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Nov

22

2016

Getting Started with Inbound For Schools (new ebook) 

runnerstarting.jpg

Getting started with something new can be pretty daunting. Heck, I’ve tried to learn the guitar at least four times by now. I may not know how to play a C chord, but I know it would have been easier to learn if I’d had a guide or teacher. 

For many marketers, getting started with inbound marketing can feel just as daunting as learning an unfamiliar skill, if not much more because their professional reputation is as stake.

To help, our latest ebook breaks down the who, what, when, where, and why of Getting Started with Inbound for Schools. You can expect to learn actionable tips for:

  • Budgeting your time for inbound marketing
  • Calculating the ROI of your inbound efforts
  • Understanding your current marketing funnel
  • Prioritizing the different tasks associated with inbound
  • Building a foundation and setting benchmarks
  • Starting your first content marketing campaign

Launching an inbound marketing program can seem a bit overwhelming at first. So many channels, so many metrics. There is a process to it all, and the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to be successful. 

You can download your complimentary copy of Getting Started with Inbound for Schools here >>

Like what you read? Feel free to share this ebook via Twitter with this Click to Tweet link.

Efficient Education Marketing Machine - Free Ebook

Tags:

Nov

22

2016

Getting Started with Inbound For Schools (new ebook) 

runnerstarting.jpg

Getting started with something new can be pretty daunting. Heck, I’ve tried to learn the guitar at least four times by now. I may not know how to play a C chord, but I know it would have been easier to learn if I’d had a guide or teacher. 

For many marketers, getting started with inbound marketing can feel just as daunting as learning an unfamiliar skill, if not much more because their professional reputation is as stake.

To help, our latest ebook breaks down the who, what, when, where, and why of Getting Started with Inbound for Schools. You can expect to learn actionable tips for:

  • Budgeting your time for inbound marketing
  • Calculating the ROI of your inbound efforts
  • Understanding your current marketing funnel
  • Prioritizing the different tasks associated with inbound
  • Building a foundation and setting benchmarks
  • Starting your first content marketing campaign

Launching an inbound marketing program can seem a bit overwhelming at first. So many channels, so many metrics. There is a process to it all, and the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to be successful. 

You can download your complimentary copy of Getting Started with Inbound for Schools here >>

Like what you read? Feel free to share this ebook via Twitter with this Click to Tweet link.

Efficient Education Marketing Machine - Free Ebook

Tags:

Nov

15

2016

How Can Schools Incorporate Video into Their Admissions Marketing

camerawood.jpg

Everyone loves online videos. People in every age group are shifting their viewing habits to online video and away from television. Unsurprisingly, Americans between the ages of 18 – 24 watch the least amount of television and drive online video consumption rates with their phones.

Using video boosts engagement and conversion rates in pretty much every type of marketing content, from landing pages to emails. We also know that 86% of universities and colleges already have a YouTube presence. So if you’re not using video marketing yet, your competitor schools are, that means you’re falling behind.

Frankly, YouTube is only the jumping-off point. All your video content should make its way to your YouTube channel, but if you’re putting all your video focus solely on YouTube, you’re missing out on opportunities.

Here are some ways you can effectively incorporate video into your admissions marketing.

Video is All Over Social Media

From Facebook’s Live Stream feature to Snapchat’s Story Playlists, you have a ton of social media video options. Start with clarifying which social media platforms are most popular with your different personas. Parents with young kids are on Facebook. Those in or close to college are also big users of Instagram and Snapchat. These, of course, are the generalities, but they’re good to understand when picking where to place your efforts. Your specific target community may show different preferences, so do some research and focus on whatever they are.

Your content options are endless on social media. You can broadcast live, from sporting events to on-campus speakers. Your students are already publishing their own video content about life at your school. Encourage their efforts with a specific user-generated content (UGC) campaign. Say, a quick hello from their favorite class sharing why it is so. Or post their favorite ways to take a break while studying.

Professors are also video content machines. They can broadcast (live or not) full lectures or put together short videos digging into a particular aspect of their field that makes the subject interesting for everyone. 

Put together a short guide to helps staff and faculty create, publish and promote their own content. Include practical how-to tips, as well as content ideas.

The focus of your video content for admissions should be all about helping students see themselves loving life at your school. What their days would be like, the educational and social opportunities. Video content geared towards parents should give them confidence that this school is a place where their child will really flourish.

Webinars Educate and Connect

Webinars are potent tools for presenting a human face for your school to a large group of people at once, while still sparking that personal connection. Use webinars to educate and inform prospects about your school. You can have an admissions counselor hold a live webinar about the application process and best practices. Each program can run webinars with different faculty that talk about their program. Include current students by having Q&A webinars about student life.

Continue to run live webinars on common, popular topics so new people can have a chance to have their live questions answered. But you can also take advantage of your growing library of recorded webinars. Make the best ones available on demand on your website and various social media video channels so people who can’t make a live one can still watch. Create clips of the best soundbites so you can embed them into relevant emails or landing pages. 

Create email nurture campaigns building towards inviting people to a webinar targeted to their persona and stage on the enrollment journey. You don’t need a live webinar coming up. Invite registrants who didn’t attend the live webinar and other prospective students to watch a recorded webinar.

Using Video to Boost Conversions

Just as you don’t send out emails merely so people can read them, videos aren’t only for the watching. They’re conversion tools.

Gate some video content behind a form so you can get people into your prospect database. The form can be a registration to attend a live webinar or to access a recorded one, or to access a live streaming event.

On the back end, insert appropriate calls-to-action (CTAs) within and at the end of your video content. If the video is a Facebook Live Stream of the tailgating before a school football game, make sure your host peppers her narration with CTAs and hashtags to share and like the live stream so more people can join. Embed a CTA to schedule a call with an admissions counselor or schedule a campus tour at the end of program information webinar. 

Identify what phase in the enrollment journey the specific piece of video content is for and where you want to take people next. Build the CTA you include around whatever that next step should be.

Don’t Let the Word “Video” Intimidate You

Video sounds expensive and involved, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. Phone and desktop video recorders do a pretty good job. You can invest (or borrow from another department) in more sophisticated video equipment for your more sophisticated videos. Not all your videos need to be award-worthy.

Treat your video content as you do your other text-based content. Some videos are blog posts, some are glossy graphics, or comprehensive reports. Allocate your resources accordingly. Start building your video library now. Your prospects are eager for it.

Efficient Education Marketing Machine - Free Ebook

Tags:

Nov

15

2016

How Can Schools Incorporate Video into Their Admissions Marketing

camerawood.jpg

Everyone loves online videos. People in every age group are shifting their viewing habits to online video and away from television. Unsurprisingly, Americans between the ages of 18 – 24 watch the least amount of television and drive online video consumption rates with their phones.

Using video boosts engagement and conversion rates in pretty much every type of marketing content, from landing pages to emails. We also know that 86% of universities and colleges already have a YouTube presence. So if you’re not using video marketing yet, your competitor schools are, that means you’re falling behind.

Frankly, YouTube is only the jumping-off point. All your video content should make its way to your YouTube channel, but if you’re putting all your video focus solely on YouTube, you’re missing out on opportunities.

Here are some ways you can effectively incorporate video into your admissions marketing.

Video is All Over Social Media

From Facebook’s Live Stream feature to Snapchat’s Story Playlists, you have a ton of social media video options. Start with clarifying which social media platforms are most popular with your different personas. Parents with young kids are on Facebook. Those in or close to college are also big users of Instagram and Snapchat. These, of course, are the generalities, but they’re good to understand when picking where to place your efforts. Your specific target community may show different preferences, so do some research and focus on whatever they are.

Your content options are endless on social media. You can broadcast live, from sporting events to on-campus speakers. Your students are already publishing their own video content about life at your school. Encourage their efforts with a specific user-generated content (UGC) campaign. Say, a quick hello from their favorite class sharing why it is so. Or post their favorite ways to take a break while studying.

Professors are also video content machines. They can broadcast (live or not) full lectures or put together short videos digging into a particular aspect of their field that makes the subject interesting for everyone. 

Put together a short guide to helps staff and faculty create, publish and promote their own content. Include practical how-to tips, as well as content ideas.

The focus of your video content for admissions should be all about helping students see themselves loving life at your school. What their days would be like, the educational and social opportunities. Video content geared towards parents should give them confidence that this school is a place where their child will really flourish.

Webinars Educate and Connect

Webinars are potent tools for presenting a human face for your school to a large group of people at once, while still sparking that personal connection. Use webinars to educate and inform prospects about your school. You can have an admissions counselor hold a live webinar about the application process and best practices. Each program can run webinars with different faculty that talk about their program. Include current students by having Q&A webinars about student life.

Continue to run live webinars on common, popular topics so new people can have a chance to have their live questions answered. But you can also take advantage of your growing library of recorded webinars. Make the best ones available on demand on your website and various social media video channels so people who can’t make a live one can still watch. Create clips of the best soundbites so you can embed them into relevant emails or landing pages. 

Create email nurture campaigns building towards inviting people to a webinar targeted to their persona and stage on the enrollment journey. You don’t need a live webinar coming up. Invite registrants who didn’t attend the live webinar and other prospective students to watch a recorded webinar.

Using Video to Boost Conversions

Just as you don’t send out emails merely so people can read them, videos aren’t only for the watching. They’re conversion tools.

Gate some video content behind a form so you can get people into your prospect database. The form can be a registration to attend a live webinar or to access a recorded one, or to access a live streaming event.

