You don’t know Angela. She hasn’t requested information. You haven’t corresponded with her. But one day her application to your school arrives in your in-box, disrupting all of your notions about “the funnel” and traditional prospect management.
Most colleges and universities report that roughly one-third (and growing) of their applicants reveal themselves at the time of application, inhibiting your ability to build relationships and making it incredibly difficult for you to manage yield.
But what if you could get these “hidden suspects” to reveal themselves earlier? What if you could restore at least a portion of the broken funnel?
Content marketing, the “technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience,” is proving to be a very effective way to get suspects to identify themselves and provides a foundation for building relationships well before application.
You begin by going back to your brand. What programs offer both strong proof of brand and strong potential for marketability? You then undertake to curate and distribute (via your website, social media, targeted search, PPC, earned media, etc.) program-relevant content. Over time, your search engine rankings for those programs should begin to show dramatic improvement, and the suspects you want to attract begin to find you.
Offer Value in Your Marketing
Once at your site (or landing page), you offer additional relevant content (an eBook, for example) in return for information on your suspect and for the permission to contact them with additional relevant content. This quid pro quo contract moves you quickly from “selling” to being a trusted source of important information… and puts your suspect squarely in the funnel for further nurturing.
Search No More
Content marketing can also improve the effectiveness of your traditional search process. By taking advantage of targeting programs, such as the College Board’s College Descriptor, you can begin to offer relevant content from your first contact, increasing response rates and building stronger relationships earlier in the process.
To find out more about how an effective content marketing program can take the stealth out of your funnel, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 518-687-1159.