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M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
The IMR Story
Our Unique Approach to
Inbound Marketing for
Higher Education
The IMR Story // 2
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Table of Contents
How We Got Here.....................................
The IMR Story // 3
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
The IMR Story
At Innovative Marketing Resources (IMR), our team of ...
The IMR Story // 4
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
School marketers have observed that prospective students are spendi...
The IMR Story // 5
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
The strategy we came up with evolved by observing the way prospects...
The IMR Story // 6
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Step 2: Discovery call
During this meeting we will dig deeper into ...
The IMR Story // 7
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Step 4: Strategy Development (6-8 weeks)
It is important that we ca...
The IMR Story // 8
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Step 5: Building the Inbound Marketing Engine (6-8 weeks)
If you do...
The IMR Story // 9
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Step 6: The Monthly Retainer (Adding Gas and Making Sure the Engine...
The IMR Story // 10
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Step 7: Long-term Relationship (The Rocket Fuel Stage)
You may hav...
The IMR Story // 11
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Our Technology Partner: HubSpot
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing...
The IMR Story // 12
M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S
Commitments and Pricing
To be clear, our services are for schools ...
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  1. 1. M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S The IMR Story Our Unique Approach to Inbound Marketing for Higher Education
  2. 2. The IMR Story // 2 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Table of Contents How We Got Here.....................................................3 The Content Marketer’s Blueprint............................4 Working With Us: What to Expect............................5 Why We Use Hubspot.............................................11 Our Commitments and Pricing...............................12
  3. 3. The IMR Story // 3 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S The IMR Story At Innovative Marketing Resources (IMR), our team of marketing strategists, content experts, designers, and developers is 100 percent focused on one thing: Helping private schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education achieve their enrollment goals. We have refined our inbound marketing methodology over years and through successful engagements helping schools like yours attract new prospective students to their websites and nurturing those students to the point of being ready to engage with your admissions team. Our mission is to build for our clients sustainable automated admissions engines that deliver high-quality prospects, build reputations, and create a growing applicant pool. This unique methodology, which we call the Content Marketer’s Blueprint, didn’t come from a textbook or marketing guru and didn’t emerge overnight. How Did We Get Here? For some time now, the traditional methods of higher education marketing have been losing effectiveness. Direct mail, email campaigns using purchased lists, telemarketing, billboards, print advertising and college fairs are all meant to disseminate a school’s message as broadly as possible in hopes of triggering a response from a prospective student at the exact moment that he or she is ready to apply. The most significant change in the marketplace in the past few years has been the explosion of information readily accessible and searchable by anyone on the Internet. Potential students and their parents now have the ability to do their own research and comparison shop without the need to interact with anyone on the admissions team. Your prospects are learning about your school through their own means.
  4. 4. The IMR Story // 4 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S School marketers have observed that prospective students are spending more time online researching schools themselves and do not want to be contacted by anyone until they are good and ready to consider a school. Studies indicate that that anywhere from 33% to 50% of a school’s applicant pool can be considered “stealth applicants.” That’s where inbound marketing comes in. Rather than relying on traditional tactics to flood prospective applicants with unwanted information, inbound marketing uses educational online content that attracts potential students with useful information about the questions they have. So the challenge has become how to create great content, how to connect with prospects that are searching for that content, and how to nurture the interest of these leads to the point that they are ready to engage with admissions or apply. A Blueprint Comes Together At IMR, we were enthusiastic early adopters of the inbound marketing philosophy, but in our early client engagements, what we sold was transactional marketing services: blogging, web page content development, email nurturing campaigns, website design services, landing page and call- to-action creation and implementation, marketing analytics, and so on. We soon realized that, while each of these services can play a critical role in an inbound marketing campaign, they are most effective sustaining a strong and growing applicant pool when they’re working together according to a carefully planned strategy. Blogging without lead nurturing, for example, doesn’t help increase applications.
