Inbound Marketing for Higher Education — 5 Quick Tips

How does an institution stand out in the glutted higher ed market? These 5 inbound marketing best practices can help.

Inbound marketing for education institutionsMichael D Beckwith. The Leeds Library. Flickr. Image was cropped from original.

Inbound Marketing for Higher Education

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). More prospects and their parents are turning to the Internet today to find the information they need about all of the options. This requires a strategic approach to SEO in title tags, metatags, keywords, headings, image tags and more throughout the university’s website.


SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. – Search Engine Journal


Know your audience. A customer relationship management tool, such as HubSpot, can help you better identify your target persona, track their activity and build a campaign flow designed for that audience (be it traditional undergrad prospects, their parents, their admissions counselors, transfers, military and veteran students or another population).

Hubspot COS website design

Use dynamic content. Consider this example from email enthusiasts Emma: As Chief Marketing Officer for the University of South Carolina’s Athletics Department, Eric Nichols uses dynamic content to send unique, personalized content to each subscriber based on their data — all in a single email. The Gamecocks enjoy an impressive open rate of 46% and click rate of 24% on their emails with an audience of over 147,000 people.

Hubspot COS personalization

Offer educational content. You’re at a university or college so you may think you already have this covered. But, this isn’t about your school’s course offerings. Instead you want to determine what useful information about the application and admissions process or transitioning to college you might offer. Providing relevant, informational content to your audiences can help you build trust and credibility, which always help in relationship nurturing.

Nonprofit Content Marketing Usage (by Tactic) - The most effective nonprofit professionals use all of these tactics more often than their least effective peers do; however, they use some of these tactics a great deal more frequently, including videos (80% vs. 60%), articles on other websites (59% vs. 38%), blogs (58% vs. 38%), infographics (43% vs. 18%), and online presentations (43% vs. 19%).

Nonprofit Content Marketing Usage
(by Tactic)

Make Action Easier. Whether it is driving a donation or application submission, it can pay off to streamline web design elements to encourage action. Fewer steps can make it more likely that a prospect will convert into a lead.

Personalized CTAs - The Benefits of Website Personalization for B2B Companies

Inbound marketing is all about getting someone to take action. That’s the job of admissions offices, alumnae and donor relations and more at a university.

Support Makes Digital Work - Digital agency partnership for marketing support


  • Pashialis, C. (2016, March 4). Why your ugly giving form is losing you donations.
  • Ruhlmann, B. (2016, March 14). From Stranger to Student: Content Planning for Your School.
  • Van Meter, M. (2015, Sept. 23). 5 smart email tips from customers that get amazing results.

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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.