5 ways to Increase College Admissions with inbound Marketing
The education sector in our country is booming. India has the largest student population in the world, a staggering 315 million students. To put that in perspective India’s student population is nearly the same as the entire population of the United States of America.
The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the coming years. Its market value is expected to be around US$ 180 Billion by 2020. Since India is such a huge player in the education sector globally and it is touted to become the talent supplier of the world, global investment in the Indian education sector is increasing.
Currently, higher education contributes to nearly 60% of the market size. India has managed to enrol nearly 70 million students to higher education in the last two decades and to cater to that population many institutes have mushroomed around the country.
There are more than 10,000 higher educational institutes in India. With this, it has become essential to attract potential students to your institute with new cost-effective avenues.
A potential student truly deserves an institute that can make justice with his/her caliber, and it’s equally important for an institute to reach out to this potential enthusiast with the right approach.
But, doesn’t this technique sound a little out tracked??
In this digital era, when a student can sit in a chair and get to know about each an every little aspect of the institute just by gliding his fingers over his/her phone; how easier has it become to reach these cream wisdom hunters?
This is where Inbound marketing comes into the picture!
Inbound marketing is a marketing technique that is intended to draw visitors and potential customers in, instead of outwardly pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects in the expectation of producing leads or customers.
In terms of Digital Marketing, this means utilizing a mix of marketing channels – most ordinarily Content Marketing, SEO, and Social Media – in imaginative approaches to pull in individuals’ attention.
The point of a fruitful Inbound Marketing effort is to increase reach and drive quality traffic, engagement and changes utilizing ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media.
It is a marketing technique that utilizes various strategies like Content Marketing, Blogs, Events, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, etc. to create brand awareness and attract business.
Contrary to outbound marketing, where marketers try to find potential customers, inbound marketing garners the attention of potential customers and creates brand awareness.
This technique creates an online presence of the company, brand, product or service, making it easy to be found.
Why is Inbound Marketing trending these days?
Since the evolution of the internet and consequently social media, we live in a world where information is abundant but internet users do not have the patience to read it.
According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day! 90% of the data in the world was created only in the last few years. Thus it is evident that the pace of creating information is increasing and it has already bypassed the consuming potential of the average internet user.
Consumers are empowered by the internet. They have access to information about anything and everything. Similarly, they have a lot of options and choices. They can access the details, specifications, pricing, reviews and alternatives to any product, service or brand around the clock.
To stay relevant you have to adopt various strategies and techniques to attract the attention of your target audience and make your brand more relatable, trustworthy and attractive than your competitors.
Simplification and Automation, these two are the key factors to master the art of Inbound Marketing.
Leveraging the Digital Marketing efforts through right channels and with prominent content simplifies the Marketing Process.
Automation of Admission Process is something that makes it more convenient and user-friendly for the students who are seeking admissions.
Let’s see what Inbound Marketing has into the bucket for us to explore!!
Six ways to increase to increase college admissions using Inbound Marketing
1. Simplified Admission Process
The admission process of any institute is one of the most important things which creates an impression on students. Having a simple, hassle-free admission process is of great benefit to the institute.
Having a free-flowing admission process means that students enrol for admissions easily and it acts as an added advantage to get more admissions just because of that simple and hassle-free admission process.
The admission process should be designed in such a way that students are updated about any changes in the process and given alerts about admissions, merit lists, cut-offs, entrance exam dates, etc. on a regular basis via SMS or email.
Entire administration activity of the admission process can be managed with technology. There would hardly any manual assistance needed to execute the admission process online. The entire process is carried out in a paperless manner.
It is not just about eliminating the paperwork from the whole process, it’s about automating and shortening it. The technology of today’s has reached leaps and bounds and have given the world ample pieces of code to optimize many manual processes, so as the admission process.
Platforms like ePravesh have been used by hundreds of institutes and universities across India for managing online admission process. The platform includes best practices followed by various reputed universities and institutes across India.
The simplified admission process would save a lot of time for parents and students. Technology-driven admission creates a positive perception and brand image of institute among students and parents community. It can be pivotal for institutes to get started with the online admission process.
This vibe of faith adds up a great value when students walk into the web portal of such an institute. It adds credibility on the account when a student tries to evaluate the managerial discipline that the institution is following.
2. Alumni Testimonials & Alumni Networks
Many institutes fail to develop a strong alumni network. An alumni network works hugely in favour of the institute. It is very useful in networking and making connections across the globe.
Prospective students can connect with this network and ask questions, conduct discussions and clear any doubts or queries. The legacy inherited from these social platforms works as a boomrang to boost the institutions creditbility over a students mind.
These social platforms are nothing but the right pitchers for your educational institues and they deliver their best at every single time. Students source the required information about the institute from generously genuine mediums like Linked in and FaceBook.
Therefore, the presence and testimonials from Alumni’s on such portals add commendable value to the institute.
The alumni network can also organize events and reunions to attract attention and create a presence in the local mass media.
These social gatherings are highly effective and such events reflect the culture and cohesivity that the institute cherishes.
Alumni testimonials, on the other hand, are a great way to build students trust in the institute.Testimonials are natural, relatable and effective mediums to advertise the institute and build trust.
