Inbound marketing has been quite the rage since the CEO of HubSpot first coined the term in 2005. This type of strategy has only recently started to make an impact in the marketing of international schools.
But what exactly is inbound marketing for schools and how can you use it to help your school’s marketing goals?
Inbound marketing for schools is an overall marketing strategy that helps to draw your prospectives in to find out more about your school, your community, and what makes your school special. Let’s compare it to outbound marketing to get a clearer picture of what it is exactly. Outbound marketing is what we have come to know as interruptive marketing strategy. Your favourite TV show is interrupted by an ad. The magazine you are reading starts with, ends with, and is full of full page ads that you have no interest in. The radio program that you are listening to teases you with your favourite song, but not before there are five minutes of ads. As you can tell by the three media platforms that we have just mentioned, outbound marketing is a bit outdated.
Enter the internet. No one on the net forces you to do anything – usually. Your time on the internet is self-guided by your own interests. You decide how much time you want to do anything. And you decide what exactly it is that you are looking for.
When perspective families start looking for a right fit school for their children, they are in the mood to find the information they are looking for. You are not forcing them to do it, you are merely helping them find what they already want to find. In a nutshell, this is the essence of inbound marketing for schools – helping your prospective families find the information about your school that they are looking for. And if you can anticipate what they are specifically looking for, you can create content that will answer the questions that they have.
Inbound marketing for international schools is an overall marketing strategy that encompasses many specific tactics including:
- SEO – Search Engine Optimisation, the process by which search engines like Google are able to find your website and your content when a specific search term is entered.
- Blogging is one of the most effective ways to share what makes your school unique while also helping your chances of being found online.
- Content Marketing can be used by your school to create a series of helpful guides to help families in their search for right fit school. One could be all about the IB Academic program and how it is presented at your school. They key here is to answer specific questions that your families are asking. Here’s an easy way to remember what inbound marketing really is – the more helpful you can be to the process that your prospective families are going through, the more effectively you are practising inbound marketing strategies.
- Social Media channels should not stand on their own, but they should be optimised to be an important part of your overall inbound strategy. Rather than making your Facebook page just about current events, you can take every opportunity to create links back to your website, where you can capture the contact info of prospective families and help them with their school search. Every social media platform should also act as an invitation to learn more on your school website.
- Speaking of your school Website, you should create your website from the start to be an inbound marketing command centre, with everything from landing pages, to lead magnets, to contact forms.
- Video rounds out the areas that we are going to cover here, but we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. While video marketing is obviously our favourite of the many tactics that are included in an effective inbound marketing strategy, it is only one and is most effective when it is part of a well thought out overall strategy.