Fall is a magical time on a college campus. Students are excited to be back and eager to start a new school year, and students and faculty alike have a fresh slate. As the heat of summer weather gives way to crisp fall temperatures, there is just a fresh sense of renewal in the air.
And with all new beginnings, fall is also a great time to take a look at your current marketing strategy, to make sure you are staying relevant. The world of inbound marketing is constantly evolving so you need to be constantly accessing and analyzing your plans just to stay current with your competitors.
Here are 3 ways you can be sure your inbound marketing strategies stay fresh:
- Evaluate Your Buyer Personas
Yes, spending time outlining who your prospective students are takes a lot of time, and can seem redundant. However, knowing your consumer is the foundation of a successful inbound strategy. According to Hubspot, segmenting your audience and database is critical to delivering targeted, relevant content to your prospects.
So, how could your buyer personas have changed?
You might find yourself actively recruiting more international students who have different educational needs than your average American student. According to the International Institute of Education, 2015 saw a 10% increase in international students.
Are you recruiting more adult students than in the past? In 2012, a study for National Student Clearing House revealed that in fact, 38% of post-secondary students are adult learners, which is defined as anyone 25 years and older. Adult students also have very different needs from students who are attending after high school and living full time on campus.
The best way to update your buyer personas is to ask. Include space on student and prospect surveys to find out a little bit more about your prospects and then adjust accordingly.
- Assess Your Social Media Channels
Times, they are a changing. And America’s social media use goes right along with them. It’s important to take a look at your social media strategy from time to time as demographics and popularity shifts between sites. It can be frustrating because you may have just mastered a site’s algorithm when attention moves on to the next big thing. But, you signed up for a career in marketing, so you must be used to it by now.
So how are the sites ranking these days?
According to Statista, Facebook still reigns supreme in the United States, with 43% of U.S. social media site visits. YouTube doesn’t even come in at a close second, with 22% of U.S. social media visits, Reddit is next with 5.6% and Twitter comes in fourth with 4.9% of the share.
However, you also want to take demographic into account. If the buyer persona you are segmenting is a traditional student, you want to cater to the sites that skew younger. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015 Facebook was still being used by teens aged 13-17, 73% of them in fact. But the research also shows some sites that didn’t show up above including Instagram (52%), Snapchat (41%), Twitter (33%) and Google+ (33%).
When you analyze your social media traffic, it’s important to see which strategies have worked best and also do outside research to determine the newest trends in social media.
- Revamp Your Email Marketing Campaign
Over the past couple years, many marketers have declared email marketing dead, a victim of the popularization of social media. However, according to Inc., despite rumors, email marketing was never dead. An Adobe Study found 63% of consumers still prefer to receive marketing messages via email and Americans are just as obsessed with checking their email as ever. 81% of people check their email outside of work hours and 31% of people even check their email before they get out of bed in the morning.
So how has email marketing changed?
To be effective, you need to be constantly tweaking your email marketing practices to stay relevant.
- According to B2C, personalization is key. Mass emails and blasts are a thing of the past, unless you want your emails to go straight to spam.
- Your emails need to be optimized for mobile. Remember those 31% of people checking their emails in bed? They didn’t do it on a desktop computer. According to emailmonday, 25% of people will read their emails on their mobile devices first. That number increases to 40% in the 14-18 age group.
- Consider using images and GIFs in your emails. According to Litmus, using these visual aspects can delight prospects and increase click-throughs on your email. Remember, the inbox is still very crowded and the competition is stiff.
There you go, you’ve got three solid areas to analyze in order to refresh your marketing this fall. These are by no means the only areas you will want to check out, but they do provide a great jumping off point. By constantly looking for new trends and improvements to your current inbound marketing strategies, you will stay relevant in the college market.