In today's world and with this generation of students and parents, mastering digital marketing is critical for driving applications and enrollment numbers at your school. This fact applies to all levels of education, from college down to lower school.
However, not all forms of digital marketing are equal. To attract interest from students and families, you need to focus on tactics that don't just blast your message out into the ether but that engage directly with targeted prospects and draw them in.
The most effective way to reach your prospects is with inbound marketing.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is an umbrella term for digital outreach methods that seek to draw customers in rather than push a message outward.
As an example, a billboard would be considered outbound marketing, as it puts a brand on display for the public to see but doesn't engage with customers individually or open a two-way line of communication.
On the other hand, a targeted social media outreach campaign is a form of inbound marketing, as its goal is not just to push a message out to potential customers but to receive feedback from them and open up a dialogue.
Whereas outbound marketing is passive — you put out the billboard or the TV spot or the radio ad and then sit by the phone hoping it rings — inbound marketing is active. Once a campaign goes live on social media, you can track exactly who has seen it and how they have responded to it.
Did they leave a comment?
Hit the "Like" button?
Click a link for more information?
Completely ignore it and scroll past?
All of this information is available to you through the advanced tracking capabilities offered by the big social media platforms.
You can use the data you extract not only to engage with prospects who respond positively but also to tweak your future campaigns, in turn making them more effective.
Why Is Inbound Marketing Important for Schools?
Whether they are looking at colleges, high schools or lower schools, students and parents want a school that they are able to feel connected to.
With a TV ad or billboard, you might be able to show off your new science building or athletic facilities, but you can't reach out to students on a personal level and show them why your school is the best fit for them.
Inbound marketing allows your school to target prospective students based on an array of metrics, including geographic region, test scores, and even hobbies. Marketing messages tailored to a student's specific interests carry more of a personal touch and are more likely to open a meaningful dialogue.
How Can My School Launch an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign?
To launch an effective inbound marketing campaign, start by answering two questions:
1. Who are we trying to target? And 2. what message do we want to convey?
Once you have a clear picture of what your targeted prospects look like and what message you want them to receive, a digital marketing firm such as Caxton can help you with the intricacies of launching your campaign, including choosing the right platform, setting a budget and engaging with prospects who respond favorably.
May Street for Education can also help you shape your message itself, ensuring that it is one that will resonate with the students and families who receive it.