Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has been altered. With governments around the world instituting restrictions on movement and travel, online schools have had to adapt. Distance learning has become the norm as traditional face-to-face learning has been suspended. Inbound Marketing for Online Schools provides a framework to help marketers harness the power of inbound principles to build strong online brands.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a marketing approach focused on attracting, engaging and delighting people in order to grow a business. Inbound Marketing can be described as “inbound” because it focuses on attracting, engaging and delighting customers rather than selling products to them.
As a brand, we’ve always focused on providing great customer experiences. However, during the pandemic, our customers have had to change – and so have we.
While the product and pricing strategies of traditional brick and mortar schools are still viable, the approach to engaging with customers is evolving. Inbound Marketing for Online Schools provides clarity around how marketers can adjust their strategy to ensure they continue to provide great value to their customers even remotely.
Why should you care about Inbound Marketing for Online Schools?
Inbound Marketing for Online Schools provides a solid framework for marketers to evolve their strategy to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. The framework can be used to drive marketing activity in any digital channel – from web to social media – to generate leads, build credibility and showcase expertise.
How can Inbound Marketing help marketers in your school?
Marketers in online schools can use Inbound Marketing to implement a strategy to attract and engage with prospective students. The benefits of implementing an Inbound Marketing strategy include:
- attracting prospective students through effective branding and marketing
- engaging with prospective students via digital marketing channels
- boosting your school’s web visibility through SEO and content strategy
- establishing online credibility through social media marketing
- measuring the success of your online school marketing efforts through inbound metrics
- harnessing SEO, content and social media to drive traffic to your school website
- identifying and engaging with target groups through social media
- evolving your marketing strategy to align with the digital landscape
An Inbound Marketing strategy will help you to establish strong communication across all your digital touchpoints, from your website and social media accounts to your email marketing. This ensures prospective students know exactly what image and information they are receiving when they engage with your school.
How can Inbound Marketing for Online Schools help you?
The structure of Inbound Marketing for Online Schools provides clarity around how to approach marketing activities. The framework is split into three distinct stages, to provide flexibility as you work through your strategy.
The first stage of building an Inbound Marketing strategy is to set a plan. You’ll want to set a schedule and review the plan regularly to ensure you stay on track. Thinking in terms of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) will assist you in setting SMART goals around marketing activities, such as SEO and social media marketing. SMART goals make it easier to track your progress and help you to establish realistic expectations around your plan.
The next stage of building an Inbound Marketing strategy is to set the specific metrics you’ll use to measure your progress. Google Analytics and HubSpot both have built-in measurement tools to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Ensure you set specific and measurable goals for yourself, and review the metrics regularly to determine whether or not you’re on the right track.
The final stage of building an Inbound Marketing strategy is to determine the content you’ll use to attract and engage with your audience. The content strategy of your school website is a key element of your Inbound Marketing strategy. Ensure you have a content strategy in place before you start expanding your marketing activity. The type and frequency of the content you’ll publish will be based on your target audience – prospective students, current students, alumni, etc. – and on your strategy for engaging with them. Your content strategy will act as a guide for you as you plan your content marketing effort.
The success of your Inbound Marketing strategy will be determined by how you utilize the above stages. You’ll want to work through each part carefully, and set up sufficient checkpoints along the way. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to modify or reassess your strategy as you learn more about consumer behavior and new technologies emerge.
How does SEO work in Inbound Marketing for Online Schools?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a form of marketing that helps businesses to be found online when search engine users search for relevant information. When optimizing your school’s website for SEO, you’re ensuring that the information seekers in your target audience (prospective students) land on your website when they search for schools online. To learn more, we recommend you visit the Moz Blog.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM) is a type of marketing where you use social platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) to gain brand recognition. Your school may already have a Facebook page, Instagram account or Twitter account. However, if you want to take your marketing activity to the next level, you can get a standalone account for each platform – such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – and use them to connect with your audience.
As the above platforms are social platforms, you’ll want to connect with your audience on these platforms. Create and engage with content that will assist your target audience – prospective students – in making smarter decisions about their future studies. Create videos, publish articles, hold live chats and more to connect with your audience and establish credibility.
You can utilize a tool like Hootsuite to help you manage your multiple social accounts. Just remember to be creative and engage with your audience on social media to build credibility and demonstrate expertise.
How can social media help you in Inbound Marketing for Online Schools?
Social media can play a crucial role in your Inbound Marketing strategy. You can use the above platforms to connect with prospective students, current students, alumni and staff. These platforms can also be used to showcase your expertise through blogs, videos, articles and more.
Viable options for a school include:
Each platform provides a variety of features and capabilities that can be used to strengthen your Inbound Marketing strategy.
What is content strategy?
Content Strategy is the process of structuring content – whether that’s a blog post, an article, a podcast episode or a video – to promote a certain viewpoint or to achieve a certain goal. You’ll want to use content to attract, engage and delight your target audience – prospective students – via a variety of digital channels.
Your content strategy will determine the type of content you’ll produce, the channel through which you’ll disseminate it and the format of the content (e.g. video, text, infographics, etc.). Working closely with a copywriter, you can draft content that is both informative and engaging. Ensure you have a content strategy in place before you start expanding your marketing activity. The type and frequency of the content you’ll publish will be based on your target audience – prospective students, current students, alumni, etc. – and on your strategy for engaging with them. Your content strategy will act as a guide for you as you plan your content marketing effort.
How does SEO work in content strategy?
Just as with SEO for your website’s, you’ll want to use structured data – such as keywords, alt tags and heading tags – to make your content more discoverable. When someone discovers your content, they’ll understand what it is and may choose to click on it, resulting in a lead or an opportunity to convert that lead into a customer.