Inbound marketing has been called one of the greatest innovations in student recruitment since the launch of the first college websites.
And think about what a leap that was—from a world where the main source of information on colleges was located in a library or in folders full of view books and brochures at college fairs—to a world in which all that information (and more) was at their fingertips 24/7.
The problem is some institutions haven’t gone far beyond that initial innovation.
Sure, every college has a web presence, but in many cases, “digital marketing” has merely meant the transfer of old marketing techniques onto the web. Same strategy, different package. For inbound marketing, your website needs to be innovative, interactive and engaging.
Here are 3 ways your current website is failing:
1. Your website is a billboard
That’s right, you literally have the same things on your website that you could advertise on a billboard. You’re not alone. Too often, college websites feature generic and bland advertisements that could be virtually interchangeable with images from any and every other college out there.
Know your unique qualities and own who you are. Successful colleges and universities know their brand, own it proudly and articulate it well by creating an online experience and online content that’s inherently inviting, interesting and attractive. Change your content often, make it unique and experiment with different formats.
2. You are pushing your message out instead of drawing people in
In old school marketing, it was all about crafting the message. Inbound marketing doesn’t work that way. If you are broadcasting the message you think people want to see on your website, you might be missing out on what they are actually looking for.
Instead, try thinking of your website as a place where prospective students and their parents feel welcome, comfortable and free to try out all the good things your institution has to offer. Find out what’s important to prospective students. By articulating your brand, you can offer prospective students a taste of who you are by the nature and quality of the content you offer.
3. You have no idea who has visited your website
You can have an incredible website design and fantastic content and it won’t make a bit of difference if you have no way of capturing unique visitors to your website. The process of turning website visitors into leads is integral to inbound marketing.
This is where content offers come into play. When you create quality e-books, infographics, slide shares and other content on topics your students are interested in, they will provide their information in exchange for the resources you offer. Now you have names and contact information for people who have visited your website and are likely interested in hearing from you. We call these leads!
If your website is failing in any or all of the ways mentioned above, have no fear. By following an inbound marketing methodology, you can make these and other necessary changes to your website to make sure you are reaching your prospective students in ways that will be beneficial to both them and you.
You have fabulous ideas that you can’t wait to share with the world. You know your institution has great things to offer too. Now get to work on your website.