On the back end, insert appropriate calls-to-action (CTAs) within and at the end of your video content. If the video is a Facebook Live Stream of the tailgating before a school football game, make sure your host peppers her narration with CTAs and hashtags to share and like the live stream so more people can join. Embed a CTA to schedule a call with an admissions counselor or schedule a campus tour at the end of program information webinar. 

Identify what phase in the enrollment journey the specific piece of video content is for and where you want to take people next. Build the CTA you include around whatever that next step should be.

Don’t Let the Word “Video” Intimidate You

Video sounds expensive and involved, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. Phone and desktop video recorders do a pretty good job. You can invest (or borrow from another department) in more sophisticated video equipment for your more sophisticated videos. Not all your videos need to be award-worthy.

Treat your video content as you do your other text-based content. Some videos are blog posts, some are glossy graphics, or comprehensive reports. Allocate your resources accordingly. Start building your video library now. Your prospects are eager for it.

Efficient Education Marketing Machine - Free Ebook

Tags:

Nov

8

2016

Steps to Building an Amazing Student-Nurturing Workflow

chalkboardworkflow.jpg

You have traffic and lead generation campaigns that are filling up your database. Your cup runneth over. It’s time to make sure that your best prospects aren’t the ones falling by the wayside. You need a lead nurturing program that helps you identify the prospects who best fill your ideal student persona and focus your efforts on them.

The crux of the inbound methodology is getting the right message to the right people at the right time. But your team doesn’t have the time to pick out the right piece of content, at the precise magic moment, for each individual prospect in your database that will move them further along their enrollment journey. There’s no point in sending an invitation to meet with an admissions counselor to a rising junior prospect who just downloaded your free study tips guide. That’s worse than wasted effort! Your school will look unorganized to this prospect — not the impression you want to make. 

Instead, use automated email workflows to nurture prospects into enrolled students by send the most relevant information at each stage of the enrollment journey. Automation amplifies the productivity of your team and your database. Too much gets overlooked when you rely on manual nurturing.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to design and execute an amazing student-nurturing workflow. 

1) Have a Goal in Mind

Actually, you need two goals. First, define what your objective is for the workflow. Let’s say you need to boost enrollment in the next two dental assistant program enrollment cycles. You’re running live, on-campus information sessions targeting your January and June enrollment dates. You can put together a nurture workflow with the goal of getting quality prospects to attend one of these sessions.

Then, you need a Goal List. How many people do you need to attend these sessions to translate into the right number of applications and enrollments? That’s your Goal List — the list of prospects who entered this workflow and took the action you wanted. In our example, it’s the number of people who attended an information session.

2) Identify your Starting Criteria

Create a smart list that scoops up prospects who meet the specific criteria that make them good candidates for this workflow’s goal. Think about criteria about who they are right now, where they are in their school decision journey, and what sort of action they’ve taken. No broad strokes here.

So a list of people interested in your dental assistant program who mostly access your content via mobile device is too vague. Start with that criteria, but add: lives within 25 miles of one of your campuses offering your dental assistant program.

In short: Be specific!!

3) Map it Out  

Truly — write this out by hand to get the flow right. Include three data points per spot on your workflow map: 

  • What content you’re sending them — make sure it aligns with where they are
  • The goal for that specific piece of content
  • Day delay count — this is the number of days between each email in the workflow (aka the “cadence”) 

Using our current example, we know that these potential students are in the consideration phase, looking to short-list the schools they want to apply to. The goal of the workflow is to get them to attend your live, in-person information session on campus. So the workflow map could be: 

  • Trigger: Lead who meets the criteria “downloads the program’s admission requirements checklist.”
  • Delay 5 days: send email with link to your Facebook post of a video message from current dental assistant students. The goal of this email is to personalize your program and help prospects see who their peers could be.
  • Delay 3 days: send email with a link to download your report on the various types of dental positions this program prepares its graduates for. This email’s goal is to put in real terms exactly how your program prepares them for a career.
  • Delay 5 days: send them a link to blog post of your dental program’s FAQs. This content is prep work so they can clarify the bigger questions they’ll want to ask in person.
  • Delay 2 days: send email invitation to attend a live information session, mentioning this is where they’ll learn about program selection criteria, types of practicums available, and have opportunity to meet current students and admissions officers.

4) Write your Emails!

Keep all these data points in mind to write clear, focused, single call-to-action (CTA) emails. You can also use the email copy to tease or set up the next email. Your email with the link to the program FAQ can frame it as the source to get answers for the most common questions, while your invitation email promotes the session as the opportunity to get their personal questions addressed.

For more on email, check out our free ebook Email Marketing for Schools >> 

5) Decide on an Exclusions Policy

Refine your workflow here. Exclusions can be not sending on emails on Fridays, because you know you get nearly zero engagement on those emails.

You can also create suppression lists of people who meet this workflow’s criteria, but you don’t want included in it. This could be people who’ve already submitted an application. You want them in a different workflow that invites them for an admissions interview.

In fact, another suppression list can be anyone who’s currently in another active workflow. You don’t want to inundate prospects with too many emails at once. Let their current workflow play out. You’ll have more info on them to divert them into the most applicable workflow once it’s done.

6) Turn the Workflow on!

 That was an easy step…

7) Measure and Improve

Always be analyzing. Look at your results to see where you need to improve or tweak things. Your top-level metrics are the number of people who enter this workflow, the number who reach your Goal List, and the workflow’s conversion rate (prospects in workflow divided by those who took goal action = conversion percentage).

Take a closer look at low performing emails to find out why people aren’t opening or taking action.

Why Marketing Automation?

Email is easy and inexpensive. It’s one of the best tools in your arsenal made more effective with automated, smart workflows. Automating email lead nurture campaigns optimizes your database and your marketing efforts by making sure your best prospects don’t get ignored, which translates into more quality applications, and higher enrollment numbers.

Want to learn more about nurturing prospective students or parents into applicants? Check out our free ebook, From Stranger to Student. 

SEO DO's and Don'ts for Schools

Tags:

Nov

8

2016

Steps to Building an Amazing Student-Nurturing Workflow

chalkboardworkflow.jpg

You have traffic and lead generation campaigns that are filling up your database. Your cup runneth over. It’s time to make sure that your best prospects aren’t the ones falling by the wayside. You need a lead nurturing program that helps you identify the prospects who best fill your ideal student persona and focus your efforts on them.

The crux of the inbound methodology is getting the right message to the right people at the right time. But your team doesn’t have the time to pick out the right piece of content, at the precise magic moment, for each individual prospect in your database that will move them further along their enrollment journey. There’s no point in sending an invitation to meet with an admissions counselor to a rising junior prospect who just downloaded your free study tips guide. That’s worse than wasted effort! Your school will look unorganized to this prospect — not the impression you want to make. 

Instead, use automated email workflows to nurture prospects into enrolled students by send the most relevant information at each stage of the enrollment journey. Automation amplifies the productivity of your team and your database. Too much gets overlooked when you rely on manual nurturing.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to design and execute an amazing student-nurturing workflow. 

1) Have a Goal in Mind

Actually, you need two goals. First, define what your objective is for the workflow. Let’s say you need to boost enrollment in the next two dental assistant program enrollment cycles. You’re running live, on-campus information sessions targeting your January and June enrollment dates. You can put together a nurture workflow with the goal of getting quality prospects to attend one of these sessions.

Then, you need a Goal List. How many people do you need to attend these sessions to translate into the right number of applications and enrollments? That’s your Goal List — the list of prospects who entered this workflow and took the action you wanted. In our example, it’s the number of people who attended an information session.

2) Identify your Starting Criteria

Create a smart list that scoops up prospects who meet the specific criteria that make them good candidates for this workflow’s goal. Think about criteria about who they are right now, where they are in their school decision journey, and what sort of action they’ve taken. No broad strokes here.

So a list of people interested in your dental assistant program who mostly access your content via mobile device is too vague. Start with that criteria, but add: lives within 25 miles of one of your campuses offering your dental assistant program.

In short: Be specific!!

3) Map it Out  

Truly — write this out by hand to get the flow right. Include three data points per spot on your workflow map: 

  • What content you’re sending them — make sure it aligns with where they are
  • The goal for that specific piece of content
  • Day delay count — this is the number of days between each email in the workflow (aka the “cadence”) 

Using our current example, we know that these potential students are in the consideration phase, looking to short-list the schools they want to apply to. The goal of the workflow is to get them to attend your live, in-person information session on campus. So the workflow map could be: 

  • Trigger: Lead who meets the criteria “downloads the program’s admission requirements checklist.”
  • Delay 5 days: send email with link to your Facebook post of a video message from current dental assistant students. The goal of this email is to personalize your program and help prospects see who their peers could be.
  • Delay 3 days: send email with a link to download your report on the various types of dental positions this program prepares its graduates for. This email’s goal is to put in real terms exactly how your program prepares them for a career.
  • Delay 5 days: send them a link to blog post of your dental program’s FAQs. This content is prep work so they can clarify the bigger questions they’ll want to ask in person.
  • Delay 2 days: send email invitation to attend a live information session, mentioning this is where they’ll learn about program selection criteria, types of practicums available, and have opportunity to meet current students and admissions officers.

4) Write your Emails!

Keep all these data points in mind to write clear, focused, single call-to-action (CTA) emails. You can also use the email copy to tease or set up the next email. Your email with the link to the program FAQ can frame it as the source to get answers for the most common questions, while your invitation email promotes the session as the opportunity to get their personal questions addressed.

For more on email, check out our free ebook Email Marketing for Schools >> 

5) Decide on an Exclusions Policy

Refine your workflow here. Exclusions can be not sending on emails on Fridays, because you know you get nearly zero engagement on those emails.

