One of the first things you probably do when you’d like to gain more information about something is head to Google. You’ll type in the words and phrases that describe your situation best. Then within seconds, more info than you can manage is presented to you on a digital platter.
The knowledge that you’re looking for is content produced by various brands and companies to educate their audience. This method of a business or organization promoting itself is called inbound marketing.
Do you want to use a low-risk, affordable marketing technique for your college or trade school? Keep reading to check out 11 ways inbound marketing can help.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a form of marketing where a business focuses on creating valuable and high-quality content. Customers are able to find a company through different touchpoints that the company has published as a way of drawing people in.
Some inbound marketing examples include:
- Writing blogs and articles
- Publishing an eBook
- Creating infographics
- Uploading a video
- Sending out an email
- Running an ad campaign
- Crafting a whitepaper or case study
- Posting on social media
- Using SEO techniques
- Recording a podcast
- Hosting a webinar or virtual workshop
The point of inbound marketing is to attract individuals to your brand instead of pursuing them. This is the main difference between inbound vs outbound marketing (pull versus push).
Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing
Have you ever spent hours making calls to potential prospects or crafting the perfect cold emails? In this case, you were performing outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is a way that businesses gain new customers and opportunities which involves initiating the interaction.
Some businesses may still only depend on outbound marketing to grow their business. But the truth is that this method alone is limited. Because you have to take the time to go out, find leads, and interact with them for outbound marketing, this puts a cap on its potential.
One amazing effect of inbound marketing is that content has a residual effect. This basically means that once you create something, it continues to work for you. It’s the perfect marketing method for growing and scaling a business more smoothly and efficiently.
1. Attracts More Organic Leads
If we take a look back at the example from above, you can see a clear example of how inbound marketing can attract organic leads. Someone has an issue, question, or concern and they’re looking for answers and solutions. When you create content, you give your business a chance of being found by one of the people that are searching.
And it really comes down to knowing and understanding the customer journey (then amplifying this with SEO). Once you do, you can create content that aligns with different stages.
Here are the stages:
Depending on where someone is in their enrollment phase is where they may land on your content. For instance, let’s say you have a trade school and want more people to enroll in a plumbing program. Many beginners may be looking for careers they can make with the skill.
In this scenario, you know at the awareness stage of the funnel you can create content around topics like salaries for plumbers, how to become a plumber, etc. The great part about inbounding marketing is that it can typically funnel folks based on their readiness level and introduce them to your business. All of these points are considered and mapped out in an inbound marketing strategy.
2. Builds Brand Awareness
There’s no way for people to enroll in programs when they have no clue that a business exists. Another benefit of inbounding marketing is that it’s great for building brand awareness.
Brand awareness is basically how much a student or potential student is able to recognize and recall your brand. Research has shown that it takes around 5 to 7 impressions for someone to remember a brand. If you don’t have much online presence, this decreases the chances of people finding out about and becoming familiar with your business.
Different methods of inbound marketing help by creating tangible representations of your brand (content) for people to find, interact and engage with. One main inbound marketing method that educational businesses and organizations can leverage to increase brand awareness is social media. This is a low-cost way of putting your brand out into the world for people to stumble upon.
You can create content that lives on these platforms for as long as you’d like. This gives your ideal target market the opportunity to start to know, like, and trust your business.
3. Can Increase Enrollment and Revenue
If you haven’t been seeing any revenue come on from your institution or trade school then inbound marketing may be just the thing you need to focus on. Think again about those people who did a quick Google search and landed on a piece of your content. If they’re ready to invest in the solution, then having a direct link for them to do so will result in you earning a new customer.
Inbound marketing is a solid way to drive more sales to increase overall revenue. When done right, people will be able to learn about your solution and buy it without too many steps.
There are plenty of different ways to leverage inbound marketing to increase sales. For example, you could run an effective ad campaign that leads people directly to an enrollment page. You can also host an informative webinar about a topic your audience is interested in then do live selling during the presentation.
4. Generates Traffic for Business Website Via SEO
When you optimize content for search engines, you are giving it the boost it needs for the algorithm to make you findable by your target market. SEO is a significant part of inbound marketing that a lot of brands take advantage of to increase visibility.
