What are the 4 Stages of Inbound Marketing for Schools?

Do you know the stages of an inbound marketing strategy?

It is a methodology that more and more schools use because it allows you to attract, convert, enroll and retain students using the right content at the right time.

Here are the four stages of inbound marketing you can use to create your own comprehensive strategy.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing uses engaging marketing tactics to communicate with potential families at the beginning of the enrollment process and it stays with them until they either enroll or decide not to enroll.

The main purpose of inbound marketing is to attract your ideal families, also known as your parent persona, to your school. You do this by creating valuable content that’s personalized and accompanies them through each stage in the enrollment process. You should be with them from the moment they first hear about your school (brand awareness) until they enroll.

Going one step further involves loyalty, turning them into school evangelists. In order to do this, you must have a thorough understanding of the needs of the families behind the screen. Not only do you have to investigate who is on the other side, but you must understand the enrollment process they follow and how they move through your website in order to be able to offer content at the right time and place.

Therefore, the two most important pillars of inbound marketing for schools are the parent persona and enrollment journey. Any future strategy will be born from this data, so doing your research is essential.

Your inbound marketing strategy will be based on content that is relevant, provides value, demonstrates the level of expertise of your school’s owned media, such as your blog, social media channels, and of course your own powerful database that stores information on your prospective families.

4 Main Stages of Inbound Marketing

  1. Attract

The first step in inbound marketing is to get visits. In this first stage of inbound marketing, look for families to reach your digital marketing channels, whether this is your blog, website, or social networks. You should aim to increase your web traffic through the internet generated by your content.

The tools you can use to attract visitors are the following:

  • SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are essential to appear in the first search results. If you don’t use SEO, users are less likely to click on your site.

Read more: How SEO Works Step by Step

  • Social media

With a good strategy and engaging posts, you can redirect your audience from your social media channels to your blog. Your social media channels can also serve as a dissemination tool for certain content, such as articles and videos.

  • Third-party recommendations

Examples of third-party recommendations might be guest blogging or being interviewed on a podcast. This is great as long as the page your school appears on has credibility and is well-positioned. Just remember to be interesting and add value for readers/listeners.

Read more: 12 Best Practices for Generating Backlinks to Your Website

  1. Convert

In this second stage, the goal for schools is to get inquiries, meaning your visitors are taking actions on your website or landing pages. In other words, obtaining data about people submitting inquiry forms can be used to classify them in your database.

Keep in mind you won’t achieve this without the appropriate content for your parent persona. To incentivize inquiries, you should use elements such as calls-to-action (CTAs), lead magnets, forms, and chat bots.

At this stage, you should also consider using marketing automation software for lead nurturing. A big part of marketing automation includes email drip campaigns. You can use automation to send emails to deliver relevant content to help families take the next step in the enrollment journey. You can even use information you’ve collected to personalize the emails you send them.

  1. Enroll

Now that you already have inquiries coming in from all your marketing efforts, it’s time for an admissions officer to take over. However, marketing can still provide support to the admissions office by continuing to provide value to prospective families.

At this stage, you should also consider using marketing automation software for lead nurturing. A big part of marketing automation includes email drip campaigns. You can use automation to send emails to deliver relevant content to help families take the next step in the enrollment journey. You can even use information you’ve collected to personalize the emails you send them.

Offer families relevant information that will lead them to choose your school over your competitors. In this step, you will have to understand what phase in the enrollment journey your prospective family is in.

  1. Loyalty

This is the last stage of inbound marketing for schools. You want your families to be your school’s best evangelists. You’ve succeeded in making enrolled families part of your database, but it doesn’t end there. You want your families to love your school so much they can’t stop talking about what a great experience they and their student is having! Make sure you articulate why your school is the best for their family and be sure to delight them once they’re enrolled. You have to position your school in the families’ minds as the best school that takes the best care of their student and has the best family involvement program hands down!

Final Thoughts

These are the four stages of inbound marketing for schools: attract, convert, enroll and retain. Using different techniques and tools, you can guide users through each of these stages.

Do you use these 4 stages of inbound marketing for your school marketing? Please share your experience in the comments below…

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