You can also create suppression lists of people who meet this workflow’s criteria, but you don’t want included in it. This could be people who’ve already submitted an application. You want them in a different workflow that invites them for an admissions interview.

In fact, another suppression list can be anyone who’s currently in another active workflow. You don’t want to inundate prospects with too many emails at once. Let their current workflow play out. You’ll have more info on them to divert them into the most applicable workflow once it’s done.

6) Turn the Workflow on!

 That was an easy step…

7) Measure and Improve

Always be analyzing. Look at your results to see where you need to improve or tweak things. Your top-level metrics are the number of people who enter this workflow, the number who reach your Goal List, and the workflow’s conversion rate (prospects in workflow divided by those who took goal action = conversion percentage).

Take a closer look at low performing emails to find out why people aren’t opening or taking action.

Why Marketing Automation?

Email is easy and inexpensive. It’s one of the best tools in your arsenal made more effective with automated, smart workflows. Automating email lead nurture campaigns optimizes your database and your marketing efforts by making sure your best prospects don’t get ignored, which translates into more quality applications, and higher enrollment numbers.

Want to learn more about nurturing prospective students or parents into applicants? Check out our free ebook, From Stranger to Student. 

SEO DO's and Don'ts for Schools

Tags:

Nov

1

2016

The Right SEM Strategy for Schools

searchbarhand.jpg

Getting your school found online is an ongoing battle that requires different strategies for different goals. Search engine marketing (SEM) is comprised of both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. You can use both these strategies to direct traffic to your school’s website, blog, or other digital assets you have, e.g. a landing page/microsite promoting a new school program. 

While both strategies can drive traffic, they have different virtues. To maximize your spend and get the best return, you want to use the right strategy for the right reasons.

Where SEO and PPC Differ

SEO is about building a strong content foundation that earns you more attention as time goes on. It’s a long-term investment that has a lower cost with slower rate of return. Yet there comes a tipping point at which your SEO-optimized digital assets provide exponential returns. Its value doesn’t reside in only a few specific high performing pages — the collective value starts boosting newer content as well. The more authority your site builds over time, that authority applies to other content you post on your site. Your SEO-optimized pages create a perpetual flow of traffic.

Infusing all your digital assets with SEO best practices should be part of your standard practice for every piece of digital content your school publishes.

You can download our full ebook on SEO for schools here >>

In contrast, a PPC campaign is fixed-time campaign that will have high upfront costs, but can get you quick, valuable returns. Your PPC campaign will be designed around a keyword strategy, just like your SEO. Unlike SEO, the PPC campaign only brings in returns for the time you’re paying for the ad space. There’s no long term benefit or exponential growth. That doesn’t mean PPC doesn’t have its role to play in getting your school found. It just means you want to pick your spots.

How and When to Use SEO

Really, the answer to “when” is “always.” As mentioned earlier, SEO is the foundation that will push your website and blog higher and higher in the search engine results page (SERP). Virtually all searchers click on a first page link in their search results rather than a PPC ad.

Of course, getting ranked for “culinary school” isn’t going to be easy (it’s a very competitive term). And the truth is, you don’t want to. That’s far too broad a keyword. Your SEO strategy will return the most relevant visitors to you if work with long tail keywords (LTKs) that are queries containing the language your ideal students use to search for what they want. So if you’re a school with a culinary management program that offers an online learning component, you might find “online culinary management degree program” more effective.

The more relevant your long tail keywords are to your personas, the more interested and qualified an audience you’ll attract. 

After researching and identifying the most relevant collection of long tail keywords, you need to execute your SEO strategy through on-page and off-page optimization.

On-page SEO

This where you have the most control. On-page SEO uses all the smart ways to embed a page’s keyword throughout the page. This doesn’t mean repeating the keyword over and over in your text. Those days are long gone. Instead, you’ll use the keyword a few times in your text. You’ll write naturally as Google also looks for the phrases it expects to see if your program page is truly about an “online culinary management program.” So Google might also expect to see other culinary related phrases such “back of the house” or “restaurant operations.” 

You also have a variety of tags (i.e. title tags, meta tags, heading tags, and descriptions), where you can use your selected keywords. Some of these tags (e.g. your URL, title tag, and meta description) appear in the search results, so are critical to getting the click. Other tags, (e.g. alt-text tags — used to optimize images), don’t always get seen by visitors. But the search engine bots deciding where to rank your page see and use them. Your title tag is probably the most important tag in terms of SEO, but don’t overlook any of them.

Google has recently changed a number of its properties for on-page tags, such as giving you more room in titles and descriptions. When these changes happen, it’s a good time to give your pages an SEO refresh.

Other on-page tactics to remember are: give the page a quick loading time and incorporate your social sharing buttons so visitors can spread your awesome content.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is when high authority sites link back to your awesome content. You have no control over this, because it requires external sites to like your content and link to it. However, you can encourage this process by sending a lot of social sharing signals in your content.

You want social sharing icons on all your pages, posts, and emails. And you can do more. You can craft copy to encourage people to share by reminding them to do so. You can also create pre-fabbed Tweets and Shares in your content for them to use.

Let’s say you have a blog post of interviews with well-known restaurateurs sharing what personal and technical skills they look for when hiring a restaurant manager. Using the “birds of a feather” principle, you might add some copy to above your social sharing icons that says, “Know someone who’s wondering if they have what it takes? Help them find out. Share this article.” Or “Tweet this:  Graduate as a #Chef from this #Top-Ranked #CulinaryProgram @[YourSchoolTwitterHandle] [url].”

The more your blogs posts and web pages get out there, the more likely people will start to link back to them. 

How and When to Use PPC

While SEO is strategic and on-going, PPC is more tactical. PPC ads are those ads you see at the top of your search results. Since a PPC campaign only runs as long as you’re willing to pay for it, you want to reserve for when you have something very specific you want to promote. 

Sticking with our culinary management program example, if this is a new program and you want to drive awareness as well as attract immediate potential students, a PPC program could be a good choice here. 

Another good use case for PPC is to support a specific enrollment priority. Perhaps your school wants to attract students with high musical ability to improve your band and orchestra. Your team has invested a lot of resources creating a report on how music education improves overall learning, which can help students in their future college admissions. You set up a detailed workflow, filled with smart lists and triggered email series to nurture the leads who download this report. Building a PPC campaign around promoting this report could be a valid expense to make this a wide funnel entrance point into your database.

A third place for a PPC campaign may be in growing your funnel numbers for the upcoming year when they’re a bit low. If you need a boost in prospects to get the right number of school applicants, a PPC campaign may help. Keep in mind that in this case, you’re not looking for people in the attraction stage (top-of-the-funnel). They will more likely already be in their consideration stage (middle-of-the-funnel). So select your promoted keywords and content appropriately.

Use this PPC ad calculator to find out if using a PPC campaign makes economic sense for a specific campaign.

In short: think of SEO as your “always-on” SEM, while PPC is your “special occasion” SEM. You need both, but in the right proportion and places.

SEO DO's and Don'ts for Schools

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Oct

27

2016

Proven Tips for a Top-Notch Alumni Engagement Program

gradcapz.jpgYou know it’s bad when they start making parody videos about the horrors of alumni fundraising campaigns. Nothing can sap alumni energy for your school like getting donation calls again and again and again… But you need your alumni engaged to maintain your school’s relationship with them. You want them to be motivated to act on behalf of your institution and yes, donate, at the times and ways they’re able.  

 Alumni involvement may have its most valuable payoff through alumni’s power to connect with potential students with an authenticity no one else can match. Alumni can give your prospects a view into life at your school and what life might look like for them once they have a degree from your institution. 

The best way to get alumni to engage with your school is when interactions with them have nothing to do with asking for money. Here are some proven tips how to inspire engagement from alumni: 

Alumni Respond to Personalized Emails

People won’t bother with emails that don’t hit on their personalized interests and concerns. Use everything you know about each alum to tailor email content based on their unique history with your school — both off and online. Customize content based on data points such as their graduation date, program, and their preferred social media platforms. 

An email with a subject line “Join us for an alumni lunch” isn’t terribly inviting. Try an email with the subject line “Nursing program alumni lunch – come network!” instead. Now that’s a subject line that makes it clear why this email is directed to the recipient and what she’ll gain by reading it.

You need a rocking subject line to get alumni to open your emails, but don’t let the personalization stop there. Send happy birthday and graduation anniversary emails. If the career center is organizing a job fair for graphic arts students, invite recent graduates as well as current students. 

For more on email marketing for schools, check out this free resource >> 

Continue the Conversation via Social Media

Social media is the most effective option for the “little” yet highly impactful conversations you can have with alumni. Keep track of how their social media preferences change over time. 

For nearly all alumni, regardless of graduation year, LinkedIn is one of the most important platforms for career networking. LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool is a valuable tool helping people find and connect with fellow alums, but by itself, it won’t spark conversation or motivate action. Having a LinkedIn group for alumni can do that. 

If your school hasn’t already set up an alumni group, chances are good one of your alumni has. You don’t want competing groups. You can always ask the group owner for someone on your team to be added as a group administrator. Either way, your social media specialist should be an active presence in the group connecting people, sharing school updates, and asking for alumni feedback on relevant issues. 

Personalization works well in the LinkedIn group too. You can have multiple sub-groups. Create sub-groups based on different programs or industries where alumni can target their job and business networking efforts.

Use other social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, to promote more social activities and interactions. Having alumni-specific accounts on social media provide a space where alumni interests are front and center. Social media is also the ideal channel for encouraging and sharing alumni generated content (AGC). 

