Take a deep breath. You can do this—you have nothing to lose but that poor ROI.
What we’ve been seeing in recent years is a major disruption in the way marketing works, based on a seismic shift in how prospective students—along with all other consumers—behave.
These days, people choose the content that they consume. They’re in control of what they look at, listen to, and click on. Rising juniors and seniors are “digital natives”—they’ve never not had the Internet—and they’re experts at wriggling out of advertising.
- 44% of direct mail is never opened.
- 91% of email users have unsubscribed from emails they opted into.
- The vast majority of people—86%!—skip television ads.
Your marketing strategy needs to change
Relax: we’re not saying you have to change current strategy. Inbound marketing methodology doesn’t replace campus visits, viewbooks, and in-person meetings with recruitment professionals—but it enhances and amplifies these efforts in highly effective ways.
Inbound vs. Outbound (hint: inbound’s going to win!)
Inbound is all about drawing the prospective student in. In outbound marketing, you push your message out and hope it sticks. With inbound, you draw potential applicants into awareness of your college or university by creating, publishing, and sharing quality content that’s worth his or her time.
Inbound marketing methodology: the right choice for student recruitment
Today’s students don’t wait for a college or university to get in touch with them—the vast majority of them now initiate contact with the institutions they’re interested in. Thanks to the Internet and social media, prospective students are able to gather tremendous amounts of information without putting down their smartphones.
What that means for higher education marketing is this: we’ve got to understand what our ideal applicants are searching for and how they’re searching for it. And we’ve got to create compelling content around the problems and questions they find most pressing—so that when they head to the search engine to do some poking around, we’ll be ready and waiting for them.
Higher quality leads—and a better ROI
Because it allows prospects to self-select, inbound marketing methodology delivers high-quality leads.
And because it requires no new investments in tech or IT, it can deliver these high quality leads at 62% less cost-per-lead than traditional outbound marketing.
Know more about your prospects.
Because an integral part of inbound marketing methodology is tracking student online behavior—and capturing contact information through strategic calls-to-action —inbound can let your admissions and marketing teams get to know your prospective students better. You’ll be able to anticipate their concerns and questions faster than you (or they!) thought possible.
When recruiters understand which search terms prospects are using, and which pieces of content they’re downloading, when they know what prospects are saying and ‘liking’ on social media, they gather valuable knowledge that’s useful in nurturing top prospects into applicants and ultimately, students.
Inbound: marketing you won’t hate!
The old way of marketing relies too much on interruption. It seems to assume that the prospective student or customer has to be lured or tricked into paying attention to the message you’re putting out there.
Inbound isn’t like that. It’s not a strategy that puts its own agenda first. Instead, inbound aims to put the prospective students’ needs first by aiming to delight at every stage by delivering just the right content at just the right time.
Because doesn’t it feel great to be listened to—instead of talked at?
Who wouldn’t rather participate in a conversation than be on the listening end of a sales pitch?
That’s inbound marketing methodology. Welcome to the conversation. There’s nothing to fear.
Summing it up:
Traditional marketing methods are reaching the end of their effectiveness. In their place is inbound marketing, which has been found to be far more effective in terms of ROI than outbound methods, and which is a two-way, conversational approach to marketing that dovetails with how today’s consumers (and prospective students) prefer to engage. These days, people expect to exercise a measure of control over the information they receive, and tend not to appreciate messages being foisted upon them—that’s particularly true of prospective college students. As digital natives, young people in this demographic reject advertising and prefer responsive conversation. Inbound marketing methodology is the right strategy to reach them.
Worried about student enrollment? Our free Inbound Marketing checklist will ease your fears.