13 Inbound Marketing Strategies – Are You “All-In” At Your School?
The Web has completely changed our lives. From the way we communicate to how we are glued to our smartphones, the Web is a core part of our everyday lives.
To me, the irony is that it hasn’t totally changed the way we market our schools. While some schools have made the complete jump and are “all in,” there are many that are still testing the waters and are straddling with one foot dipped into the inbound marketing pool while one is still firmly planted in traditional outbound advertising strategies.
I believe it is time for school marketing and enrollment leaders to go “all in.”
In light of this, it is critical for you to evaluate your marketing efforts and consider jumping in with both feet in the world of inbound marketing. So what would it look like to go “all in?”
The following are 13 strategies that should be part of inbound marketing effort in order for you to be “all in:”
- Responsive Website – Your school’s website should be designed in responsive format in order for it to respond to the appropriate device and browser size being used. It should also be marketing focused to appeal to prospective parents and students.
- Content Hub – Your school’s website should be the hub of your content. Through dynamic content including news, stories or your people and program, and a blog, your website will have an active online presence. The key is that your content is dynamic, not static or stale.
- Blog – Your school’s website should feature a blog that communicates content that is practical and relevant to current and prospective parents. Based on Hubspot’s research, a dynamic blog will significantly increase the traffic to your website. I am an advocate for a school-wide blog rather than a head of school blog since it is difficult for one person to maintain. A school-wide blog allows for a variety of contributors.
- Search Engine Optimization – Your school’s website should be fully optimized for search engines. It is critical for prospective families to find your website through search engines. This strategy should involve an ongoing investment with a professional that has expertise in this area. I find that this is good use of your marketing dollars to outsource this initiative.
- Search Engine Marketing (Paid Search) – Paid search can be an effective strategy to generate leads for your school through search engines. Again, this is a strategy that is best implemented when it is outsourced to someone with this expertise.
- Landing Pages – Landing pages help to increase the effectiveness of your paid search campaigns. By using a program like Unbounce or LeadPages, you will be able to design landing pages that work to generate leads through search engines. In addition, if you can offer a downloadable e-Book then you will increase the effectiveness of your ads.
- Storytelling – Your online strategy should focus on storytelling as a way to bring your school to life. Through your website, you can house stories of people and programs and then share these to your social media channels.
- Master One Social Media Channel – Social media is a major component of your inbound marketing strategy. While you can jump in and quickly be over your head with the different channels available, it is best to focus on and master one channel before moving to the next.
- Facebook – Since Facebook continues to be the primary social media site that parents utilize, it is critical to master this site. By sharing at least 2-3 posts a day that range from news, stories and blog posts originating from your website (this will drive the user back to your website) to special features like Throwback Thursday and captured moments of school life, you will have a robust Facebook strategy.
- Other Social Media Sites – Moving beyond Facebook, you will have many options to consider for a greater presence and reach through social media. It is important to research your audience to determine the sites they use—whether it’s Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter for your parents or Instagram or Snapchat for students. The options seem endless, however your goal should be to add channels that will help you reach your target market after you have mastered the ones you are currently using.
- Facebook Ad Strategies – Facebook ads, boosted posts, custom audiences and re-marketing through pixels are all important strategies for the school marketing. This is a series of blog posts in itself.
- Video – Video provides a powerful and compelling way to bring your school to life. Through both amateur and professional videos, you will be able to tell your school’s story on your website, YouTube and other social media channels.
- Online Reviews and Directory Sites – There are many directory sites available online which provide the opportunities for reviews. It is important to make sure that your school’s information is up-to-date and to encourage your parents to write a steady stream of positive reviews. You should focus on the following sites: Google, Great Schools and Private School Review.
While there is certainly more that you could include as part of your inbound marketing strategies, it is critical for you take the step to be “all in” if you haven’t done so already. I believe that when you are “all in” with inbound marketing, you will realize great results.
Are you “all in” at your school with inbound marketing?
How many of these 13 strategies have you effectively implemented at your school?