Alumni Generated Content, You Say

Alumni are rich sources for your content machine. Whether they’re posting career or personal updates, sharing stories about their time at your school, or attending school events – alumni always have entertaining or informative content of interest to prospective students, current students, and other alumni.

Use your social media accounts to solicit their stories and posts. Ask specific questions, such as “Tell us three things you wish you knew by the time you graduated?” Then curate the most interesting responses. You can drop these into emails, reports, and your website.

Asking alumni to contribute an article for a school newsletter or a blog post. Or to be interviewed in a webinar, is another useful way to source content. In fact, don’t be surprised if alumni are just waiting to be asked to write something. Alumni want to give, but they can’t always give money. Especially recent grads still paying off school loans. Inviting them to engage with your school by providing content is valuable way they can donate rather than hitting the “donate” link.

In-Person Engagement Still Matters

Attending or speaking at in-person events is another opportunity for alumni to give back without opening their wallets. In-person events are spring-boards for interesting AGC, as well as ways to connect potential students with alumni. Invite alumni to speak at regional open house events for prospects or make themselves available for applicants to contact with questions. 

Active regional and national alumni groups can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to having a full calendar of alumni events. As with your social media alumni accounts, people on your team should be actively involved in giving them event ideas and being an extra pair of hands promoting the event. Using the information you have about alumni in your database, you may well be able to uncover alumni who’d be interested in specific events that the local association doesn’t know about.

If you want lifelong engagement from your alumni, market to them based on their specific interests and concerns as intently as you do in your search for new students. Alumni are the core of your school. The number of active students can only grow by so much, but your alumni pool is an ever-growing resource. If you want alumni engagement, you need to engage with them first.

Efficient Education Marketing Machine - Free Ebook

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Oct

20

2016

15 Website Must Haves for Driving More Inquiries and Applications [New Ebook]

eduwebsite.jpg

For schools, having a great website is no longer an added bonus. Parents and students alike make decisions online, and your website has a great deal to do with that process. 

The good news, is that it no longer takes an entire IT department to turn a mediocre website into a great one. In our new ebook for education marketers, 15 Website Must-Haves for Driving More Inquiries and Applications, we offer quick wins to help you optimize your school’s sites to both attract more traffic, and drive more leads.

You’ll learn all about: 

  1. Inbound links
  2. On-page SEO
  3. Meta Tags
  4. 301 Redirects
  5. First impressions
  6. Consistent layout and structure 
  7. Compelling images
  8. Clear navigation
  9. Accessibility and mobile responsiveness
  10. Perceivable value
  11. Quality content 
  12. Blog
  13. Social sharing 
  14. Student or Parent Testimonials
  15. Landing Pages and Forms

Ready to dive in? Snag your copy of our free ebook here >>

Efficient Education Marketing Machine - Free Ebook

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Oct

11

2016

Inbound Marketing for Independent Schools

k12class.jpg

Today nearly a quarter of all K-12 schools in this country are private schools—that’s over 30,000 schools. With 5 million seats to fill each year, these stats demonstrate the urgency for marketers attract their share of prospective parents, and nurturing them along to their child’s enrollment.

Every student goes through her own enrollment journey, but the inbound marketing journey phases are the same for every prospect. A key to inbound success is understanding each of these phases and what different inbound marketing strategies and tactics are needed in each.

Getting Noticed: Attracting Qualified Prospective Parents

Parents can’t enroll their children if they don’t know you’re out there. The first phase is getting attention for your school, but not just from anyone. You want to make sure you attract parents of students (prospects) who are looking for an alternative to public education, who have children who will thrive at your school, and who are going to ultimately help better your school.

To make sure you’re attracting the right prospects, you need to understand, deeply, who they are. These are your personas, which you’ll write up in detailed descriptions for fictionalized versions of your ideal parents. You may have more than one persona for your school. For example, parents looking to enroll their child in a private school right from kindergarten, might have different questions and needs than one looking to transfer their students in for 8th grade.  One may be curious about after-school care, while the other might care more about whether or not their child has been adequately prepped for success

When you do research to build your personas, talk with your academic and career counselors, admissions folks, current students, local libraries, even other schools if possible.  You want to learn what questions and concerns your ideal parents have when they start looking for an independent school.

The information you discover isn’t just for your personas. It’s also the foundation of SEO strategy, to guide you in the selection of what keywords and phrases will generate the right kind of organic traffic to your website and blog. The right keywords help keep your traffic targeted.

Are you trying to increase awareness for your best-in-class soccer program for the state of Maine? Then search phrases like “youth soccer in Maine” and “Maine soccer leagues for children” may need to be part of your keyword list.

Do What Your School Does Best – Educate Prospects

You want to convert your website and blog visitors into prospects you can nurture. A visitor becomes a prospect when you start learning enough about them to push out personalized content. The best way to do this is offer them some remarkable content for which they’re willing to exchange their email address.

Remarkable content has to provide detailed, actionable answers to the specific questions prospects have when deciding whether to go to an independent school versus a public school, how to apply, or how to decide what sort of school or program best suits them.

Whether your school is co-ed or single sex, day school or boarding school, you’re driven by a unique philosophy, set of values, and approach to teaching. Your content is a vehicle to showcase what makes you different, and why students might be a good fit for the qualities your school is known for.

Return to your personas and what you learned about them during your research. You should see a broad range of concerns, questions, and interests you can dig into. Set out to create remarkable content that educates your prospects about their most pressing questions.

Getting Those Applications and Enrollments 

A prospect can spend a lot of time in the education phase. Use your content and its carefully selected topics to nurture prospects towards inquiries, applications, or enrollments. To do this, nudge prospects along with content that starts answering the questions they have about your specific independent school.

You’re still educating them, but now you’re educating about what they can expect at your school and why your school is a good option for them. This is also the time to start “closing” on your best prospects. 

Include calls-to-action (CTAs) on your blog posts, emails, and other content geared towards prospects in this phase that start building offline connections between them and your school. Strong CTAs for this phase include inviting them for on-campus tours and meetings with career and academic counselors and financial aid advisors. 

Making this pivot successful requires good timing and persistence. Identify behavioral triggers that indicate a prospect’s high readiness to fix their short list of schools. You can use email series and other automated workflows to drip the right mix of content and CTAs to move a prospect towards application and then on to enrollment.

Create Your School’s Best Ambassadors

Congratulations! Your inbound marketing program has resulted in a full enrollment class of exactly the kind of students you want.

Your work isn’t done.

These students and their parents are an invaluable resource. Use surveys to find what their preferences and interests are. Learn about what the specific motivators were that lead them to choose your school over others.  Do you need to refine your personas based on what you learned?

They’re also great content sources. Delighted parents and students can write blog posts, post at-school videos, and share your school’s content through their own social media profiles. So don’t forget to continue to publish remarkable content that appeals to their new questions and challenges now that they’re enrolled. 

The Never-Ending Cycle 

As you well know, there’s always another semester and new classes to fill. The more you execute on an inbound marketing strategy, the more you’ll learn about what works, what your best prospects respond to, and what can (and should) be discarded. Use this never-ending cycle of new prospects to keep improving the content and lead nurture flows you implement to enroll your new students.

Email MArketing For Schools

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Oct

4

2016

Building an Efficient Education Marketing Machine [Free Ebook]

Efficiencyhand.jpg

No matter what industry you work in, the world of marketing has gotten faster, sleeker, and all-around more efficient. Schools in particular are moving away from slow, traditional marketing tactics, and toward nimble, online strategies. So how do you get started?

Our newest ebook, Building an Efficient Education Marketing Machine covers what schools need to know about increasing ROI in the digital age. Take a look at the intro below, and feel free to snag your own copy for free to read it in full! 

“As marketing gets more digital, it’s getting more efficient. Businesses now expect

to quantify their marketing ROI. Education marketing shouldn’t be any different.

The explosion of digital

marketing
brings unlimited channels and methods to

reach your ideal students, and unlimited data points for you to analyze. That

means more opportunity to spend money that may or may not provide a return.

Understanding where and how your marketing efforts provide valuable return to

your institution is the golden goose of digital marketing. Those who best keep

up with its methods to better understand their markets will achieve the highest

ROI. In this book, we’ll take you though some of the most cost-effective (as well

as some of the least) digital marketing strategies for student acquisition.

Inbound marketing is an opportunity for schools to have true ownership of their marketing efforts by becoming their own publisher. No more having to rely entirely on gaining access to someone else’s audience. With inbound, you build your own audience who meets you in your own space. It’s the difference between owning and renting, between an ongoing investment in an appreciating asset or ongoing cost for a temporary result.”

Want to read-on? Download the full ebook for free here >> Building an Efficient Education Marketing Machine!

Efficient Education Marketing Machine - Free Ebook

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Sep

27

2016

Why Your School Should Move Away from Purchased Lists

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Buying an email list may seem like a good idea when your database seems light and you have an email campaign to run. We get it, no one’s going to apply to your school if they’ve never heard of it. But didn’t you listen to your mother? What did she tell you about short cuts? (Ignore this if your Mom was totally OK with taking short cuts.)

Buying (it’s actually “renting”) an email list is a short cut, which means it’s the fastest route to a host of marketing problems. Bad delivery, open, and conversion rates on your campaign may be the least of your worries.

The entire premise of inbound marketing is that you succeed by attracting the right prospects to you and build a relationship based on your credibility. So your bought list gets your name in front of some new people. Applying to school isn’t an impulse purchase. You still need to start from a place of trust. If you start the process with a purchased list of email addresses, you undermine the entire foundation of your marketing efforts.

The more effective alternative to buying an email list is enticing prospects to freely choose to joining your email list because they’ve had a taste of your content and affirmatively decided they want to hear more from you.

