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3 min read

A Guide on Inbound Marketing for Admissions

A Guide on Inbound Marketing for Admissions

Inbound marketing is all about education.

Instead of asking students to do something (like applying to your school or signing up for a college visit), inbound marketing for admissions…

  • Educates students on their major of choice
  • Shows students how to get involved on your campus
  • Shares stories about what current students are achieving on campus
  • Opens the door to opportunities for professional, personal, and educational development
  • Walks students through the FAFSA mayhem
  • …and more

Inbound marketing informs, supports, and simplifies. It makes life easier. It’s a mindset, a way of viewing marketing. It’s relationship-building.

Trust, applications, and enrollment follow.

Inbound marketing allows you to show students who you are, without selling to them.

Especially if you’re a small or medium-sized institution looking to recruit more students, inbound marketing for admissions can be a great approach.

In an environment where students are inundated with emails, mailers, phone calls, and other forms of outreach asking them to do something, institutions that focus on being helpful and providing personalized content will stand out.

This guide covers:


What the Inbound Marketing Mindset Is

Inbound marketing isn’t just a strategy or methodology. It’s a mindset that can (and should) be shared throughout your organization.

After all, many of your institution's staff and students are already content creators! Just think about all the content highlighting what makes your institution unique…

  • Research papers
  • Social media posts
  • Campus newsletters
  • Research projects
  • Presentations
  • Photos
  • Interviews
  • Art (from music, to visual art, to dance, to theater, and much more)

Institutions of higher education have an uncommon advantage: college students often become super evangelists. In fact, your institution could have thousands of people who are already creating content about your school.

It’s just a matter of sharing this content beyond your current community.


Why Inbound Marketing Works for Higher Education

College admissions and enrollment marketing staff are already overloaded. If your team is looking for a cost-effective and low-risk way to reach the right students, inbound marketing for admissions may be a good fit for 2 very good reasons:

  1. The principles of inbound marketing are closely in line with many common higher education principles, like learning and growth
  2. Your institution is probably already creating massive amounts of content. It’s just a matter of sharing that content on the right channels


The Building Blocks of Inbound Marketing

Your team already has the building blocks of inbound marketing down pat. You know your target audience and personas. You understand student behaviors that drive applications and enrollment.

The next step is determining which approach to take in your inbound marketing strategy.

Then, consider the content subject matter. Think about how helpful it could be for students and their parents/guardians to have access to content on the following, specific to your institution:

  • College search and application
  • Culture
  • DEI
  • Financial aid
  • Career readiness
  • Student success stories
  • Class selection
  • Studying
  • Study abroad
  • Campus life

From there, consider content channels to help kickstart your institution’s inbound marketing journey.


Content Channels to Consider

Start small with these 3 classic inbound marketing channels: your blog and website, social media, and email marketing.


1. Blog and Website

Your website is central to your inbound approach. To help keep things manageable, focus on updating outdated content first. Updating content is a fast way to make your website more evergreen. If you have a blog, try updating just 1 or 2 blog posts per month. 

Consider these questions when re-evaluating your website:

  • Can we start posting our campus newsletter and student-written articles on our website?
  • Can we start sharing recordings of campus events?
  • Which content can you update on your website? 
  • Which content is no longer relevant? What can we remove?
  • Where are the gaps?
  • How can we provide more value and be more helpful on our website?
  • How is our website health?
  • When has the last SEO audit been completed?


2. Social Media

Social media can be a fun way to bring your team (and your campus!) together. Save time and give prospective students and families a glimpse into your campus culture with social media takeovers by clubs on campus. 

Your team can also ask yourselves…

  • How can we get students and staff more involved in social media?
  • Can we condense our social media accounts?
  • How can we share our campus culture on social?
  • How can we engage with prospective students on social?


3. Email Marketing

Once you’ve updated some blog posts and boosted your social media presence, try revamping your email marketing.

  • How can we lower our email bounce rate?
  • How can we personalize student emails with merge fields and segmented lists?
  • Which subject lines resonate the most?
  • Which content resonates the most?
  • Do we have a lead nurturing automation in place?
  • Which content can be repurposed into an email?
  • Can we repurpose alumni or internal newsletters into external content?


4. Bonus: Scoir

More than 1,600,000 students and their parents/guardians are researching colleges on Scoir. 

Optimize your college profile on Scoir, message students who could be a good fit, and share content unique to your school…all at a much lower cost than name buys. 

Some institutions are achieving a 1000x ROI and 11% yield for their class of 2023 through Scoir.

Plus, we can do it all for you with Managed Subscriptions.

Schedule a consultation if you’re interested!


We wish you the best of luck as you navigate the 2024-2025 season and beyond.

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