How to apply inbound marketing for universities in 2022

Now that the recruitment campaigns for new university students occur almost entirely on the internet, we must rethink the strategies. The competition is bigger and you know what you are doing, so investing only in Google Adwords campaigns or activating social media ads might not be enough to exceed your marketing goals. Today we are going to explain how to apply Inbound Marketing for universities and why it is your best option right now.

Inbound marketing for universities

Inbound Marketing is a strategy that allows you to attract more new students, analyzing their information needs and creating useful content.

Of 100% of your target audience, generally 2% are ready to enroll. They are reached with Google Adwords and Facebook Ads campaigns.

But what about 98%? Those users have probably not considered changing colleges or are just evaluating their options. Inbound Marketing focuses on nurturing that audience, accompanying them and finally assisting them in their purchase decision process.

How does inbound marketing for universities work?

Inbound Marketing for universities attracts users who are close to enrolling, but are just looking for information about their different career options. There are three important phases within Inbound Marketing for universities:

1. Attract

Better known as Awareness, in this first stage the information needs of students must be evaluated by doing a study of keywords (Keyword Research).

Then, valuable content is created to answer those queries. At this stage it is advisable to design an SEO strategy that allows these contents to appear in the first search results on Google.

It is also important to consider utilitarian and connection content in social networks, to reach an audience that does not necessarily search for the university by brand.

Recommended content:

  • ✔ Race guides
  • ✔ Vocational guidance
  • ✔ Tips and advice
  • ✔ Answer frequently asked questions

2. Consideration

At this stage, our target user, who was just evaluating their career options before, has probably already made a decision about what they want to study and is looking at their college options. In Inbound Marketing this is the first step to feed your database.

Our first recommendation is to choose a downloadable value offer that allows you to obtain the data of the potential student. This material has to be exclusive and of high quality, it has to motivate the user to submit a form. For example: a free webinar or course.

At the same time, it is important to publish content on blog and social networks that responds to searches of a more transactional nature, for example:

  • ✔ Testimonials
  • ✔ Campus videos
  • ✔ Academic benefits
  • ✔ License plate information

3. Closing

At this stage if the ads on Google and social networks are valid. However, Inbound Marketing for universities is committed to tracking the leads that come from the consideration stage. You can connect with them using Email Marketing, which is one of the cheapest actions but with the highest return on investment (ROI).

It is only at this point that you can activate mechanisms such as the call center, which will also have all the necessary information about the student for a personalized and close approach.

How to position a university with Inbound Marketing?

1. Optimize your website and content with SEO

To gain greater visibility in search engines like Google, you must apply an SEO strategy. This involves optimizing your website and your content by incorporating keywords, among other important techniques that are friendly to the Google algorithm.

2. Create a solid content strategy

At each stage of the conversion funnel, it is important to create content of value for the student, which responds to their information needs. This can be addressed in the following formats:

  • ✔ Blogs
  • ✔ Videos
  • ✔ Live broadcasts
  • ✔ Images and infographics

For both the SEO strategy and the content matrix, it is important to analyze the study of keywords. This will show which are the most frequent queries of your potential students on Google and YouTube (search engines).

3. More connection and less promotion in emails (plus: segmentation)

Email marketing is one of the most profitable strategies, especially when it follows the parameters of Inbound Marketing. Where is the magic? In the segmentation process.

Having a well-segmented database is the key for Inbound Marketing to be a magnet for new students. This allows you to personalize the subjects, create proximity in the message, and even make the right content recommendations. Simply put: you connect with your audience because you know what they need and you really help them. 

An important fact about Inbound Marketing for universities: you need a CRM for the strategy to flow efficiently. CRM is a system that allows you to automate the tracking of leads.

With this platform you can design a flow of responses and follow-up to different segments of your database. For example: you can have an email for students who are in certain districts of Lima and downloaded a certain value offer; and a totally different one for young people who are requesting information about the enrollment process.

4. Transform your social networks into conversion channels

Inbound Marketing for universities is not only concerned with increasing the engagement of your social networks, but also incorporates them into the conversion funnel to turn them into powerful acquisition channels. Each one happens to play a strategic role according to the audience you want to attract.

A universal truth: your community will grow. As your content strategy appeals to the information needs of your users, your connection probability increases rapidly.

5. Analyze your results and optimize, optimize, optimize

The best part of inbound marketing for universities is that it allows you to optimize the strategy according to indicators that can be measured at any time. The following tools help to do this:

  • ✔ Google Analytics (WEB)
  • ✔ Google Search Console (SEO)
  • ✔ Hubspot (CRM)
  • ✔ Semrush or Ahrefs (SEO)

How to create an Inbound marketing strategy for universities?

1. Define your ideal client

The first and most important step: define your ideal client. This implies not only understanding which are the demographic characteristics of the users in analytics, but also choosing which segment of that universe you want to attract. For example: all students who graduate from high school are a good target for any university, but perhaps your institution has higher than average costs: so there is an added economic factor that is important to consider.

It is also important to analyze what your ideal customer cares about, what social networks they spend more time on, how they make their purchase decisions, what factors influence their decisions, what their fears are and what are their most frequent searches on Google.

2. Design your Client Journey

Do you remember the three phases of Inbound marketing that we explained at the beginning of this article? At this point, you must analyze the behavior of your client in each phase. In this way you will be able to define the bases of your strategy: what content are you looking for? In what channels? What offer would help us to obtain your data?, Ect.

3. Analyze the user experience of your website

A very, very important factor is that your website has an excellent user experience. What does this mean?

  • ✔ Charge in less than 2 seconds
  • ✔ That the landing pages respond to what the user needs
  • ✔ That the structure of the web is very easy to understand (intuitive)
  • ✔ That can be accessed from any device (responsive)
  • ✔ That is optimized with SEO

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