For more information on how to build lists from scratch, check out out ebook From Stranger to Student >>

Look at the contrast. You can send a thoughtful marketing email to a bunch of people who have given you permission to connect and expressed a willingness to hear what you have to say. Or, you can invest your marketing resources and efforts in sending emails to people who may have never heard of you and never given any indication they’re specifically interested in your school.

Which list do you think will convert better?

Bought lists suck because they usually have inaccurate, old information. These lists have been rented umpteen times, so you know the people on it have already been spammed to death. But the results of using these types of lists are more detrimental to your school than one poorly performing email campaign.

You Just Turned Off a Whole Group of People

When you get a prospect’s permission to market to them, you’re continuing a relationship. Whereas when you send random people – and your school is random to them at this point – this marketing email is their first impression of your school. And it’s probably not a very good impression no matter how “perfect” your subject line, how great your messages are or how well laid out its design is. Some people on a purchased list may have been, at some point, interested in learning more about your school. They may have found you during their own self-initiated research phase.

Now when they deepen their own research efforts and they’re ready to see your school, they’ll remember you as that intruder who showed up uninvited in their inboxes. That may smack of either desperation or aggressiveness to them. Not good. And that’s lost trust and credibility you can’t get back easily.

Using Purchased Lists Undermines the Deliverability of ALL Your Emails

When we get unsolicited emails, we typically mark them as spam. You do too. Everyone does that. When lots of people start marking your emails as spam, you start getting a bad reputation with your email service provider (ESP). ESPs are deeply invested in making sure that the emails sent through their systems don’t get dinged as spam, as they’re being watched too.

An ESP with a high volume of spam email sent through its servers can have all the email going through it blocked by the internet service providers. That cramps their business. So before it gets to that point, the ESP will block the bad actor in its midst that’s putting their operations at risk — you.

That means that none of your email, regardless of who the intended recipients are, will get through. All your email marketing efforts will be shut down. No alumni drive emails. No campaigns to schedule on-campus tours with people who’ve downloaded an application. No follow-up campaigns with candidates who visited your campus. 

That’s why most ESPs (the reputable ones, anyway) make it a violation of their terms of service for you to use a purchased list or send spam. Another reason to avoid buying email lists.

You Lose Out on Good Intel

Email personalization is a huge driver of lead nurturing and conversion success. People respond to emails that are directly relevant to them. They want to get emails that are relevant to their preferences and concerns. You only send personalized email when your organization has accurate intel about the people in your database. 

We’re not just talking about a lack of information or inaccurate information you’ll find on a purchased list. That’s part of it. Sending an email to someone about your medical code billing program when they’re interested in nursing doesn’t present your institution as reliable or terribly capable. 

That’s all true. But your real loss comes due to lack of attention and smart intel gathering on the list you already have. Getting a prospect into your database is only the first step. When you design your forms, and use progressive profiling, you’re collecting the information you want. You can start asking prospects for their expected application timeframe, academic major, or extracurricular interests. Any information you can use to deliver personalized content that can have the greatest impact.

You send emails and make other offers of content or reasons to connect. Everything your contacts do, or don’t do, tells you more about them so you can send more on-target offers down the line. Someone in your database starts reading a lot of blog posts about students with children. Identifying this behavior lets you trigger off an email series that includes video testimonials from current students with children and links to pages on your website that explain your flexible, online learning opportunities.

These are the insightful intelligence data bits that fuel your marketing strategies for segmenting and personalizing your future offers to them.

Beware the False Economies 

A false economy is where you act to cut down on costs, only to discover in the end that action cost you a bundle instead. The direct cost of buying an email list may seem low. It’s certainly less expensive than the direct investment of time and effort to build a strong opt-in list.

But the costs you risk — undermining your school’s reputation by getting tagged as a spammer, losing the ability to send any emails, and letting competitor institutions cut in on the opt-in names you’re not attracting and leveraging — make buying email lists an exceedingly expensive tactic you can avoid. Bottom line: Build your list. Don’t rent one. 

  Email MArketing For Schools

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Sep

15

2016

How Can Small Schools Tackle Inbound Marketing?

Bigdoglittledog.jpg

You’re ready to get your inbound marketing machine going. You’ve read the case studies and statistics showing how effective inbound marketing is at pulling together a full enrollment class.

And then you start thinking about the all the different strategies and tactics and new social media platforms and metrics and… Holy cow, it can all seem to be a bit much. Where is a small education marketing team to start?

Well, we’ll tell you. Here are some guidelines to follow so you can get started with your own inbound marketing plan.

Start with the Baby Steps

We all have to walk before we run. Don’t think about the full volume of what inbound marketing can do for you and all the options you have under the rubric of inbound marketing. Finding a focus can be especially difficult for new schools and programs, or independent schools, that don’t have a pre-existing marketing framework to use as a reference point. So for starters, put your focus on taking action. 

When you’re first starting, your immediate goal is to take consistent action. Set some milestones, such as publishing one blog post a week and making one new offer a month.  Hitting these milestones will create habits and build skills your team will need to grow your inbound marketing chops,  refining your workflows so all their underlying tasks become easier to execute over time.

Focusing first on taking consistent action will also let you establish a baseline of your efforts’ performance, which you can then use to set more results-oriented goals in the future. 

As a very first step, create your personas (this free template can help). Inbound marketing always starts with the right personas. Putting together persona profiles forces you to investigate who your target market really is, what they care about, what they want to know, and where they’re getting their information.

Get Some Quick Wins 

You can tap into existing resources to quickly hit your action milestones. If you already publish a blog, review your current posts in light of your new persona profiles. For posts on topics that meet your personas’ needs, freshen them up with a new, improved keyword strategy. Update them with more current information. If your persona process revealed that your blog has been focusing on the wrong topics, time to change course with your posts.

You can find a lot of good, relevant blog content in materials the school already has. Go through different department newsletters, course syllabi, or admissions materials. Use them as starting points to generate some new blog posts quickly. 

Want some quick wins with your content offers? Take a look back at your old content offers. Pick one that best fits what you know about your new personas. Freshen up the content if needed with updated information or new graphics. Spruce up some new CTAs to place on your website and to promote via social media.

A great first choice for creating a new content offer is to look at who’s already in your database. Do you have a sluggish, un-engaged pool of emails? Put together a re-engagement campaign for them. 

For additional email tips, take a look at this free guide >>  

Whatever you decide your quick wins will be, here’s a library of 360+ templates you can use to quickly create great looking content. 

Looking to the Bigger Picture

Once you feel like you’ve started some good habits and met your small milestones, it’s time to move one step further and do a little planning for the future.

For your blog, this means brainstorming a list of 30-40 blog topics. Don’t do this on your own. Bring in people from admissions, perhaps a faculty member and student or two. With a working list of blog topics, ramp-up your publication schedule. For the first time, set a goal of publishing 2-3 posts every week. At this pace, your topic list will keep you running for a quarter. For your next brainstorm session, you can ramp these numbers up even further. 

This is also a good time to take another look at your social media platforms. Which ones are really worth your effort? Perhaps you should keep some for student and prospect communications only. Learn which channels parents and potential employment sources gravitate to and reach out to them with content that keeps them interested in your campus. 

Clarify which social media platforms deserve your focus, and who you’re trying to reach with each of them. Then optimize your profile, and set up templates and best practices for each one. Your social media profiles are distribution force multipliers, so make sure they’re getting your message out.

This is also the time to expand your vision beyond driving traffic to your website. Your goal has never been simply to get traffic. It’s time to convert some of your website visitors into prospects and get their email address into your database. You do this through a stellar content offer, say a guide to your academy’s applicant assessment process or the scholarships available at your school that motivates people to give you their email address to get it. 

With their email address in your database, you now have options to target them further with content that pushes them down the enrollment funnel.

No Actions is Too Small 

However small your baby steps are, take them now. Inbound marketing builds on itself. Whatever small changes you make now will continue to provide benefits well down the line. Blog posts you publish now will continue to draw traffic over the years. Out of the blue, someone will retweet one of your content offers months after you sent it out. You might warn students that “the Internet is forever,” but when it comes to inbound marketing – this can be a great plus.

Another great advantage to inbound marketing is everything that you can learn from every single action you take. Every. Single. One. You’ll learn more about your market, about what works with them and what doesn’t. You can build each subsequent email series or blog editorial calendar on better intel. You’ll also improve your own internal workflows that will help you generate more content more quickly.

Inbound marketing creates a continuous, virtual cycle the pushes everything forward with greater momentum the longer you do it. But first, you’ve got to get started.  Want a more detailed action plan? Here’s an inbound plan for your first 100 days.

Email MArketing For Schools

Tags:

Sep

15

2016

How Can Small Schools Tackle Inbound Marketing?

Bigdoglittledog.jpg

You’re ready to get your inbound marketing machine going. You’ve read the case studies and statistics showing how effective inbound marketing is at pulling together a full enrollment class.

And then you start thinking about the all the different strategies and tactics and new social media platforms and metrics and… Holy cow, it can all seem to be a bit much. Where is a small education marketing team to start?

Well, we’ll tell you. Here are some guidelines to follow so you can get started with your own inbound marketing plan.

Start with the Baby Steps

We all have to walk before we run. Don’t think about the full volume of what inbound marketing can do for you and all the options you have under the rubric of inbound marketing. Finding a focus can be especially difficult for new schools and programs, or independent schools, that don’t have a pre-existing marketing framework to use as a reference point. So for starters, put your focus on taking action. 

