The purchasing process in the education sector has changed remarkably.
Young people interested in education, courses of study, short courses, specializations, etc. do some research and search for educational offers. Today a young man sits at his computer and begins to do research on what he would be interested in studying. He explores for information, and asks questions, until he finds the solution, and is ready to start studying that specific course of study that suits his profile. Still, educational entities do not focus on this for now, which is an opportunity.
The main current challenges in the industry are:
- Increase the number of students per program.
- Retain students to finish the course.
- Detect up-sell and cross-sell opportunities in different students.
- Achieve greater customization.
What do you do at your company to overcome these challenges?
What are buyers looking for?
High school students: they are in full search and exploration of their professional future. They are comparing the different career possibilities available to find an academic proposal that fits their interests.
University graduates: they already have a professional degree, but they are looking to study something in particular within their discipline, and for this reason, they are interested in postgraduate courses.
Postgraduate graduates: here are those interested in master's degrees and doctorates. They seek to be specialists within a particular area of their discipline.
The Inbound Marketing methodology is excellent for the educational sector. It is mainly used for the first stage of the buyer's journey, known as exploration, since it has all the information they need to solve their problem, for example, what course to study, at the disposal of buyer personas. All the content available to those interested will be at their fingertips and will lead them along a progressive path that will help them decide which is the academic option that best suits them and, in turn, will give a new student to the institution.
What actions does the industry carry out?
The educational sector is increasingly suffering from the growth of competition, and this means that the different institutions need to implement original strategies to achieve the greatest number of students. In this sense, communication is key. Having innovative, personalized, and segmented communication strategies for different types of audiences has become a necessary aspect if you want to be successful.
In addition, the process of an educational institution does not end when it manages to attract a new student, but rather a new path begins there. After admitting new students, the institution must implement retention strategies so that they complete their studies, and, later, delight strategies (to attract them again) so that they continue specializing within that same institution.
All this can be achieved if the institution is committed to the process proposed by the Inbound Marketing methodology, which is useful both for them and for the students, because they will feel accompanied, helped, and important to the institution.
Inbound marketing in education
The competition that there is in educational offers adds to a large number of young people who are looking for the best proposal on what they want to study. This is where Inbound Marketing takes on special relevance. This methodology will be useful to help those students during their search process and decide on the best option for them in terms of study. And, at the same time, this process will help the institution attract more students and increase their enrollment.
In the first stage of discovery, people realize their problems or needs, for example, "Where to study the English Language?". Then, in the consideration stage, it is in which people will consider all the available alternatives to solve the need: should I study at a private or public university? In an English academy that does not offer official degrees? They will also be able to inquire about the modalities: face-to-face, semi-face-to-face, and remotely. All this research leads to the last stage, the decision stage. Here, the student will already be ready to acquire a specific educational service, because he has already investigated and decided what is best for him considering his current situation.
Now, once we have this clear, we start with the Inbound methodology.
With this methodology, we seek not to be intrusive, but rather be perceptive according to each person and their interests. We don't want to disturb her, and we even seek to provide help all the time. It is a growth model that seeks to generate a machine for creating students and opportunities. As more time passes, better results are seen.
Suppose your name is and you are the sales manager of a university with more than 30 years of experience. Given the high competition in the educational sector, you find the problem that you need to increase the number of annual enrollments and improve the enrollment rate for the different courses offered.
Discovery: How can I increase my college enrollment rate?
That type of problem has a high rate of monthly searches on Google, which is growing more and more.
In this first stage of discovery, people are only looking for information on how they can solve their problems. That is, they know what they want to do, but they do not know or are not clear about how to do it. So, right there is where there is a new business opportunity, to help these people to solve their problems in a clear and strategic way where the relationship with the students is prioritized so that the company and the customer are mutually benefited.
Having this clear, we move on to the following... How to get their attention?
First, we establish 3 key phases. Each phase will correspond to a specific type of content that will be created to capture the attention of potential students. The content will be more specific and personalized as the phases progress. The phases are: TOFU (Top of the funnel) / MOFU (Middle of the funnel), and BOFU (Bottom of the funnel).
TOFU content is for someone who is at the discovery stage, while MOFU content is for a person who is considering solving their problem (consideration stage); lastly, a BOFU is for someone who is already decided or is about to make the purchase decision.
(If you don't know what a lead, MQL, or SQL is, it is an SLA and you can see more here).
Imagine that you are a high school student and you have the problem that you do not know what to study next, so you do a search and find an article on Google that says: "What do you have to take into account to define your professional future". Wouldn't you like to read it? Of course!
Even at the end of the article, you find a button that says: "Access the free vocational test to find your passion."
- TOFU article: What you have to take into account to define your professional future
- Downloadable TOFU: Vocational Test
Data to request in return:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Have you finished high school yet?
- If the answer is yes... How long ago?
- If the answer is no... When do you finish it?
Then, a few weeks later, you receive a personalized email that talks about the topic according to your choice based on the question "Have you finished high school yet?" and in the email, they recommend a specific article that is about "Hello! Look at the 5 reasons why getting a degree is a good idea", but the best thing is that, at the end of the article, there is a button that says: "Comparative duration and cost of each degree course"
There your attention is caught even more because it was just what you had doubts about, you feel very identified with this, you want to read the document, and you download it. But of course, with a little more key data that they ask for.
- MOFU article: 5 reasons why getting a degree.
- Downloadable MOFU: Comparison of duration and cost of each degree course
Data to request in return:
- What are you planning to study?
- Business Administration.
- Foreign trade.
- Other courses of study.
- What other courses are you considering?
- Telephone number
- What is your biggest challenge?
- I don't have enough money for a graduate degree.
- Proving to my family that I can get a degree.
- Being a professional.
- Devote my life to what I am passionate about.
- When do you plan to start?
- In 1 month.
- Between 1 to 3 months.
- Between 3 to 6 months.
- Between 6 to 12 months.
- A year from now.
They don't even know the sales representatives and they already know everything about us and our programs, courses, etc.
That's how it is today.
If people have completed all the items that we requested (in exchange for something valuable), from TOFU, and MOFU, we already practically know if they will buy something from us or not.
But beyond that, we have created a bond.
So, at this stage, you are with several ideas in your head and realize that you already feel an affection for us because we have known each other for 2 months and we never tried to sell you anything.