3. Easy & Effective Communication with Students
Effective communication is the key to the smooth functioning of any organisation. This helps in resolving queries in real-time. Mediums like SMS, WhatsApp, Email, Google Hangouts, etc, can be used for this purpose.
This is a practical and efficient way to communicate notices, updates and alerts to all students. No student will thus miss out on any critical attention.
There have been numerous cases, where many students miss out an opportunity of their dream just because of the lack of conveyance. It is of vital importance for both the student and institute to keep up with the updates regarding the admission process.
Automated communication alerts or triggers can be sent to send alerts about admission, merit list publishing or such notifications over email,sms or push notifications. It would help students to be informed about key events related to admission or education institute related courses.
Multiple mediums to avail the updates about the process can definitely cut down the consequences caused by the lack of conveyance.
4. Articles & Blogs
Blogs and articles are an effective way to create brand awareness. This is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to advertise the institute. Institutes can start a new blog section on their website or create a separate blog website about the institute.
These articles and blog sites can be used to create awareness about the institute. Institutes can talk about the facilities they provide, their educational programs, events they conduct and college events.
Great content can take you leaps and bounds in this digital world. Weapons like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are really disastrous to glide around the world of computer networks, known as the World Wide Web.
Blogs being a written piece of content is very vital and highly resourceful when it comes to building a reputation and spreading a word about your product or service.
If you manage to figure out what your target audience is interested in reading, what are they expecting from you; you are halfway there! You just need to produce relevant content and keep on feeding the needs of your audience.
The more quality and informative content, higher the Google Ranking!!
Google Ranking is decided on the basis of things like quality & relevancy of the content as well as search terms used by the user.If your content is the most searched content then you will see that your insittues ranking is climbing higher and higher subject to Google Ranking and Search Results.
With Search Engine Optimization (SEO), your institute’s blog can achieve a good google ranking. This is a great advertising activity which is very effective in creating awareness and advertising at a minimal cost. This can be also done creatively and innovatively to be more attractive.
This platform can be used to talk about the success stories of students. This is a great way to showcase the talented students and their achievements. Prospective students are attracted to success stories and they are a great way to prove your institute better than others.
5. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the best ways to attract students. Indians on an average spend three hours daily on a smartphone; which is exactly 12.5 % of his/her day!!
This is considerably a great point to do brainstorming about because being a service provider we should always analyze which mediums are actually essential and worth investing to grab the perfect target audience.
Social media is the largest platform where almost 80% of the population gathers and spends a considerable chunk of their 24 hours. What else could be the greatest medium than this to advertise about your institution?
The average internet user will devote 70% of the total time spent on the internet to social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat and Twitter. Having an attractive and innovative social media handle is sure to attract student’s attention.
Institutes should really take advantage of this medium. A creative, attractive yet intelligent social media presence works to great advantage in creating a robust social media presence and getting attention.
Institutes can use this platform to create hype about their brand by posting about events, college fests, achievements, field visits, etc.
6. Organize College Fests
Institutes should conduct annual college fests. This will be events of magnificence and grandeur. Various competitions across various fields and interests can be conducted.
These fests are something students wait for a whole year and are excited to organize them. Some institutes conduct college fests which are very famous and students and colleges from across the country participate in them.
These events help not only in boosting the students’ morale but they also create your institute’s presence in newspapers, educational magazines and the greater mass media by extension.
Apart from the mass media, as discussed prior your own social media handles should blossom these events out to the audience. Today’s youth parallelly compares these activities as a considerable choice while choosing an institute for themselves. Give them a reason to choose your institute amongst all the others!
7. Video Marketing
The youth of today prefers video content over written content. Dedicating your energy and intellect towards video marketing, you can easily exploit the potential of video marketing.
Interactive videos, informative videos and other innovative videos are the key to attract the attention of your target audience, the students.
As we have been talking more about the digital era, where we know content is the king, video content ranks itself above the others, being self-sufficient. People tend to interact with and share this type of content over the other types of content.
Video Content is ruling the marketing segment from a year and so and will continue to rule till the next few years. It is essential to take up the advantage of the same and utilize for the better reach of your educational institute, in order to seek more number of admissions.
Being an educational institute, there is immense scope to produce content that will talk about Infrastructure & Amenities, Courses & Curriculum, Events & Happenings, Alumni & Students who can share their experiences about the college, Professors & Managerial Committee who can express a lot about the foundation.
These are just some pieces of themes, which are only the tip of the iceberg. You can come up with innovative concepts to express how your educational program is different than others in the run.
Once you are done with producing creative video content for your educational institute, make sure you channelize it effectively through your social media handles.
YouTube being the contemporary medium for video marketing, hold the highest share for the scope of performing the marketing activities. Having a prominent Youtube SEO in place can be considered as the first move in the era of digital marketing.
You need to have the video content published on you YouTube channel before you channelise and publish it through the other social handles. As YouTube offers the viewers higher credibility towards the brand they are looking at.
Prof. Parag Tamahankar
Asst. Professor at Department of Computer Science, Abasaheb Garware College, Pune
“ We have been using ePravesh services from the last3-4 years. Each time we have received professional assistance and support from ePravesh. Our students are also happy for the simple admission process. Thanks for the help, I would recommend it to others for admission process automation and simplification”