When you’re first starting, your immediate goal is to take consistent action. Set some milestones, such as publishing one blog post a week and making one new offer a month.  Hitting these milestones will create habits and build skills your team will need to grow your inbound marketing chops,  refining your workflows so all their underlying tasks become easier to execute over time.

Focusing first on taking consistent action will also let you establish a baseline of your efforts’ performance, which you can then use to set more results-oriented goals in the future. 

As a very first step, create your personas (this free template can help). Inbound marketing always starts with the right personas. Putting together persona profiles forces you to investigate who your target market really is, what they care about, what they want to know, and where they’re getting their information.

Get Some Quick Wins 

You can tap into existing resources to quickly hit your action milestones. If you already publish a blog, review your current posts in light of your new persona profiles. For posts on topics that meet your personas’ needs, freshen them up with a new, improved keyword strategy. Update them with more current information. If your persona process revealed that your blog has been focusing on the wrong topics, time to change course with your posts.

You can find a lot of good, relevant blog content in materials the school already has. Go through different department newsletters, course syllabi, or admissions materials. Use them as starting points to generate some new blog posts quickly. 

Want some quick wins with your content offers? Take a look back at your old content offers. Pick one that best fits what you know about your new personas. Freshen up the content if needed with updated information or new graphics. Spruce up some new CTAs to place on your website and to promote via social media.

A great first choice for creating a new content offer is to look at who’s already in your database. Do you have a sluggish, un-engaged pool of emails? Put together a re-engagement campaign for them. 

For additional email tips, take a look at this free guide >>  

Whatever you decide your quick wins will be, here’s a library of 360+ templates you can use to quickly create great looking content. 

Looking to the Bigger Picture

Once you feel like you’ve started some good habits and met your small milestones, it’s time to move one step further and do a little planning for the future.

For your blog, this means brainstorming a list of 30-40 blog topics. Don’t do this on your own. Bring in people from admissions, perhaps a faculty member and student or two. With a working list of blog topics, ramp-up your publication schedule. For the first time, set a goal of publishing 2-3 posts every week. At this pace, your topic list will keep you running for a quarter. For your next brainstorm session, you can ramp these numbers up even further. 

This is also a good time to take another look at your social media platforms. Which ones are really worth your effort? Perhaps you should keep some for student and prospect communications only. Learn which channels parents and potential employment sources gravitate to and reach out to them with content that keeps them interested in your campus. 

Clarify which social media platforms deserve your focus, and who you’re trying to reach with each of them. Then optimize your profile, and set up templates and best practices for each one. Your social media profiles are distribution force multipliers, so make sure they’re getting your message out.

This is also the time to expand your vision beyond driving traffic to your website. Your goal has never been simply to get traffic. It’s time to convert some of your website visitors into prospects and get their email address into your database. You do this through a stellar content offer, say a guide to your academy’s applicant assessment process or the scholarships available at your school that motivates people to give you their email address to get it. 

With their email address in your database, you now have options to target them further with content that pushes them down the enrollment funnel.

No Actions is Too Small 

However small your baby steps are, take them now. Inbound marketing builds on itself. Whatever small changes you make now will continue to provide benefits well down the line. Blog posts you publish now will continue to draw traffic over the years. Out of the blue, someone will retweet one of your content offers months after you sent it out. You might warn students that “the Internet is forever,” but when it comes to inbound marketing – this can be a great plus.

Another great advantage to inbound marketing is everything that you can learn from every single action you take. Every. Single. One. You’ll learn more about your market, about what works with them and what doesn’t. You can build each subsequent email series or blog editorial calendar on better intel. You’ll also improve your own internal workflows that will help you generate more content more quickly.

Inbound marketing creates a continuous, virtual cycle the pushes everything forward with greater momentum the longer you do it. But first, you’ve got to get started.  Want a more detailed action plan? Here’s an inbound plan for your first 100 days.

Email MArketing For Schools

Tags:

Sep

6

2016

How Can Schools Find Budget for Inbound?

schoolbudget.jpg

Everyone is looking for more marketing budget. As the well-known song goes: “You can’t always get what you want.” To even make the case for more budget, you need to show how your current marketing contributes to filling your school’s enrollment class with the right number of ideal students. 

The first place to start is determine where your marketing budget and efforts are giving you a return, and where they can be better spent. This way, regardless of whether you get a budget increase, you’ll still find more money to spend more wisely in your current budget.

To identify where to allocate your current budget to better effect, you need to:

  • Be clear on what you’re currently spending
  • Understand how much it costs to acquire each enrolled student
  • Determine your current ROI on your efforts

How Are You Using Your Budget Now?

Small team or big team, hopefully you have a formal marketing budget that spells out what you’re spending for all your content and campaigns. Take a look at these sample marketing budget templates to get an idea of what you should to include. 

Don’t overlook the cost of what other departments contribute in terms of creating content for your campaigns. You can include those numbers in your budget for purposes of identifying actual costs, even if this sort of inter-departmental exchange isn’t a formal cost item on your marketing budget.

Now there are other costs associated with getting a prospect to become an applicant, and still more to become an enrolled student. You only want to include the marketing costs. So for example, you don’t want to include the costs of Admission’s activities throughout the enrollment journey. That’s on their budget, and you’re trying to reclaim your own dollars.

Start with a list of all your discrete and ongoing campaigns. This includes every piece of your blog, newsletters, email nurturing series, premium content, and landing pages, as well as your PPC ad spend and social media efforts. We’re talking about costs for photos, graphic design, copywriting — anything and everything from student labor to hard dollars for advertising.

Understanding Your Student Acquisition Costs

In a commercial context, businesses always want to know their CAC – client acquisition cost. The economics for schools are different, even if you’re a for-profit school. But you still have an acquisition cost for each student you enroll.

The formula for determining the marketing CAC is to divide your total marketing budget by the number of enrolled students. So if you have 2,000 students in one enrollment class and an annual marketing of $200,000, your marketing CAC is $100 per enrolled student.

The marketing CAC is the baseline metric you use to get make decisions about what specific marketing campaigns and costs are more valuable than others. 

Re-assess your CAC each year to find how it changes. As you expand and refine your inbound marketing efforts, you’ll find your cost of acquiring new students continues to goes down with time. A robust inbound strategy helps your school develop a strong online reputation through the awesome content you keep publishing over time. You’ll continue to reap the benefits from your established authority and historical content, making inbound the most cost-effective method of filling your enrollment class with the right students.

Determining ROI for Specific Marketing Campaigns

This is where the heavy lifting comes in. You want to understand your budget costs, but also the relative cost of your team’s efforts. If your team doesn’t track its time, here are some time tracking tools you can look at. When you know how many hours are spent on a campaign, you can assign the effort expended on it in dollar terms.

The trickier part is knowing how much of your marketing effort and spend contribute to a student enrolling. You probably already gauge the success for specific campaigns using other metrics, such as new leads, applications downloaded, or applications sent in. You probably set a goal for each campaign based on one of these conversion metrics.

But what you want to know now is how much a campaign contributed to an enrolled student. It’s truly the only success metric that really matters to you and your boss.

For this, you need to attribute specific campaigns as the reason(s) a student ultimately enrolled at your school.

There are three basic models of marketing attribution:

Single campaign – This is the simplest, but crudest model. It can be a good place to start attribution when it’s new for your team. Under this attribution model, you select one marketing touch point to get the full value of a student. This would typically be either that student’s first or last touchpoint.

Equal value – Also a simple model, but uses more data. You give every touchpoint for a student the same value. Or you might decide to use only the first and last touch, but give them equal weight.

Weighted value – In this model, different touch points have different weights. This is best done after you’ve been tracking attribution for a few enrollment drives. You may find that a high percentage of students watch a webinar at some point, but only a small fraction of people who read the blog ultimately enroll. So you’ll weight attending a webinar more heavily than reading your blog. 

Let’s play this out using the single campaign model, using the first touch point you can identify, which is the point at which they entered your database.

If 10% of your enrolled students got into your database because they subscribed to your newsletter, your newsletter is their first touch point. Now let’s say you spend $30,000 of your annual marketing spend on your newsletter, 15% of your annual budget. But that 15% accounts for only 10% of all enrolled students. 

You’re spending $150 a year on your newsletter per enrolled student ($30,000/ 200 students). That’s well above your overall CAC.  In this case, you might decide sending out your newsletter twice a month, instead of weekly, frees up time and money you can use running other more effective campaigns. 

You can apply the single campaign model on every campaign. Then start aggregating what you learn. One email nurturing campaign may have a high CAC, but overall, your email campaigns do well. In that case, analyze the campaigns to discover what causes the discrepancy and do more of what works, less of what doesn’t. 

As you get used to running single campaign attribution formulas, you’ll learn more about the value of your marketing activities to use the more precise attribution models to learn even more.

Then you can sing along with the Rolling Stones as you rework your current budget: “But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

Email MArketing For Schools

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Aug

30

2016

Email Marketing for Schools [New Ebook]

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Choosing a school is a big decision that’s grounded in education and research. 

Controlling this discovery process that drives someone to select your school is no easy task. There’s a wealth of information available on the internet, not to mention the mass of communications that prospective students and parents receive daily.

Email has been a game-changer in the admissions process, helping schools to further inform prospects by placing helpful information right in front of their eyes. That said, the amount of email being sent is on the rise, and it takes some serious skill to really wow readers nowadays. 

So, how do you create an effective email marketing plan that boosts enrollment for your school?

We’re excited to share a new complimentary ebook, Email Marketing For Schools, designed to help you exceed your admissions and enrollment goals. In it we’ll share:

  • How to grow your email list (the right way)
  • Tips for segmenting your database of prospective students and parents
  • A breakdown of which emails you should send throughout the enrollment journey
  • Email design and copy best-practices
  • An interactive checklist to ensure each and every send is your best one yet
  • Examples of emails we love from both independent and higher education schools
  • And more!

