The whole point to inbound marketing is to get your target audience to come to you and upon arrival, perform the actions you want them to take. Today, I want to give you ten out-of-the-box ideas to get your enrollment marketing efforts rolling.
Because if you build it, they will come.
Inbound marketing relies on fresh, consistently top-quality content that answers your audience’s questions (information) or piques their interest (entertainment) to draw your audience to your website and eventually to your front door.
If you’ve built a good set of what Joe Pulizzi calls “epic content,” than you can bank on the fact that they will come.
So, here are 10 ideas for enrollment marketing to keep your marketing fresh and enticing.
1. Video replays of live events.
Special lecture series, choir and symphony concert series, sports, and other live events can be published throughout the year. Consider experimenting with Facebook Live or YouTube Live to increase engagement with your audiences.
2. Tweet at live events.
Use photos and group selfies at live events to generate buzz and fill up your Twitter feed.
3. Create student testimonial videos.
Short videos you can publish throughout the year on social media feeds. Record and edit multiple videos at a time and publish over time. Consider using content creation tools for an inexpensive way to create testimonials.
4. Put on a photography contest of your campus on Instagram.
This works for all the student photographers on campus as well as all those who have a smartphone (which is all of them). Give out creative prizes for different categories of photos: “Best Selfie,” “Best Landmark Pic,” “Best Faculty Pic,” etc. Publish the pics on the school Instagram,Twitter or Pinterest accounts.
5. Start a student ministry team to visit churches and youth camps.
A successful strategy used by many faith-based colleges to generate leads and brand recognition is to assemble one or more student ministry teams and schedule ministry trips to churches, student ministries, or youth camps.
Basically, the idea here is to get your admissions office off campus and where prospective students are. Of course, there are many more options available to take advantage of this strategy.
If you already do this, utilize 1-4 as part of the ministry team’s communication plan.
6. Put a band/chorale/acting troupe of students together and tour local fairs, civic centers, and churches.
Much like the idea above, assemble student chorales, music bands, or acting troupes and schedule visits to local, public events where you can meet and talk to new prospective students. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the energy in these conversations as prospects are excited by seeing the talent and performance of your students!
7. Mobilize student volunteers to help at local high schools.
Mentoring programs, after school activities, tutoring, clean ups, or any events that need adult volunteers are a great way to get your students and admissions staff on high school campuses. These opportunities will allow you to really “live out your brand” as the public sees your organization giving back.
And, while they are volunteering, be sure to wear matching t-shirts with your school name, URL, and social media addresses. Use every opportunity to be living billboards.
8. Host a sports clinic.
Have a strong sports program? This idea may be for you. Organize a sports clinic for high school students. Help them sharpen their skills and knowledge of the sport while generating leads and boosting your brand recognition. Then follow up with these students on a regular basis after they have had a positive experience on your campus…even from a younger age than you typically would market.
9. Create and publish white papers answering common questions from parents and students.
In inbound marketing, this is a classic, go-to strategy. It’s simple, and when done right—it works.
Success in white papers begins with a solid understanding of the questions parents and prospective students are asking. Meet with your admissions staff to get a real feel for what students and parents want to know.
Once you know their questions, write out the answers in white papers (like an informal essay), checklists, or a numbered list. Here are just a few questions students and parents are asking:
- What do I need to be ready for college?
- How do I choose the college that’s right for me?
- How can I afford college?
- What questions should I ask on a campus visit?
10. Design infographics explaining topics potential students have questions about.
Infographics are fantastic content pieces because they’re so easily shareable, and the visual element is powerful and memorable. Visually breaking down complex topics for your audience makes it easy for them to digest the information and come to view you as their source for insights on the topic of higher education.
- The most popular fields of study and careers associated with them
- Breaking down the application process
- Detangling financial aid
- The types of financial aid available
11. Host a video tour of your campus.
This is a list of 10 ideas—but here’s a bonus! Hosting a video tour is a compelling way to show prospective students the layout of your campus and some of the friendly personalities they’re likely to meet there.
Dorm room tours can be lead by RA’s or other student leaders. Classroom tours can be led by faculty. Campus grounds and hall tours can be led by campus staff leaders.
There are a number of inexpensive cameras that can do this for you without a major production. Be creative and innovative!
Bottom line is that your website and social media feeds should be dynamic sources of content.
So be creative and keep the content flowing. Websites and social media profiles are not one-off projects that you create and then walk away from. A website (unlike a viewbook) is not a one and out. It is living and breathing, and content is the fuel and the life blood of a successful website.
Remember to look at your website and other digital marketing channels as dynamic sources of content where you consistently post new content that answers your audience’s most pressing questions. Keep it fresh!