What is inbound admissions?

Exploring how inbound methods can transform admissions processes to give the best possible experience to your prospective students.

inbound approach to admissions

As more education providers move towards an inbound approach to their marketing efforts, we explore how inbound methods can transform admissions processes to give the best possible experience to your prospective students.

So, what is the inbound approach?

Inbound marketing is about attracting students (and their parents) by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. It's about solving problems for your customers and personalising their experience with your school or college at every step of their journey with you.

The ultimate purpose of inbound marketing is to attract new prospects, engage them with insightful content and delight them by delivering expert advice, products and services; all without annoying them with traditional interruptive marketing methods.

What does this mean for admissions departments?

The customer experience does not end when a prospect signs up for an open event, or applies to study at your school or college. In many ways, this part of the conversation is the most important as these students are the most serious about their relationship with your organisation.

Frequently, we see a disconnect between marketing and admissions. Often these teams are split and work independently of each other; prospects will come to your website and engage with your content or events, then when they reach a certain point in your process, they are handed to admissions who handle the rest of the journey before that student enrols.

The problem here, is that the prospect is not on two separate journeys - this is one process for them and we need to make sure our communications reflect this.

Here are some top tips for effective inbound admissions:

  • Answer your prospect's questions before they even ask - share frequently asked questions on your website where they can be easily accessed, consider making the experience even easier for your prospects by having a searchable Knowledge Base and automated chat bots to help them find exactly what they are looking for.
  • Have information in multiple places - allow your prospect to find what they need in the way they choose to access it. Too often, we see websites that direct visitors to 'contact us' and do not offer vital admissions information in any other format, this will put some prospects off and could lead to missed opportunities for capturing a student's interest earlier in the journey.
  • Provide value at every stage of the admissions funnel - schools and colleges put a lot of emphasis on the 'bottom of the funnel' (the application and enrolment stages) - which of course is important! But by also focusing on your customer experience at the top and middle of the funnel, you can drive more prospects through the funnel. Consider the content you are sharing at each stage of the funnel and download our free worksheets to plan your content around the questions your prospects are asking.
  • Maintain consistency of communication - one of the big problems with having separate teams for marketing and admissions can be the difference in approach. Offering a consistent approach throughout the admissions journey will delight your prospects and show them how much you value them. If your marketing team are providing branded, regular content updates during the early stages of engagement, then this needs to continue into the admissions stage. Nothing has more potential for damaging relationships with prospects than them applying and then seeing the communication dry up or change in terms of quality.

Get started with inbound admissions

To begin with, we recommend bringing your marketing and admissions teams together and working through our free 'Education Buyer's Journey Worksheets'.

Then, when you know what communications need to happen at every stage of the funnel (initial contact through to enrolment) consider the best tools to facilitate this.

Schools and colleges are using HubSpot to transform their admissions journey with measurable results. We offer education-specific HubSpot demos and advice designed to help education organisations embrace the inbound methodology.

Education Demo

Gemma Price

Gemma Price

Gemma is CEO & Founder of HubGem. Gemma is an expert in HubSpot CRM implementation for schools and non-profits and has experienced first hand the the benefits of using HubSpot within an Independent school.

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