You can download your copy of Email Marketing for Schools here >> 

Like what you read? Let us know in the comments or feel free to share on Twitter

Email MArketing For Schools

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Aug

25

2016

How to Transform Your School’s Image

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Many schools are steeped in history, which makes it hard to change public perception. Transforming the image of your school or one of its programs can be Marketing’s biggest challenge. But as student needs and the education market evolve, rebranding your school may set you on the path to full enrollment classes.

Creating a new brand identity is an intensive process itself. But the work doesn’t end there. Once your school has developed its new brand and the key messages, you know need to let the world know! Invest as much thought and effort into your roll out. Otherwise, your school’s image is only transformed in your own minds. You need to start letting other people know.­­

Where Do Your Personas Fit?

Did your personas drive the rebranding effort or do they need freshening up now that it’s done?

In some cases, schools may have learned so much about their personas, their pain points and motivations, that they decided to revise their image to better suit where their personas are now. More likely, a school wants to transform its image to appeal to different, more target-rich, market.

Either way, don’t start planning a roll out until you have your personas updated. This includes identifying the meaningful questions and topics your new personas have for each stage of their enrollment journey, and how to frame them in the context of your new messaging.

Need to make your student or parent personas still? Try this free template for schools >>

Translate Your New Messages into Content

Now you’re ready to trumpet your new image to the world. You do that through your content. Start by reworking your SEO and PPC strategies to reflect your new key messages to attract the right people.  After you’ve identified new keywords to target, you can freshen up some old blog posts with a new message spin and keywords. You also want to build out a new blog editorial calendar that reflects the work you did both on new persona topics and your new keyword strategy. 

Your rebranding effort probably includes a new visual scheme as well, requiring a major website overhaul of its aesthetics, text, and photos. An updated website anchored by your new image and messages is worth sharing. You can write a press release announcing the new website and how it reflects the school’s mission and message.  

Repurpose your press release content as articles to go out in alumni and staff/faculty newsletters. Base an email campaign to your current database promoting your new image and directing them to a blog post or video you’ve made presenting your school’s new story. 

You also want to attract new prospects who will be motivated by your new image with a couple pieces of new anchor content. Anchor content is high-value, gated content you promote to generate leads into your database. This could be an analysis of education or employment trends that play into your new image, or preparation and application tips for a certain student population you want to encourage to apply.

You can build a landing page around the anchor content, as well as promote on your website and via social media. With anchor content, you not only get your new image out into the marketplace, you’re actively using your new message as the draw to get the right kind of prospects to identify themselves to you. 

The Roll Out Becomes Habit 

Living your school’s new image extends far beyond the roll out. The roll out is the announcement. While active promotion of your new image as “new” will eventually end, using your content to deliver your school’s message never stops. In fact, as your school brings in classes under the new vision, your school will start to collect the real-life stories of your students, faculty, alumni and school life that reflect this vision. These will all become stupendous sources of content you can use to emphasize and reinforce the reality of your school’s image.

So every plan needs a timeline, where you can chart the roll out steps, as well as how to proceed after you hit the tipping point when you’re no longer in roll out mode.

  • Prior to formal announcement: You should already have researched and created a new SEO strategy. You can start seeding old and new blog content with this strategy. Think of it as a stealth roll out.
  • Generating excitement for the new image: You might decide you want to share with alumni, faculty, staff and current students the upcoming changes. In addition to newsletter articles or internal emails describing the backstory and hopes of the new image, you can include calls-to-action for them to share linked content through their social media accounts. If you don’t want this to pre-date your formal announcement, time this to occur shortly after it.
  • Formal announcement: This is timed to the roll out of your new website, along with a press release.
  • In the months following the formal announcement: Run social media ad or PPC campaigns. Continue to encourage internal stakeholders to promote new image content via social media. Publish new blog, newsletter, and email content centered on more personal stories that emphasize the new school values you want associated with your school.
  • Further down the line: Two, five years down the line, your new image is no longer new. Ideally by this point, your school is truly seen in the light that you’d hoped when you started the re-imaging process. These are the years where your new image either solidifies or you risk it never attaching. Either way, this isn’t the time to slow down. Especially now that you’ll have a good body of metrics, feedback, and other research you can use to refine how and when you deliver the right value messages in ways that attract prospects and drive enrollment.

Recreating your school’s image in the eyes of alumni, current community, and the wider public is never going to be an easy task. Yet keeping clear, consistent messaging throughout your content will go a long way to staying on track.

SEO DO's and Don'ts for Schools

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Aug

16

2016

How Higher Education Marketing has Changed

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The education industry is going through a major disruption, facing pressures in demand, supply, and delivery.

Enrollment rates continue to decline, especially for four-year for-profit and two-year schools. Four-year universities see flat enrollment rates. As the pool of potential students gets smaller, the options they have for school are increasing. New programs like Promise and EQUIP offer financial incentives for students to attend community colleges and alternative educational institutions.  The rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other digital education services are forcing brick-and-mortar schools to expand student options and improve flexibility as to where and how students attend class.

All this is going on as attitudes of students and parents change as to how they research and select what sort of school to attend, and then which school to attend. Increasing costs, especially at four-year schools, which now take six years for most students to complete, has put many people’s focus squarely on gauging what sort of return they’ll get for the money they spend on school. What’s the most cost effective way to earn credits? What skills will they have? What will their job prospects be? 

And like every other purchase made today, consumer or B2B, students and parents are conducting most of their school research well before they ever make direct contact with a school.

The Empowered Consumer Student

You know well that the days of guidance counselors and school brochures controlling the selection process are long gone. 

Students and parents have a remarkable array of information and resources to access when researching schools. Let’s forget (only for a minute) about the content put out by the schools themselves.

There are also the review sites both for schools and individual teachers, and websites and blogs dedicated to guiding people through the selection process. Prospects have access, through social media, to the everyday conversations other students, parents, and prospects are having about the schools they attend or are thinking about attending.

There’s no topic a prospect can’t find online information to educate themself about whatever her educational priorities and motivations are. This newly empowered, self-directed prospect means educational marketing strategies need to evolve to meet them.

Leaning into the Digital Disruption

Traditional outbound tactics, like print ads and cold direct mailing, aren’t where the prospects are. To meet enrollment goals, both in number and quality, schools have to be right in the digital mix addressing the issues prospects are already researching online. 

Inbound marketing answers this call.

Inbound marketing uses digital capabilities to execute a strategy of targeted personalization by delivering online content that attracts and delights your prospects. This more personal approach is necessary to attract quality leads to your institution. You don’t just need eyeballs. You need the right eyeballs.

Getting found by your best prospects online requires serving up the information they want, in the formats and places they prefer.

In order to do that, you need to a clear picture of who your target prospects are. These are your personas, fictional profiles that describe the motivations, challenges and demographics of who you’re trying to reach. You can find free templates to use for your school here. Your personas probably aren’t just different student types, but others who participate in their school decision. This means parents, teachers, and counselors.

Once you know who you’re trying to reach, follow the inbound methodology to get quality leads into your database and nurture them through to application and enrollment. The inbound methodology for schools has four main steps: attracting web traffic, converting that traffic into leads, nurturing those leads into making inquiries to your school, and then closing them by getting the application. You can learn more about creating personas the moving them through each step in The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing for Schools.

Where the Prospects Are

Google documented back in 2012 that 90% of students research higher learning institutions online. So we’ve learned a lot about how students do their education research. They’re eager for information about areas of study, scholarship information, and campus life. They consult campus ratings as well. Everyone gets reviewed today.

Social media is another active source of information, so YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, and messaging apps are probably valuable distribution mediums for your content. Of course, your school’s own website is their single largest resource about your school, and curious prospects will visit often – if you’re serving up engaging, informative content they can’t resist.

Use your social media and school blogs to answer the questions your prospects have, using the search language they use. This is the starting point for inbound. When you publish content with the right keywords and answering key prospect questions, your school’s website and blog will start showing up in student searches. That’s how schools are getting found by the right prospects in today’s education market.

That’s where all education searches start today – online. If your school wants to be pro-active about enrolling full classes of your ideal students, then it’s time to get counter-intuitive and stop chasing them with brute force, outbound tactics.

Being pro-active in today’s market means making them come to you by being a trusted, authoritative resource throughout their entire research process.  They’re not interested in being talked to. They want you to respond to their needs, and then they want you to anticipate their needs. That’s inbound marketing.

The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing for Schools

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Aug

9

2016

Turn Your School’s Website into an Application Generating Machine

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Picture your website as a home. Your prospective student database lives in this home. You want your school’s website to gather and store as much information as possible from prospective students. To get these prospects to enter your home (i.e.database) and provide that information, you need to create as many doors as possible.

Your website may present strong content, but does it provide a pathway for website visitors to reach back to your school? Your prospect database’s doors are the calls-to-action (CTAs) you have strategically placed all around your website. Maybe there are no calls-to-action (CTAs), or not enough CTAs, or easily ignorable CTAs.

Maybe you have just one big, honking CTA – a bright red button that screams “APPLY NOW”.

Ouch.

The Enrollment Journey Takes Time 

Most of your website visitors aren’t ready to APPLY NOW. You need to use your content to delightfully nurture them down the path from first visit to application. Not scare them away when they’re already overwhelmed by the thought of just how important of a decision selecting a school is. 