Oftentimes when someone finds you as a suggestion from Google, they’ll head over to your website. Using SEO is a proven method to improve key factors like website visitors and pageviews. You can also use CTAs (calls to action) in your content to encourage people to go to your website.
5. Provides Metrics for Measuring Performance and Making More Informed Decisions
Most platforms have built-in features to help you monitor how well your content is performing. When you invest in inbound marketing, you give yourself a variety of ways to see how well your business is doing in different areas.
For instance, if most people aren’t engaging with your content then something may be off. It could be your brand tone, website copy, or images you used. No matter what the reason is, you’ll have a baseline to figure out where you may be going wrong.
Inbound marketing tests the temperature of how effective your college or trade school is across channels. If you’re running cold then you’re probably not capturing your audience’s attention much. Luckily, you have metrics and analytics to use to help you acknowledge, identify, diagnose, and treat the issue.
6. Builds Strong Relationship With Audience
Again, one of your main aims in business is for people to know, like, and trust you. Inbound marketing is a great way to build a warm audience and get people to that point.
The more you show up and be consistent, the easier it is for potential students to become familiar with you. You can build relationships with your audience by posting content that shows you pay attention and have a genuine interest in their needs.
7. Takes Care of Customer Education
While everyone may take a different path throughout the customer journey, one thing stands universal. The more they know about their issue and your solution, the closer they get to a decision. One thing inbound vs outbound marketing does is build a library of content that you can use for customer education.
You want your potential students to be educated about things they can learn by enrolling in your college or trade school. And you definitely want them to get that education from you. Because not only does this build brand awareness, it also helps them to look at your business as an expert (trust levels increase).
8. Builds Authority and Thought Leadership
If you’ve been on the internet for more than five minutes, you’ve surely seen an example of someone who doesn’t even bother with research if the information is coming from a specific source. Colleges and universities depend on peer-reviewed articles because they know they can trust the knowledge of the researchers. In the business world, you want to be the place people can go for credible knowledge and information.
Inbound marketing gives your expertise somewhere to live in the digital world. You can create quality content that displays your level of knowledge. The more you do this, the more people will begin to view you as an authority in the industry. Producing and publishing high-value opinions, thoughts, and expert discussions is also a great way to become a thought leader institution.
9. Gather Data to Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Audience
Besides using metrics and analytics to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your business, you can also use them to learn more about your audience. Knowing your ideal audience deeply saves you time and money because you won’t have to guess when it comes to targeting them (SEO, paid ads, etc).
Keep in mind that the better you understand the people that you’re trying to serve, the easier it is to find them and get your solution in front of them. Take advantage of a variety of features across multiple platforms that allow you to easily collect data from your audience.
Here are a few ways you can gather data using inbound marketing:
- Set out a survey to your email list
- Publish a poll on social media
- Create a quiz as an opt-in
- Post a questionnaire on your social media status or caption
You can also scrape and analyze data from analytics to learn more about ideal customers. For instance, you may check your Instagram business account demographics and learn that your audience mostly consists of young women aged 22-28 who are most active during the hours of 9 am, 12 pm, and 7:30 pm. Having access to this information isn’t possible unless you are consistently creating content and giving people a way to engage with it.
10. Grows an Email List
Growing an email list is a proven way of increasing campus visits, enrollments, and other metrics that many businesses center goals around. Email marketing is an intimate method that allows brands to build direct and genuine relationships with their audience.
Inbound marketing supports building and growing a list more than any other form of marketing. This is because it gives you the opportunity to get your target audience interested in what more you have to say. An example of using inbound marketing to grow an email list is by offering a free download of an eBook in exchange for contact information.
11. Brings New B2B Opportunities
If inbound marketing makes it possible for your target audience to find you, then it also makes it possible for other businesses to locate you as well. This provides you with the opportunity to make professional connections, grow a network, and build new partnerships. Make sure you always have updated contact information or a separate place to send other brands that may want to collaborate.
Start Reaping the Benefits of Inbound Marketing Today
Inbound marketing is one of the best ways to attract potential students and reach your goals for your college or trade school without breaking the bank. You can save a lot of time and money because the content has a residual effect.
Unfortunately, a lot of institutions don’t always have the guidance to fully reap the benefits of inbound marketing because they can’t keep up with quick changes in the industry. If you’re an educational institution looking to leverage this marketing method, reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help.
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