sly : marketing

The Basics of Promoting a College Using Inbound Marketing

I am working at a college in Norway, and I have been thinking a lot about how to promote the college (how to recruit more students) by using inbound marketing. So, when I received this guest post by Mariana, I was really happy. Not only is it a great post, but it will also keep my thoughts focused on creating the new marketing strategy for the college. I would love to discuss what type of inbound marketing I should be focusing on for the college. Please leave a comment.

Here’s Mariana for you:

There are two primary categories of marketing that companies and organizations use to generate profit: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on finding customers through advertising and promotion, while inbound marketing focuses on being found by customers. There are plenty of advantages to both marketing strategies. However, in certain sectors of sales, inbound marketing may be a stronger option. Rarely do we think about how colleges and institutions of higher education market their services. Many colleges have successfully used the inbound approach to marketing to their advantage. Because customers find the services they seek on their own, there is a strong sense of ownership and pride involved with inbound marketing. This can work to the college’s advantage and plays a huge role in marketing higher education. To implement an inbound marketing strategy, try these three techniques.


Creating quality content that your customer base would be interested in seeing is the first step in an inbound marketing strategy. One of the most common and often most successful platforms for content marketing is with a weblog. Universities and colleges can create a blog online that discusses commonly asked questions and points of interests for current college students and high school students looking to choose a collage. A blog that is run well has a way of feeling both personal and informative for their readers (and potential customers/students). Blogging lends itself well to colleges in particular because college hopefuls are constantly seeking insider and expert knowledge. This is exactly what a higher education blog can provide. Feature posts by professors, administrators, students, and applicants. This will help attract “shoppers” to your university or program because they can build a relationship with you and your school before ever attending. However, before a blog can be truly successful, close attention must be paid to the search engine optimization process.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website on all the major search engines. If your university has a blog, but it is not visible when an individual Googles things about higher learning or college, then it won’t be very worthwhile. Search Engine Optimization takes into consideration using keywords in blog posts and titles, so that those posts appear when they are searched for. As the internet becomes ever more prevalent in every aspect of the buying process, SEO has become more and more essential to drawing a profit. If no one can find you blog, no one will read it. If no one is reading your blog, no one is buying your product or attending your school. Good SEO tactics include creating quality content that is unique, using keywords that people search for, getting your links out there, and much more. Just as SEO is part of quality blogging, social networking is part of successful SEO.

Social Networking

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ have changed the way in which our society communicates and interacts. So much of what we see comes to us through our use of social media and social networking. Colleges trying to market their school using the inbound approach should pay close attention to social media and networking. Once you have created a marketing blog for you institution, use social media outlets to advertise your posts. Let your potential students find you on Twitter and Facebook. On these outlets provide information that students and potential students are interested in seeing and link visitors to your blog. With inbound marketing, social media networks increase the impact your compact has on the public and make you more visible. Each of these three aspects of inbound marketing are necessary for a successful campaign.

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

37 responses to “The Basics of Promoting a College Using Inbound Marketing”

  1. Robin Mathis says:

    Hi, Jens and Marianna.

    What you’re saying about colleges could easily apply to any business, and it’s interesting to see how you created this method for inbound marketing for colleges. I think I’m using too much outbound marketing myself.

    Thanks for this.

    Robin Mathis

    • jens says:

      Hi Robin,

      Yes, inbound marketing can be used in any business. We’re focusing a lot on inbound marketing at the college this year. I don’t have anything ready yet, but we’ll be doing a lot of exciting things.

      Stay tuned and you’ll see 🙂


  2. jens says:


    Thanks a lot for the feedback 🙂


  3. Adrienne says:

    I am so out of the loop when it comes to searching for anything having to do with school. I know that the majority of them have websites now so do most colleges now have blogs too? See, I’m so way behind on that but I’ve been out of school for a very very very very very long time! 🙂

    Robin is right though, this can be applied to other businesses as well. It’s interesting to hear how the schools and business are now doing their marketing. Trying to get everyone’s attention just like the rest of us.

    Congratulations on this guest post Jens. Mariana did a wonderful job.


    • jens says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      It’s been a while since I finished my masters degree in political science, but since then, I’ve worked at a University and a college for more than 12 years. So, I sort of feel like I’m still a student. Today, when I walked home from work at 8 pm, there was a huge party at campus… and I was actually happy just walking past, home to my family. But, on the other hand I felt that I was there, among the “kids” 🙂

      It’s like you and Robin say, we need to apply the new rules of marketing. We need to listen to our customers, and join the conversations, and apply inbound marketing. We have to work really hard, but inbound marketing is what it’s all about now.. and soon we’ll be releasing a video blog. I’m excited.

      Thanks a lot for your comment Adrienne.


      • Adrienne says:

        I bet still being in that environment can make you kind of think you are still there although I know you are thrilled to walk home to your family.

        Will really be looking forward to a video vlog Jens. How exciting. Thanks for letting me know what’s in store.

        Have a great day!


  4. Nicole says:

    Great post Jens… Thanks for sharing a very good post… I love the information you just shared… I will definitely promote this to people you wants to know more about Internet Marketing…

  5. Em's says:

    very impressive post thank you so much for sharing this to us,honestly when i started to work i thought it’s nothing until i see the last part it is very interesting one i may apply this in future.

  6. Edden says:

    Infinitely good tips you shared here, This blog made me think to using inbound marketing into myself, very interesting thanks for the time you discuss it.