Instead, your website should offer up a variety of offers that align with different points in a prospect’s journey. That means don’t get rid of your “Apply Now” button. After your awesome content stream has gently pushed visitors down the funnel, some of them are indeed ready to apply.

But it also means you need plenty of CTAs for people still wandering around the backyard garden exploring, those settling in the kitchen for a bit for a good chat, and those curious enough to head upstairs. 

When you provide all sorts of doors (i.e. offers) for your website visitors to enter your house, you’re filling the top of your funnel. The more prospects you bring into the top of your funnel, the more pro-active you can be about targeting and nurturing the best prospects into applying and ultimately enrolling.

For more on applicant nurturing, see our guide: From Stranger to Student >>

As long as you keep any given offer on your website, it remains an open invitation for new prospects to enter your database. Even as you sleep, your offers are generating leads and keeping your application funnel working.

So where to build your doors? Here’s a process and some tips for placing the right CTAs in the right spots that will open the floodgates to your prospect database. 

Look at Your Current CTAs

If you only have the “APPLY NOW” CTA, don’t think you can skip this step. Catalog what offers you have where, what they’re offering and how they’re performing. This information will give you some baseline guidance on what’s working and what isn’t.

Where do your “APPLY NOW” buttons convert well – on program pages, but not the home page or campus life pages? Now you know your home and campus life pages need a different kind of CTA to engage visitors. 

You may find that offers for certain types of content convert better than others. Your “Use this checklist…” CTAs absolutely kill. But your “Access your report…” CTAs get ignored. That could be a sign to reformat a long report for more bit-sized consumption, say a slide presentation big on images and bullet points.

Try to figure out why a CTA is under-performing. Maybe some of your report CTAs do well, but you have one that doesn’t. Looking more closely, you see that report CTAs on topics and pages geared towards parents convert, but those targeting young students don’t.

Examine Your Current Content

Look at both gated and un-gated content. Review your best performing gated content, looking at its topic and format. Your best performing content isn’t just generating high conversions, but also quality prospects. Develop those topics and prioritize those formats that are already attracting exactly the sort of student you want at your school. 

Analyze your high performing un-gated content as spots ripe for the right CTA. Do you have a collection of high-powered posts that rank well and consistently attract lots of traffic? Are the CTAs on those pages performing well or clogging up your machinery? If they’re gumming up the works, the CTAs probably don’t align well with the topic of the blog post or its audience. 

If one of your power posts goes into how students can convert their real world experience into course credit, having a CTA to view a video of on-campus housing doesn’t make much sense. Does interest in on-campus housing fit the persona of the older prospect returning to school? Instead, you can create and gate a calculator that helps them estimate how many credits their current experience would generate. Or post a CTA to view a video featuring alumni sharing their school/work balance stories.

Need CTA templates? We’ve got 50 you can download and cutomize >> 

Work Your Best Performing Content 

Select some of your best performing content, gated or not, for your different personas at different stages of their enrollment journey. While you can (and should) add CTAs for this content in other, relevant spots on your website, you can also create separate landing pages for them. 

If you have a collection of power posts on a similar topic, sew them up into an ebook (free templates here) or presentation. Put up a landing page for the now-gated ebook and promote the landing page link via your social media channels as a distinct campaign. 

If the program-page CTAs for your “Setting Up for Trade School Success Tool Kit” convert like crazy, give this content its own landing page to promote as well.  

Aligning Your Offers Boosts Your Numbers 

The CTAs need to make sense for who the visitor is and where he is on your website. What he’s reading or watching are clues where he is in his journey. It’s the ever-important cross section of persona-journey stage to make sure you’re making the right offer at the right time.

Put together a worksheet of all your personas and the topics/questions they have at each stage in their journey. Make sure you have CTAs for each cross section. Then make sure the CTAs are placed on pages with content that connects to that cross section.

If the only door from the backyard garden is an express elevator to rummage around the attic, no one’s going to go through it. Give your website visitors multiple doorways attractive to them, which gives you and your admissions team multiple ways to continue to keep the application machinery producing.

SEO DO's and Don'ts for Schools

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Aug

2

2016

How to Measure Your Sc hool’s Marketing Funnel

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Your school has already been publishing some content to start capturing email addresses from potential students and parents. Perhaps you’re even seeing a boost in enrollment already. It’s working! It must be working – right?

The beauty of digital marketing is you can actually connect the dots all the way through your enrollment funnel. You can discover where it’s strong and where it’s weak. If you’re seeing enrollment numbers go up — that’s great. But you still don’t want to leave success to chance. You want to know what’s happening at each stage of your enrollment funnel. You want to plug the leaks, and fix the broken connections — before your lose momentum.

Breaking Down the Enrollment Funnel

Your enrollment funnel is made up of five stages. Prospects are people visiting your school’s blog, website, or social media pages. Leads are prospects who have made themselves known to you. They downloaded a special report and provided their email address. Or perhaps they liked your Facebook page. This is the top of your funnel. You’re getting people’s attention.

Not getting enough traffic yet? Check our our ebook, SEO Do’s and Don’t for Schools >>

In the middle of your funnel, you have inquiries, people who have actively reached out to some part of your school. These leads have signed up for a campus tour, or sent Admissions a question, or requested a meeting with an academic counselor. Their interest in your school is growing. They’re narrowing their focus. The more inquiries a lead makes, the more certain you can be that your school will make it to their short list.

Last is that slim percentage of prospects who ultimately apply to your school and, if accepted, then enroll. The bottom of the funnel is where you ‘close the deal.’ DePaul University in Chicago shared its rate of return through to matriculation in 2014 – less than 1%. For a school that brings in 2,500 students with each enrollment class, that means they start with 300,000 leads. 

The only way to find your funnel’s weak points is to first look at the numbers.

Identifying and Fixing Your Funnel’s Leaks

A healthy funnel is in large part about the numbers. There’s definitely a “quality” component too. But even that will only get revealed by first looking at the numbers.

You should already have some target numbers set for each stage. If you don’t, you can still look at the numbers as they are in your funnel. However, you won’t know if you’re on track to meet your enrollment goals without having set them in the first place. So go set some goals! 

The clue to look for is large swings in numbers between stages.

Let’s Start at the Top with Prospects

In digital terms, you can measure this as traffic to your website or school’s blogs. If you’re not generating enough traffic, you’re putting the rest of the marketing funnel and admissions team under a lot of pressure to squeeze out a full enrollment class from a smaller than desired pool of prospects.

If your site visits are low, perhaps you need more content geared toward someone who is starting to wonder about what school is like, or what to consider when choosing a school. Are you putting out enough content that answers the questions of people beginning their research? Is it closely tailored to speak to your personas?

If you think the topics are strong, then it may be a distribution issue. Do you merely publish a blog post and hope people find it? Take a look at your social media and paid advertising programs to see where they can promote your top of the funnel content better. Are you on the right social media channels? Are you posting the kind of information your personas want? Are you responding to people on those channels in a timely manner? Are you making it fun? Are you being helpful?

Mid-Funnel Problems

1) First mid-funnel problem: the email addresses aren’t coming in.

Let’s say you’re getting good traffic, but nobody is downloading your premium, gated content. Not good: you’re not collecting email addresses. If your premium content downloads are low, then you’re not gating the right content. Or perhaps the titles aren’t the most appealing. 

“You gotta give to get.” You have to give away a lot of great content to attract prospects. To turn them into leads, you need to make them an offer of content that’s irresistible. Say, a report on starting salary averages for common jobs that your graduates have been successful in finding a match for their skills, knowledge, and passions. Or a checklist of “10 things you need to know about any school’s graphic arts program” before you apply. Meaty content. Rich content.

Take a closer look at your gated content that’s converting poorly to determine if the topic isn’t right or your headline isn’t doing it justice. It could be that you’re asking for too much information on the download form. You can use progressive profiling to start by just asking for a name and email. Once you turn a prospect into a lead and get their email address in your database, you can gather more intel on them when they download future content.

In fact, this is one spot where you can identify some quality issues behind the numbers. If you see that people who downloaded a certain piece of content don’t return to download more, that may be a flag that this piece of content needs to be reworked.

2) Second mid-funnel problem: ‘One-and Done’ Downloaders 

If people are generally only downloading one or two pieces of your content and then disappearing, this drop-off will show up in the difference between the number of leads vs. inquiries. It’s usually not any one piece of content that’s not working. It’s more likely that not many of your leads are taking a more pro-active step to contact your school.

In this case, you should look at your lead nurturing process (we’ve got a guide to help here). Are you offering enough content and calls-to-action (CTAs) that gently nudge leads down the funnel. Do you have email drip campaigns that share alumni videos with a CTA to schedule a call with an admissions counselor or current student ambassador? 

Your nurture emails need the right CTAs that give them impetus and opportunity to make a pro-active inquiry. Analyze all your CTAs in emails and reports that are intended to move the lead along, first to inquiry then on to application. Which ones are working better than others? Learn from what works; discard what doesn’t.

Don’t Forget the Last Mile

Do your funnel numbers drop off after the application gets downloaded? Don’t ignore this critical last mile. 

Continue nurturing potential applicants with informative emails, posts, and other content that warms them up for admissions. Make sure you’re passing along all the great intel you’ve gathered on applicant to Admissions so they can approach him in the most effective way. Even after acceptance, both Marketing and Admissions can keep the nurturing going until enrollment.

At HubSpot, we call all this the waterfall. A strong flow of traffic should cascade down through each stage of the funnel to meet your enrollment goal. Obviously there’s fall off the farther you get down the funnel. But find the points in your funnel where numbers nose dive. Those are your leaks. Now — go fix ’em.

  The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing for Schools

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