  5. 5. The IMR Story // 5 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S The strategy we came up with evolved by observing the way prospects engaged with content using a platform called HubSpot. We called our strategy the Content Marketer’s Blueprint. What this blueprint builds is an automated sales engine, an online reflection of our clients’ offline admissions process, designed to move prospects smoothly through the admissions funnel, from just starting their college search to a readiness to apply. The fuel that drives this engine is content: written, visual, audio and video material that attracts students and their parents. Every inbound marketer recognizes the need to create content, but what many of them struggle with is the most effective content to create and how to use it on their website. We’ve gotten over that hurdle. We’ve learned exactly what type of content works for prospective students that are aware of their problems and are searching for helpful information, what type of content helps students identify and consider potential schools, and what type of content helps students to submit an application. Working with IMR: What to Expect Before you consider partnering with us to increase your applicant pool, we need to create a plan together, a complete blueprint showing how your school’s offline admissions process can be modeled online using content, and how your prospective students can be attracted to that admissions engine with helpful information. This is the first step in our process no matter what. Step 1: Introductory call The purpose of this 30- 45 minute call is to understand your admissions goals and objectives. We want to use this time to learn about your school and what makes it unique. We will talk about your current marketing activities, results, goals and challenges. We will share how inbound marketing activities can be a vital part of your marketing plan.
  6. 6. The IMR Story // 6 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Step 2: Discovery call During this meeting we will dig deeper into the marketing goals and objectives that we covered during the introductory call. We will work together to capture your insights about your ideal students’ problems, what questions they will ask when confronted with these problems, and how to answer these questions. We will also spend some time to understand your current admissions process. This exercise is designed to give us a clear understanding of your target student persona(s) and the process this persona goes through to make an application decision. This discovery call takes about an hour. Step 3: Proposal Presentation We take the information we learned during our two calls and create an inbound marketing proposal for your school. While there is no “on-size-fits-all” solution, there are three consistent components of an IMR proposal: strategy development, building the inbound marketing engine, and analysis/refinement. The proposal includes the goals of our strategic relationship (i.e., measure and improve ROI of current marketing spend, increase qualified applicant pool, gain visibility into the online enrollment pipeline, etc.). Proposal accepted and engagement with IMR starts
  7. 7. The IMR Story // 7 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Step 4: Strategy Development (6-8 weeks) It is important that we can clearly articulate your school’s value proposition. What differentiates your school from other schools? As part of this process, it is critical that we understand the process students and their families use for evaluating your school and their other educational options. We use the process of creating student personas to help shed some light on this journey. Once we identify how decisions to apply are made, we can create a content marketing plan that will demonstrate how content will satisfy the prospective students’ and their families’ need for information at each stage of the research and evaluation process. The Content Marketer’s Blueprint™ will identify the specific assets needed to meet students’ and their families’ need for information. This content could come in the form of blog posts, eBooks, infographics, presentations, and videos. Here are some examples of recommendations that will be delivered as part of this plan: • Blog article titles • Premium content titles • Testimonial subjects • Automated emails • Marketing automation recommendations
  8. 8. The IMR Story // 8 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Step 5: Building the Inbound Marketing Engine (6-8 weeks) If you don’t have an engine that can turn website visitors into qualified applicants, all of your marketing investments will be underused. After completing the strategic work, our next critical task is to build the inbound marketing engine using your school’s Content Marketer’s Blueprint as a guide. Once your engine is built, we will begin to add the gas (consistent content production) that will attract leads and make your engine run. Our activity during this phase of implementation will include: 1. Creation of three premium content offers (whitepapers, eBooks, or special offers) that will be used to provide valuable information that helps prospective students identify their problems and potential solutions. Each content offer package includes: • An interview by our content manager with you or someone else from marketing and/or admissions. • Outline development with one round of revisions. • Content creation (up to 2,000 words) with up to three rounds of revisions. 2. Development of content offers that focus on the value and advantages of your school and its programs over those of other schools. 3. Development of offers that connect potential applicants with the admissions team to help them make a final decision. 4. Creation of automated email workflows that nurture the student through these different pieces of content, moving them closer to a campus tour and a conversation with an admissions counselor. 5. Website work, ranging from optimizing existing web pages to a complete website redesign. We will also design and implement the on-page assets you need to put the plan into action: • Creation of three call-to-action (CTA) buttons with one round of revisions. • Landing page copy and implementation with one round of revisions. • Thank you page development.
