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What is inbound marketing, and why does your private school need to know what it is in order to increase enrollment?
The Majority of Private School are Using Outdated Marketing Techniques
Every parent knows the basic struggle of figuring out where to send their kids to school.
There are so many options out there:
- Traditional public
The onslaught of outbound marketing for these different educational options can be overwhelming, to say the least.
This is especially true for private schools looking to boost their enrollment. Most institutions, stuck in their traditional ways, bombard parents with outdated print ads and commercials in order to raise awareness for their schools.
Listen – if you’re a private school using these methods, they are not only ineffective – they’re also a waste of money.
Here’s What Outbound Marketing Is & Why It Doesn’t Work for Private Schools
You’re probably familiar with outbound marketing, which is a marketing strategy in which you push your school’s content out in front of an audience that isn’t necessarily looking for you.
This is when you say “Hi, here we are! This is us, check us out!” maybe on individual mailers, on billboards, the radio, newspaper, etc.
Here’s why it doesn’t work.
1. Adults spend the majority of their day online.
The average adult spends on average 11 hours a day in front of a screen. Let that sink in.
2. Parents are intentional with their time & searches.
Parents-of-today do not search for schools haphazardly anymore. They are pros at jumping on Google and typing in relevant keywords in order to find what they’re looking for, exactly WHEN they’re looking for it.
3. It’s hard to identify target & track outbound campaigns.
If you’re using radio or TV, you could be spending exorbitant amounts of money on campaigns that are difficult to track, reaching very broad audiences that may not fall into your niche at all.
4. School-age parents are not interested in traditional outbound marketing methods.
Aside from the fact that your ad dollars will probably reach a bunch of people who are not actively looking for a new school anyway, the majority of school-age parents today feel that traditional, sales-focused marketing can feel ingenuine.
Here’s what you should takeaway: when parents are actually warm leads (meaning they’re currently looking for a school) they’re going to research schools themselves, and the money you spent on push-marketing strategies to parents who weren’t actively looking will be rendered useless.
So here’s what you SHOULD be doing instead: spending your time, money, & efforts on inbound marketing.
What Inbound Marketing Is & Why Private Schools Should Start Using It Today
Essentially, inbound marketing flips advertising upside down and says, “We’re doing our own thing, and we’re here when you need us.”
Inbound marketing is a pull-strategy (vs. a push strategy as seen above) that pulls consumers to your site via good content creation, social media efforts, search engine optimization, and branding.
Here’s why it works.
People want to feel good about the decisions they make. They want to feel like they’ve made their own choice.
When you pursue sales-focused marketing, the audience automatically puts a barrier up. They know you’re trying to sell your school to them, and this actually creates a hindrance to enrollment.
However, with inbound marketing, you’re pursuing other means of awareness and visibility which enable your target audience to find your school when they’re ready by providing quality content & connection.
By scrapping the majority of outbound marketing strategies and focusing instead on inbound marketing, for-profit schools are better able to gain visibility, qualified leads, and boost enrollment.
Top 4 Inbound Marketing Tactics for For-Profit Schools to Increase Enrollment
Here are some things that you can do as part of an effective inbound marketing strategy for your for-profit school:
1. Build an interactive, engaging, & FAST website
Your website is one of your greatest inbound marketing tools. Anyone who is interested in learning more about your school can find all the information they need in this one, easy-to-access, online location.
Focusing on crafting a great website is essential. You will want to make sure that your website is clear, simple to navigate, and engaging for your visitors.
If people visit your website and find it confusing or poorly designed (or slow), they’re going to exit and look for a different school.
On the other hand, if they find a website that has an obvious flow, offers the information they’re looking for, and provides an easy way to engage, they’re likely to stick around and learn more.
2. Publish relevant, expert content
One of the most essential parts of your website is the content. Stand-out, informative, and unique content is what really grabs the attention of your visitors.
Your content will include:
- Blog posts
- Informative articles
- Relevant information about your school
- & Any important news
When people are searching for a school and visit your website, having an abundance of content that is relevant to them will cause them to stay.
While you may not need to update the static content on your website often, you can combat this with a blog.
A blog enables you to consistently post new content that is unique, creative, informative, and makes your school look like an expert.
Your blog should be a great tool for parents of prospective students, as well as of current students.
Another great practice is to have multiple contributors to the blog, giving your audience a wide-range of voices and perspectives.
3. Focus on search engine optimization
Make sure your website is optimized for SEO.
This means it will be:
- Have relevant keywords
- Employ location-specific markups
- Publish frequent, quality content
- Use engaging language
- Be aesthetic (user-friendly)
- Publish frequent, quality content
- Work well on mobile devices
- & more
There is a lot that goes into creating a top-notch SEO strategy.
You may want to work with an SEO expert who knows the ins and outs of optimizing a website.
Whether you choose a marketing agency or a freelancer, it’s essential that your website be optimized to achieve a top search engine ranking. That way, when those parents start searching for schools in your area, your school will be one of the first to pop up.
If you’re interested in learning about the specifics, here’s an in-depth look at the top SEO strategies to help your business standout.
4. Use social media to tell your stories & build connections
Social media marketing is a great way to connect with the parents of your students and your future students.
You’ll be able to:
- Offer a look into your days
- Share exciting events or important information
- Engage through comments and messages in order to provide answers
- Let parents get to know you
You will also be able to use social media to tell the story of your school, your staff, and your students and provide useful, authentic content. People respond positively to a real story, and it is a great marketing tool that enables you to reach the heart of your audience and build connections.
Use your social media accounts to share great stories, to showcase how your school is impacting your students’ lives, your community, and more.
Reach your audience on an emotional level with the story, and they’ll feel an authentic connection that pulls them in your direction.
Stop Missing Hot Leads: Start Inbound Marketing
Every for-profit school needs to gain new students. However, traditional marketing just doesn’t provide a great answer or opportunity.
With inbound marketing, for-profit schools are continuously engaging, connecting, creating relevant content, and sharing stories, in order to build a foundation. It’s a way to plant seeds, to water them, and to be ready when prospective parents decide it’s time for school.
For more resources, check out our guide to creating a powerful inbound marketing strategy or simply send in your email for a free marketing audit today.
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To learn more about Inbound Marketing
List of Keywords users find our article on Google
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