The way schools need to do marketing has changed!
Nowadays, it has become pretty much obvious for many UK schools, universities, and colleges that traditional marketing can no longer provide them with the optimal effectiveness, they need to attract new students and applicants with modern marketing techniques and tactics. Radio ads, impressive billboards, and local paper advertisements won’t impress parents and students, who clearly give an advantage to new web-based and mobile technologies.
Traditional marketing proved itself to be both expensive and near impossible to track how effective it had been. That’s why, a new marketing concept called inbound marketing for schools has emerged as a less disruptive and more affordable alternative. So, what is inbound marketing and how can UK schools benefit from it?
What is inbound marketing for schools?
Inbound marketing has been around for many years, but is now coming to the forefront of many marketing professional strategies, it allows for detailed reporting and transparency on the money being spent within any marketing budget, plus it is a non intrusive marketing method that allows you to create conversations with potential students through your content and online marketing channels.
inbound marketing for schools is about using marketing tactics to bring potential students and parents to you, rather than having your traditional and offline marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing content and knowledge online is seen as caring, as you are educating people for free, inbound marketing ideas for schools centre around creating and sharing educational content directly with your target audience. By creating a content strategy, specifically designed to target and appeal to your dream students and parents, inbound attracts potential students and parents that are directly interested in your school, college or university, and keeps them coming back for more.
Inbound vs Traditional Marketing
Inbound marketing can target potential students, parents and mature students who are knowledgeable about the type of courses they need to further their education. In addition, professional inbound marketers take a strategic approach to the specific marketing tactics used when targeting the types of people that will be looking to enroll into a school or further education. With a strong emphasis on the web and mobile technology, it is also worth mentioning that inbound marketing allows its users to choose and adapt the most suitable approaches for their specific audience and goals. Therefore, UK schools have plenty of effective inbound marketing methods to choose from, such as:
Running a blog is one of the most effective inbound marketing methods. What is even more important to know is that your blog helps you promote the right keywords for your search engine goals. Blogs are a very popular choice for UK schools, due to a simple fact that they can be used to promote programs and inform future students in an effective and affordable way. There are so many things a school can blog about. Almost every single aspect of student’s life can be covered and promoted. Finally, UK schools that blog can expect to generate more than 65% of leads compared to those that still hesitate to launch an official blog.
Your school’s blog is just one component of a more complex and influential structure when a strategic content marketing plan is put together. Successful inbound marketing is all about top quality and relevant content. When it comes to content marketing strategies for schools the possibilities are literally endless. For instance, you can come up with a series of useful guides for both parents and students, you can conduct relevant studies and researches, which can be later published in whitepapers. Or, you can create a personalised user experience by getting potential students to enter their first, last name and email address to download a personalised prospectus, which they download as a pdf and is personalised to their specific preferences. By creating a targeted, personalised user and content experience people are already invested into your school brand and values.
By collecting only the basic 'First Name', 'Last Name' and 'Email Address' of a potential student to give them a unique user experience on your website, you are creating a strategic plan that will enable you to start a more detailed conversation and inbound marketing strategy with students and parents.
The statistics are merciless when it comes to an average time a website visitor spends on a homepage. You have less than 10 seconds to impress or intrigue your future students or their parents. Additionally, you need to remember that more than 80% of web users give a strong advantage to relevant content rather than traditional advertising methods.
If a post is greater than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than a post that is under 1,500 words. (QuickSprout)
Search engine optimization
You don’t have to be an SEO guru to know that a school or university with good SEO has better chances of appearing in top search results compared to the competition that fails to comply with search engine optimization requirements. In case you believe that there are SEO shortcuts, such as Google-sponsored ads, you should be aware of the fact that more than 80% of web users tend to ignore them. Also, if you think that the importance of a first page ranking on Google's search results is highly overrated, you should know that almost 75% of Internet users simply never pay a visit to the second page.
Here are some invaluable general SEO tips UK schools can benefit from:
- Make sure that all relevant keywords students and parents frequently use are included on your website
- Although a picture is worth a thousand words this isn’t the case with the search engines, make sure your 'alt' tags are correctly described to increase page rankings with images on
- Pay attention to relevant and quality links to your website, increase social shares by publishing your content across the social networks
- Don’t forget to include your school’s contact information, which can play an important role in local SEO and additional local links building
UK schools and universities or colleges that aim to directly approach the future students should pay a great deal of attention to social media. However, we have to emphasize a simple fact that creating a successful social media campaign is much more than launching an official Facebook page for your college or university. You need to ensure your presence on major social networks, including the appealing and proactive approach.
Furthermore, the best way of discovering the true power of inbound marketing is to combine two or more available methods. For example, you can combine social media with content marketing. Or you can share your blog posts on your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar. According to the findings of the Content Marketing Institute, 8 out of 10 Internet users like to read blogs. What’s even more important to remember is the fact that almost one-third of the total time spent online is reserved for social media.
This may come as a surprise for you, but video content represents an important part of a successful inbound marketing strategy. Video forms represent the future of social media and advertising itself. You’ve probably read the news about Facebook’s investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars in video production. It’s only a matter of time before videos become the most dominant online form.
When you create videos associated with your school, you open a powerful communication channel that can be used to attract new students. The overwhelming majority of people is more oriented toward visual contents and learning. That’s probably the mean reason why a web page with a video gets 95% more views compared to the one without video forms.
Inbound marketing represents an excellent opportunity for UK schools to achieve their advertising goals in the new web and mobile oriented environment in an efficient and a cost-friendly way. New generations of students appreciate thoughtful approaches and inspirational contents. Their parents award their trust to UK schools that haven’t failed to catch up with the latest trends and technologies.Investing in your inbound marketing means to ensure an increased number of new students for your school, college, or university.
You will learn:
How to use personas, SEO, and content to attract more students to your website
Ways to create a unique and personalised user experience on your website
Find out what your school goals are and if they fit in with a content marketing strategy
Pro tip: A school with a content strategy, will engage with potential students across all social media channels