  9. 9. The IMR Story // 9 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Step 6: The Monthly Retainer (Adding Gas and Making Sure the Engine Runs Correctly) After your engine is built, we will add gas (blogging) to attract and engage your student persona(s). You can expect to see a clear positive trend in website visitors, leads and quality of leads coming through the engine. The most important aspect of this phase however, is that all of our activity, including the content and distribution methods will be measured comparatively against other marketing investments you might be making. The data gathered by IMR during this time period will be used to make regular improvements to the inbound engine, the content being used to attract potential applicants and the distribution methods that spread the reach of the content. Once we have gathered three months of “closed-loop-analytics” (meaning IMR understands which activities contribute most to the application process) strategic investments can be made to scale results without wasting money on activities that produce poor quality leads. Monthly retainer services can include: • Blogging, minimum of two posts per week to attract potential applicants and gather subscribers. • Automated email maintenance to increase engine performance • Weekly update meetings. • Monthly performance reports revealing lead quality and trends • Social media coordination. • Website maintenance and support. • Education and training for your internal marketing teams.
  10. 10. The IMR Story // 10 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Step 7: Long-term Relationship (The Rocket Fuel Stage) You may have noticed that traditional online marketing tactics like pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising and other (paid) sources of traffic were not mentioned in earlier stages of working with us. We believe that these activities play a strategic role for schools using inbound marketing to grow their business, but without hard evidence (data) to guide these investments, they can be questionable in value. These types of investments should be considered as “rocket fuel,” used only to scale the inbound engine, and not as a replacement for underperformance. The Analogy: First, build your engine. Then, make sure the engine runs with regular gas. What happens if you put gas into an engine that isn’t built yet? Once you are confident that your engine is running efficiently, you can invest in some rocket fuel. Without testing the engine first, rocket fuel can quickly get expensive and out of control. Automated Marketing Technology: An Inbound Essential An investment in automated marketing software is absolutely necessary to get the most out of your inbound marketing engine. The right marketing software package for you will vary depending on your needs and budget. For many of our clients, we recommend using HubSpot.
  11. 11. The IMR Story // 11 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Our Technology Partner: HubSpot HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing automation software suite that provides all the tools required to run an effective online marketing program. Enabled by HubSpot, we can be more efficient and effective, delivering more services and greater results in less time and cost to you. HubSpot’s tools include: Don’t worry, the technology platform will be managed by IMR’s team of experts, and your Content Marketer’s Blueprint will show you exactly how each tool will be used to develop and manage your inbound marketing engine. • A content optimization system • Social media management • A blogging platform • Prospect/lead intelligence • A landing page creator • A lead management system • Keyword analysis • E-mail marketing • Competitor analysis • Lead nurturing • A link grader • Complete marketing analytics • A page grader • CRM integration
  12. 12. The IMR Story // 12 M A R K E T I N G R E S O U R C E S Commitments and Pricing To be clear, our services are for schools that are serious about using inbound marketing to gain visibility into the online enrollment pipeline to increase the qualified applicant pool, so the commitment is significant. But, think about it this way: If the alternative is building up your own in-house marketing team, a strategic partnership with our agency will probably be more affordable—and you’ll have access to proven inbound marketing expertise. The annual cost of working with IMR to implement and manage your inbound marketing engine (software included) should be compared to a full-time equivalent marketing manager ($55,000 to $90,000 per year). Here’s an idea of what a partnership with us might cost. Keep in mind these price ranges are averages based on our previous and current client engagements. We’d be happy to discuss pricing with you once we know more about your school and marketing plans. • Development of your Student Personas and Content Marketer’s Blueprint: $5,000 • “Build the engine” Onboarding project (months 1 and 2): $8,000 to $12,000 total cost • “Gas for the engine” Monthly retainer: $4,500 to $6,000 • Automated marketing software commitment: $1,000/month (HubSpot) Take the Next Step Click the button to the right to contact IMR to discuss our success and failures during an introductory phone call. Click Here to Start an Introductory Call With IMR

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