We’re under constant assault from companies that are competing for our attention. And we’re experienced at dodging most of the marketing messages that come our way. So how do we as education marketers ensure that our marketing messages reach their intended audiences?
By launching a strategic inbound marketing program. What is inbound marketing? Quite simply, it’s a process that helps prospects find you and then converts them into customers and lifetime fans.
There are many good reasons to develop a strong inbound program, one of which is that the cost of inbound leads is considerably less than the cost of outbound ones. According to HubSpot, the average lead generated through traditional marketing costs $346 while an inbound lead averages $135.
Some basic strategies for effective inbound marketing
The #1 rule of inbound marketing is to start with great content. Use a mix of text, audio, and video to create shareable content that helps your target audience solve their problems or bring value to their lives. We want to develop authentic long-term relationships with customers. Providing them with consistent and outstanding content is a way to do that.
If you’ve tried blogging before or are intimidated by the commitment, consider posting regular short articles as a way to refresh content on your site. The addition of content on a regular basis is a proven strategy for building your website’s authority that increase organic referrals to your site.
Make sure your website is a responsive design so that it appears clearly on every size screen. Being optimized for mobile is critical to your success. The vast majority of searches are now conducted on mobile devices.
Get SEO working for you. Master the basic practices and you will significantly increase your chances of being found by your prospects.
Segment your database according to buyer personas and create customized email campaigns. Marketing automation allows you to deliver relevant information to specific leads over time that keeps people interested and engaged.
Learn about social proof. Make sure that all emails and pieces of content have easy-to-access-and-use social sharing and follow buttons. Clever, entertaining or valuable content gets shared leading to the social proof you’re looking for.
Test, test, test. Test your email subject lines. Test landing pages. Test offers. Everything diminishes over time, so even when you find winning combinations, be sure to change them up frequently.
Analytics are important – opens, click throughs, downloads, time on the site, etc. The exact combination of metrics that are valuable varies by company, but watching them over time will provide important benchmarks for your business.
While putting these strategies to work will strengthen your inbound marketing program, inbound marketing can’t build your business all by itself. It is one part of an integrated marketing strategy that includes outbound marketing and sales. In an established institutional market like K-12, it’s important to market through traditional channels as well. It is the effective blend of inbound and outbound that will help you serve your customers and make them lifetime fans.