    • jens says:

      Hi Edden,

      To me, inbound marketing describes close to 98% of what we’re going to be doing at the college this year. We used to do a lot of traditional advertising, but not anymore. Now, we’re getting a lot of help from our students and we’re creating videos about what’s happening at the college and close to “everything” that people want to know and discuss.


  7. Marcus Sheridan says:

    Jens, I think what you’re doing with the college is awesome. Seriously. Inbound marketing will work. For blogging, I’d write about the ‘best colleges in Norway’ ‘how to find a college in Norway’ ‘Things to know when attending college in Norway’ and on and on.

    I’d also have an incredibly active facebook page for the school, its events, etc.

    Just those two things alone would produce great results I’m sure.


    • jens says:

      Hi Marcus,

      It’s great to see you here bud. Thanks a lot!

      What you’re suggesting is perfect, and so is the timing. We had the first day of the semester today, and about 2000 new students arrived. We’ve been filming everything, and it will be the first “blog” post. I’m not sure when it will be ready. But, I’m looking forward to. This is going to be so exciting!

      Thanks a lot Marcus. I really appreciate all the help you’re giving me. If you lived any closer I would send you a Norwegian goat cheese in the mail 🙂


      • Eugne says:

        Taking inbound marketing advice from Marcus…hmm…I don’t know if that’s a good idea :).

        I’ll gladly take his goat cheese though…love the stuff. 🙂

        • jens says:

          So you love goat cheese, me too 🙂 Not sure if it tastes good after being sent in the mail from Norway though, but maybe.. I’ll see what I can do 🙂

  8. Eugne says:

    Like Robin said, this can be applied to any business. I actually read a post on Mark Schaefer’s blog not too long ago about how universities are picking up on the whole blogging thing, at a much higher rate than the biggest companies are.

    Social media is a great way to intercept students when they are trying to make their decision because that is where they hang out (Facebook in particular).

    • jens says:

      Hi Eugene,

      I haven’t been to Mark Shaefer’s blog in a long time. Thanks a lot for reminding me. It’s very interesting what you’re saying about universities, because I don’t think that this is happening in Norway. Well, big companies are not blogging, and the universities are not blogging either. But it’s definitively coming. That’s why I’m hoping to create one of the first really awesome university blogs 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the brilliant comment!


  9. jens says:


    Thanks a lot for your feedback 🙂


  10. Mariana Ashley says:

    Thanks so much everyone for the amazing comments! I love to see that this post is getting so much action. The internet is a fascinating tool and I love to discuss how we can put it to use for all aspects of our lives. Thanks to Jens for letting me be a part of your wonderful blog.

    • jens says:

      Hi Mariana,

      Thanks a lot for this awesome guest post. It was the perfect timing, as I’m spending a lot of time right now planning the inbound marketing strategy for the college. We’re going to be launching a video blog, that’s something completely new. And I’m very satisfied with our Facebook Page. A lot of people are using it, and the conversations are just amazing to watch (and to be part of it).

      Thanks again, and let me know if you have more guest posts 🙂


  11. Totally into the fact that you’re making quite clear that SEO is still important. IT SO IS! Lots of folks think social is taking over and as you know, I believe it is, and yes, Google is getting signals from social, but SEO will, at least for the foreseeable future, still be super important.

    Interesting to see this from your perspective.

    • jens says:

      Hi Ryan,

      We haven’t focused on SEO at all when it comes to the college where I work. We get a lot of traffic, but that’s because we have a huge website with lots of content and it’s old. We have PR7, and that helps. But if we had focused on SEO, the traffic would be a lot higher and more targeted. Hopefully this will help when the blog will be launched.


  12. Lezziel says:

    absolutely i agree with this post i can’t wait to share this to my friends and i hope it works for them.

  13. Eddie Gear says:

    Thats interesting Jens. I would love to know how to handle it and also if you need help with SEO, keyword research do let me know. Glad to help you with your project.

  14. Ashvini says:

    Inbound marketing is a must to attract people on internet. Being social and blogging are great tactics to get people to understand what the college is all about.
    One important thing is to be open and communicative and interact with audience. Without two way communication, inbound marketing might lose its meaning.

    You have presented excellent example of how inbound marketing can be used to promote a profit/nonprofit enterprise

    • jens says:

      Hey Ashvini,

      Absolutely, we need to do our best to interact and establish two way communication with our audience. I’m going to publish some of the examples and stories behind the scenes (at this blog) as soon as we launch.

      Thanks a lot for your comment.


  15. Marry says:

    i am looking forward to to hear the video blog,it’s very interesting post,I would love to know how to handle it and also if you need help with SEO, keyword research do let me know.

    • jens says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks a lot for the feedback. Just stay tuned here, and you’ll get some examples from the video blog (most of the stuff will be in Norwegian, but I think you’ll understand the message) 🙂


  16. Claire says:

    Hello Jens and Mariana,

    Taking college through online is not impossible nowadays. I have heard a lot of Online Universities are now promoting their sites and get the highest ranks in SEO. This blog is really helpful especially to those people who want to promote their school. 🙂

    • jens says:

      Hi Claire,

      I’m really looking forward to launched the blog. It’s going to be in Norwegian though, but hopefully I’ll be able to share the videos with you and I’ll describe them to you 🙂



  17. Brij Taneja says:

    Inbound marketing is one way of providing superior bookkeeping services with a focus on management accounting.

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