June 6

The 11 Biggest Education Inbound Marketing Blunders


So you’re interested in inbound marketing for education?

And the headline has you intrigued? Good. First point:

1. Not Having an Engaging Headline

Inbound marketing is all about getting attention and answering questions.

If you think about it, you clicked to this article to get answers to your questions about inbound marketing. The headline engaged you, got your attention, and promised to answer the questions you have.

A few types of headlines that have proven to do well:

  • The direct statement headline. Example: The best fans in the whole world!
  • The question headline. Example: Are you tired of looking for financial aid on your own?
  • The how-to headline. Example: How to decide if commuting is right for you
  • The “reasons why” headline. Example: 10 reasons why you should consider an online degree program

2. Treating It Like Outbound Marketing

There’s a time for outbound marketing, but inbound is different.

Outbound marketing is always an interruption to the audience. Outbound marketing brings up questions the audience isn’t asking and attempts to answer the question.

Inbound marketing is about intuiting the questions of your audience and offering the answers in a way that engages them with your brand.

3. Considering Inbound Marketing Too Expensive

Inbound marketing is a long game requiring persistence and a steady budget.

If you think of inbound marketing as an expense rather than an investment, you’ll never commit the resources it needs to produce results.

The good folks at Rhino Digital list the benefits of an inbound marketing approach:

  • Using inbound strategies drops cost per lead by an average of 13 percent.
  • Brands that use inbound marketing save more than $14 per customer acquired.
  • Inbound marketing results in 54 percent more leads being sent to the marketing funnel.
  • Leads that come as a result of organic web searches have a 14.6 percent close rate; compare that to the 1.7 percent close rate of outbound marketing.
  • Inbound marketing is still cheaper than traditional marketing – on average, 62 percent cheaper.

4. Not Understanding Inbound Marketing

If you’re going to invest your money and time into an inbound marketing strategy, the first place to begin is to educate yourself on the ins and outs of inbound.

  • Go to inbound marketing conferences.
  • Buy or borrow books on inbound marketing strategy. I recommend Youtility by Jay Baer to start.
  • Sign up for an online course.

5. Driving Your Traffic to The Home Page

While it’s important to have a well designed home page, this is not where you want to drive your traffic. Instead, always drive traffic to a landing page that is specific to the call to action you used to send them there. Home pages are general and have numerous actions a visitor can take.

In contrast, landing pages should only have one or two actions available to the visitor. The design and copy are crafted in a way that motivates the visitor to perform one of those available actions. This encourages higher conversion rates.

6. Not Having Relevant Offers

What are the questions your audience is hoping you’ll answer for them? What are the most engaging ways or formats in which you can answer those questions? This is the basis for a relevant offer.

This one takes some serious thought, and ongoing improvement as you learn from your audience what they’re really wanting to know, and what offers are really enticing to them.

7. Not Having a Call-To-Action

If you ask your web visitor to do nothing, they will do so. Always have in mind what behavior you want your visitor to perform, and then make it clear to them what action you want them to take.

Do you want them to…

  • Sign up for your newsletter?
  • Have an enrollment rep call them?
  • Download a helpful resource?
  • Send you a testimonial?

Make sure your visitor never has to guess what’s next.

8. No Segmentation

If you’re having a difficult time coming up with relevant offers for your audience, it’s probably because you haven’t properly segmented your audience.

When you get specific about the different subgroups within your wider audience, the questions they’re asking, and the ways in which you can answer those questions, begin to come clear.

Some criteria you can use to segment your audiences:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Program Interests
  • Financial Need
  • Special Interests (e.g., ethnicity, hobby, sports, etc.)

9. Not Following Up

This doesn’t need a lot of explanation, but if you don’t follow up on the leads that come in through your inbound marketing efforts, they’ll grow cold and you’ll lose them. Follow up with people who send you their email, request a call, make a comment on your Facebook page, etc.

And follow up fast. Don’t let a month go by before you reach out to them. Strike while it’s hot.

10. Not Having a Strategy for Inbound Marketing

Poor follow up is caused by the lack of a clear inbound marketing strategy.

Take the time beforehand to think through and write down who your audience is, your marketing objectives, your organization’s key performance indicators, the inbound marketing channels you’ll use, the offers and content you’re going to create for your audience, etc.

11. Working Harder, Not Smarter

Inbound marketing is hard work, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

There are two ways to get better results from your inbound marketing without working crazier hours than you already are: 1.) Write down your marketing strategy, and 2.) Use marketing automation and social media tools.

Some marketing automation and social media tools I recommend:

Did I miss any common blunders that you see education marketers make?

Need help with any aspect of your inbound marketing? Feel free to reach out. We’re here with proven results.

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