An inbound agency may not be the first set of hands you would call on to help your school’s digital marketing strategy, but it’s the right move. Inbound agencies don’t just work with businesses that sell products or services; they also work with colleges and universities that are interested in strengthening their digital marketing strategies. The key is choosing the right type of agency that has experience with increasing alumni engagement, bringing in qualified students and turning visitors into applicants.
If you feel that your marketing strategy could use a fresh perspective, let an inbound agency help you with your goals. Here are five ways this can be done.
1. Bring qualified students to you.
It’s no secret that the search for qualified students is getting more competitive. Colleges and universities aren’t just looking for more applicants; they’re looking for the right students who will excel at their program. By defining what audience you’re trying to reach and understanding what’s important and relevant to them, you can provide the information they are seeking.
When your college or university is the one that continues to answer the questions that a student is actively searching for, such as tips on studying for college-entry tests or advice for filling out an application, you’ll establish yourself as an authority. Prospective students will trust you for information and possibly take it one step further by signing up for a mailing list, subscribing to your blog or visiting your school.
An inbound agency will help organize your content and marketing materials, including what topics to write on, when to distribute the content and how to collect information. You don’t have to do anything but watch the interest roll in.
2. Attract a specific audience.
You can probably think of the ideal candidate for your program. Perhaps you’re trying to reach students who are interested in web design, or maybe you’re attempting to target adults returning to college. Rather than creating a marketing strategy that appeals to the masses, an inbound agency can help design a targeted campaign that reaches specific audiences.
The benefit to reaching certain people is that you can tailor the messages to speak to them directly. They’ll feel more connected to the message and probably more open to taking the next steps, whether it’s filling out a form or scheduling a campus tour. You also reap the rewards of getting interest from qualified students who will do well in your program. If you offer technology-based courses, you probably don’t want to waste time on a student interested in teaching.
3. Capture important data.
You may not know what types of data to capture and how to capture them, but an inbound agency can help you out. One of the most constructive ways to collect data is by providing relevant content in exchange for contact information. For instance, in exchange for a name, email and phone number, you can allow prospective students to download an ebook or white paper.
The willingness to fill out the form tells you that the students are qualified leads and don’t mind being contacted by you. You can then nurture these leads through the funnel with the right content at the right time. An inbound agency will help you create content to download, forms to fill out and marketing materials to distribute through the funnel.
4. Share campus news through storytelling.
Your school is 100% unique, and the best way to show this is through storytelling. To keep your college’s story interesting and relevant, you should share stories of campus events, advancements in education, new success stories and more.
The key benefit to digital storytelling is that you can do it in real time. Print materials like magazines and brochures are still effective, but it’s hard to discuss an upcoming fall fest before or after the effect. Whether it’s through your campus blog, your website or social media, an inbound marketing agency can drive engagement by sharing stories in real time.
5. Create shareable marketing materials.
Share-worthy content is how you increase visibility, enhance engagement and become a trusted leader in your industry. Yet with so much content on the Web, it’s hard to know what types of content are most shareable.
An inbound agency can help you create shareable content that has the right keywords, catchy titles and subtitles and professional images. It also helps to mix up the content with infographics, blog posts, short videos, comics and ebooks.
Not only does the content make a difference, but so do the channels that it’s shared on. You have the potential to reach a large audience, but it’s important to maximize your reach by posting content exclusively to each channel.
For example, some marketers simply share one post across many channels, but this doesn’t do the content any justice in reaching the right audiences. Instead, it’s best to follow the best practices for posting on each channel. It takes a few extra minutes to post individually to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., but it’s worth it.
An inbound marketing agency can greatly improve your school’s digital marketing strategy. By increasing visibility, establishing yourself as an authority and capturing the right leads, your school will see boosted enrollment numbers, which is crucial in today’s competitive environment. On a bright note, some schools are slow to implement the help of an inbound agency, so taking this initiative will propel your higher institution further.