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What is your Thanksgiving Wish for MBA Prospects?

(This post was originally published on November 26, 2013 and has been updated for freshness.)

As Americans prepare to gather ’round the table this Thursday, chances are they will be taking part in any number of Thanksgiving traditions. So, which ones are the most popular?

Turkey and football are ranked first and second in the article, “Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions.”

It’s no surprise that the wishbone also makes this list. According to this article, “the tradition of tugging on either end of a turkey bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying ‘wish’ dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. when the Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America.”

Fast forward to modern times and the “wish” can include anything from carving out more time for family and friends, rooting for a favorite college football team, or “fowl-free” travel weather.

What may be more surprising is what MBA students might be wishing at the Thanksgiving table.

Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions and HBS alumna, wrote in her blog article, “Benefits of Starting Your Business School Campaign Now,”:

Almost every student I’ve talked to wishes they could have researched more programs – a hard task when you are also working, trying to write essays, and manage your recommendation process.

My guess (and hope) is that you will be thinking about family and friends during the holiday. However, if thoughts happen to turn to work after a helping (or two) of pumpkin pie, think of how your business school can make more of these wishes come true.

Identify the marketing strategies that can help MBA prospects research more programs – and discover yours!

In the spirit of the holidays, here are essential components of your MBA program’s inbound marketing mix:

Student Personas:

  •  In order to foster a closer connection with candidates, make sure your messaging is tailored to their individual needs, challenges, and goals.
  • Carve out student personas to better understand distinct program audiences.
  • Address demographics, behaviors, habits, educational/work backgrounds, and career goals.
  • A better understanding of needs will inform more compelling messaging that leads to improved enrolment results.

SEO:

Blogs:

  • Blogs are the gift that keeps on giving. Long after you have written a blog post, it continues generate traffic – forever.
  • Blogs help drive traffic to your website by creating another indexed page to show up in search engines and generate new leads.
  • Moreover, blogs help to communicate the personality of your programs. They can showcase alumni success stories, provide social proof points, and reinforce your value proposition for competitive differentiation.
  • Make sure the content both educational and entertaining. Don’t make prospects sleepy like a post-Thanksgiving feast.

Landing Pages

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if prospective students read your marketing collateral and applied that very day?
  • The fact of the matter it often takes months – and even years – to convert a prospect into an applicant.
  • Want to accelerate that timeline? Landing pages enable you to capture prospects who demonstrate interest so you can nurture them and prompt a faster call-to-action.
  • Messaging that is clear and concise along with captivating visuals will influence a busy prospect to want to learn more.
  • Landing pages go hand-in-hand with e-books, advertising campaigns, webinars, etc.

Social Media

  • How are you increasing your numbers of social media followers and boosting engagement?
  • Simple enhancements like tagging photos of current students and alumni on your business school or program Facebook page is the extra gravy to “spread the word” through virtual networks. Also, include hashtags to enable your content to be found on social searches.
  • Conduct research to determine which channels resonate more with your target audience – and don’t spread yourself too thin. Better to focus on a few channels well.
  • Also, think of ways to capture attention of busy candidates. Think of social media traffic like an airport on Thanksgiving Eve, the busiest travel day of the year. What will make your post stand out?

Pay Per Click

Earned Media

  • Earned media is a highly visible way for prospects to gobble up news and benefits of your MBA program.
  • Conduct research to find out what your prospective students are reading.
  • Don’t forget social listening to respond to comments on earned media channels. An otherwise positive article can be impacted by one negative comment. Take the opportunity to build relationships and correct perceptions.

Do you know someone else who can benefit from the ideas in this article? In the spirit of gratitude, go ahead and share it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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