Over the past few months, I’ve heard from a growing number of prospective clients interested in inbound marketing in higher education. They may not call it inbound marketing — maybe they’re asking for help with blog posts or website content — but inbound marketing is what it comes down to. And to me, inbound marketing comes down to one thing: building trust.
Traditional marketing sends a message. It’s a one way enterprise: an advertisement, a billboard, or a brochure. Inbound marketing builds a relationship. Social posts, for example, do more than just deliver a message. They invite a response. They begin a conversation. A conversation leads to a relationship. And a relationship (online, just like in real life) must be built on trust.
In terms of higher education, prospective students are looking to form an impression of an institution. Is this a college where he or she might feel at home? Is this a student body where he or she would fit in? thrive? be challenged? Inbound marketing gives a college or a university a chance to answer those questions. And to do so in an honest, forthright manner. The right prospect is someone who’s going to connect with those authentic messages.
Your inbound marketing makes a promise to your readers. It’s a promise that you should be prepared to keep. Nobody benefits from mistaken impressions.
We encourage our clients to tell true stories with inbound marketing in higher education. These stories are the first step in building bonds that will lead to lifelong relationships between a right fit student and an institution he or she trusts.