

2) Engage 

After you attract a student, the next step is to engage them. You can do this by providing more content that addresses why they might be interested in your school and what makes it stand out from competitors. Ideal channels to use in this stage include email marketing and social media.  

You should also provide other methods of engagement, such as phone numbers or email, where students can contact you directly with questions about their application process. The main aim of this stage is to nurture your leads and build lasting relationships by providing insights and solutions to their problems.  

3) Delight 

After engaging the students and building a relationship with them, it is time to delight your leads. This means providing an outstanding experience that goes beyond their expectations. Aim to provide extra value by offering students other services, such as helping in their application process or providing career advice. These engagements will make your school stand out from competitors, making it easier for potential students to choose your school. 

Another great way to delight your new students is by providing them with continued value even after enrollment. You can do this by providing fresh educational content on your blog, social media channels, or through email. This will help students stay engaged with the school and increase their satisfaction level, which leads to higher retention rates for returning students. 

- 5 INBOUND MARKETING MISTAKES TO AVOID IN SCHOOL WEBSITE DESIGN - 

The Buyer's Journey 

Now that we understand the inbound marketing methodology, let's take a look at the buyer's journey. The buyer's journey is a process that potential customers go through when they're considering a purchase. It has three stages: awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage.  

1) Awareness Stage 

In this stage, the customer is just starting to become aware of their need to join a college that offers specific courses. Yet, they might not know that your school exists. Focus on providing content that is helpful and informative without being too “salesy.” 

So how do you ensure they become aware of your school? You create content that will make them discover your school. Use social media (72% of the public use some form of social media), blog posts (this is an asset that's crawlable by search engines and discoverable by users), use white papers, educational webinars, how-to-videos, and landing pages. 

2) Consideration Stage 

In this stage, the customer has identified their need and is researching options. They have identified they want to attend a school but have not decided on which school to attend. They might be reading articles, watching videos, or even talking to friends and family about their choices. 

This is where you need to provide content that helps them compare your school against others. Aim to provide content that not only shows your expertise but also showcases your school's unique selling points. This can be done by creating blog posts, articles, infographics, or videos that answer common questions about your school.  

At this point, you should also start using email marketing and targeted ads. Remember to provide easy access for students to contact your school directly with questions about their application process.  

3) Decision Stage 

The customer has now decided on your school as their preferred choice for the courses they desire. At this stage, it's important to continue providing valuable content that will help them make the final decision. 

You could create content that describes your financial aid programs or student support services in detail. This could be case studies, testimonials, or even pricing information. 

Key Takeaway 

Inbound marketing is a great way to attract students and build lasting relationships. It's a more effective and less intrusive alternative to outbound methods, like cold calling or direct mail. By using inbound marketing strategies, you can ensure that potential students are aware of your school, engaged with your content, and delighted with your services.  

If you would like to learn more about inbound marketing for your college or university, think Sonority Group. We can assist you with all your higher education marketing efforts. Let's chat today.  

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