Tools for Content Marketing Success
When I talk to higher ed marketers and enrollment professionals about the promise of content marketing to build enrollment success, I’m consistently met with one objection: “Content marketing is a lot of work, and we’re already short-staffed!” They’re looking at moving from a handful of print pieces focused on their institutional brands to a content portfolio focused on the needs of their prospective students. Fortunately, over the last few years, a number of software platforms (such as HubSpot) have begun to provide systems to help marketers manage and optimize the multitude of tasks involved in producing an effective content marketing program.
The benefits of content marketing and good strategy
So just what kind of advantage accrues to organizations who use these tools? Recently, the Aberdeen Group did a study to determine who content marketing platforms affect, including objectives such as site traffic, leads, and conversions. The study found that best-in-class organizations (i.e., those whose performance ranks in the top 20 percent) are over 80 percent more likely than laggards (those in the bottom 30 percent) to use content marketing software platforms.
They also found significant advantages at every stage of the funnel. Organizations using content management platforms experienced:
- a threefold increase in website traffic,
- 44 percent higher website conversion rates, and
- a whopping 124 percent improvement in their lead-to-close ratios.
It is clear that important and effective content, delivered strategically at key trigger points, helps engage prospects, develops trusting relationships, moves prospects along the funnel, and creates brand preference.
Why content marketing works
Why? Aberdeen offered no answers, but here are my best observations.
- Platforms enforce content marketing as a discipline.
- Platforms create efficiencies through templates, automated work flows, and list management tools.
- Platforms make it easier to optimize results in real time through tracking and reporting.
- Platforms facilitate deployment, syndication, and promotion of content.
- Platforms (generally) have great APIs to link to SIS and CRM systems for closed-loop recruitment.
Sure, on face value platforms are costly. But think about the labor and potential for error in creating Excel worksheets and managing the volumes of content you’ll need to maintain your competitive edge. And just imagine improving your inquiry-to-enroll numbers by 124 percent. Worth it?