In 2013, most admissions and advancement professionals at higher education institutions have probably heard the terms "content marketing" or “inbound marketing,” but may not have a solid idea of what they mean and how they can help move prospective students through the admissions funnel. In a sentence, inbound marketing involves creating and sharing objective, informative content designed to appeal to the ideal prospective student, which in turn attracts more qualified leads to your institution and establishes a more targeted, relevant and personalized admissions experience. It truly sounds like the ideal solution, especially in the days of stealth applications! Yet, for a number of reasons, while many colleges and universities have beefed up their social media and online outreach, there are still many that haven't quite been able to find room in their budgets to pull from search programs and move further into the inbound space. So why is now the time?
Here are 5 simple reasons:
Inbound marketing is 100% measurable and 100% justifiable:
One of the admissions office's largest challenges in traditional (or outbound) marketing and advertising is measuring a program’s success. With inbound marketing however, you can quantify the direct results of your actions within your programs. Create and promote more content, the more visitors you will get to your site. Track which content is pointing your most qualified visitors to you and create more targeted programs around that subject matter and watch your inquiries grow.
It’s where your best prospects are:
In this world of Google and YouTube, smartphones and 24/7 connectivity, the first place your prospective students and parents go when looking for schools is online. Whether they have questions on financial aid, schools with great community service programs, or job prospects with a liberal arts degree, they’re looking for answers (and advice, not a sales pitch) through internet searches. If you think about it, most of the admissions decision making process falls in the hands of your prospects. Places like Google searches, rankings sites, message boards, social media, and blogs are where people go for these types of answers before even engaging with an admissions professional. Shouldn’t your school be the expert that provides the advice?
It’s an incredible way to differentiate your institution from your competitors:
Inbound marketing is still fairly new for colleges and universities, but your prospects are online looking for answers. Establishing your inbound marketing program while the playing field is still fairly limited will give you a huge leg up over your competition.
Inbound marketing is less expensive. Much less...
Let’s face it, there is no such thing as an admissions marketing budget that is too large. You need to make every penny count. On average, organizations with established inbound marketing programs report that the cost per lead is 61% lower than in outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing allows you to deliver targeted program content to students who have expressed an interest:
These days, more and more prospective students (and parents) have a more firm idea of what programs interest them. Students are more aware of where they want to be in 5 years, 10 years, and even further in the future, and they know which programs they need to major in to get there. Using targeted blogs and automated email marketing to stay in front of those students and parents and prove to them that your college not only has the programs that their interested in but also delivers targeted program-specific content to them - that is relevant to their needs - will only help you to build your relationhip further with the right student at the right time.
So what’s stopping you? Learn more about what success over 7000 companies have found by downloading "Internet Marketing Benchmarks by 7000+ Companies" to see how an inbound marketing program can benefit your institution today!