We’ve covered many ways that inbound marketing could be perfect for your institution. It gives you a chance to really have a conversation with your prospective students and get to know them. According to Hubspot, it’s up to 61% less expensive than traditional marketing. It even produces higher-quality leads than your old tried-and-true tactics.
By now you understand that inbound marketing is all about drawing prospective customers in, rather than pushing your message out. You understand it’s about creating a virtual space and extending a hand for leads to get in touch and stay in touch. You understand it’s about listening as much as you speak and understanding what your prospective students want out of an education.
You understand that content is the engine that drives inbound marketing.
Content can take endless forms—podcasts, blog posts, tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook updates, ebooks, Slideshare presentations and YouTube videos are all ways for you to communicate your brand using the inbound strategy of offering valuable material to attract and delight your audience.
That means all of your inbound content—every tweet, post, video, photo and update—should be created with the goal of earning attention and eliciting delight.
Here are some tips that will help you create the content you need for a successful inbound plan:
Before you begin to create your content, you must develop a plan.
The creation of content is not an end in itself. As part of your inbound strategy, you will use your content to draw prospective students in. You will use your initial content to attract and delight them enough that they will share their contact information with you. Then you will in turn provide more specifically tailored information appropriate to their unique needs and interests, and you will gain a little more trust from them. Eventually, you will nurture this lead into an applicant and then a student. You need to keep your ultimate goals in mind from the beginning in order for each step along the way to be effective.
Your content must actually be great content.
This should go without saying, but if you don’t put the time and resources into actually providing useful, well-written information, your prospective students won’t give you the time of day. Great content comes from great content writers. These may be in-house writers, designers, video producers and social media experts, or they may be contractors, freelancers or even an agency. Whatever your team decides, it’s crucial that your content is written, edited and designed to the highest possible standards. Today’s consumers are savvy and can sniff out low production quality quickly.
You must spend a sizable chunk of your budget on creating content that you will give out for free.
Free?!? Does that make any sense? Actually, it does. As a higher education marketing professional, you’re used to doing just that. Only in the past, it took the form of glossy, full-color brochures. The content you create digitally actually has a much longer shelf life than those brochures that ended up in the recycling bin. Digital content can be endlessly used, reused and revised without showing its age. And remember, inbound marketing costs significantly less than traditional marketing.
Remember the quality of the content you offer will also send a message to prospective students and their parents about the quality of your institution. If, for example, you create a really excellent guide to writing a college admissions essay, that article will not only generate organic traffic and interest and give prospective students a chance to opt into further communications with your admissions team, it also positions your institution as a helpful, savvy and generous guide within the maze of admissions and applications.
Producing fabulous content that delights your audience will assure that your institution is viewed as the type of place with resources that make a difference, the type of place your prospective students would like to be a part of.
Download our infographic to learn why you need inbound marketing for student recruitment.