So much effort in higher education marketing is focused on strategies to get prospective students to come to your school’s website. That focus, while important, often stops short of looking at how to get prospects to then take an action once they’re actually on the site.
Conversion rate optimization (or CRO) focuses on testing and tweaking webpages in order to constantly improve their marketing performance. And we have seen firsthand that CRO for higher education can produce big gains in converting prospects to inquiries, applicants, or enrollments. If you’re feeling like your student acquisition marketing is generating web traffic, but something is being missed once prospects arrive on your site, implementing some CRO best practices may unlock a better level of performance. Here are three ways to make your EDU website or landing pages more successful in enrollment marketing efforts.
Simplify Lead Capture Opportunities
Researching potential schools is a major undertaking for prospective students. It is time-consuming and often involves outreach and communication with multiple places. More than one-third of students are now applying to seven or more schools, and most apply to at least three.
With this type of approach to higher ed research, you can’t put too much work or too many obstacles in front of a prospective student. No one wants to navigate a difficult, lengthy form just to get more information when they’ve already done the same at three other websites. CRO tactics for higher ed forms are one of the quickest ways to increase your site performance.
Keep lead capture/inquiry forms simple and limited to only the most pertinent information required to lead to a follow-up conversation. If it’s not an official application, you don’t need to collect every bit of info. Leave discussions with admissions reps for that! Also consider splitting the form into two parts. Have basic information fields first, and if someone submits those then display a few final questions. This cuts down on how much space on the page a form takes up and makes it look less intimidating for someone to fill out.
Consider Mobile Design First
Mobile is dominating when it comes to web behaviors these days. Studies show that mobile now makes up more than half of all world wide web traffic and is poised to grow. Meaning if you run any digital campaigns for student acquisition, you’re going to be sending a large amount of mobile device users to your website with the hopes of converting them into leads or applicants.
Based on that, if your school’s webpage isn’t set up to act perfectly on mobile, you will be turning off a majority of visitors right away. Optimizing a school’s website for mobile goes beyond having a responsive design. Eliminate large video takeovers that may look flashy on desktop screens but can slow down mobile devices or hog data, simplify forms so they don’t require extensive scrolling, and make sure the most impactful messaging and call-to-action is at the top of the page above the fold on smaller screens.
Adjust to the Times
COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on higher ed and on enrollment marketing, and that impact will be felt for a long time. It has changed how prospective students seek out education, and what information they look for from a school.
With so many questions about re-opening plans, online learning options, financial aid, and more, your school needs to put COVID-related information front and center for prospects to find. Any landing page or microsite designed to convert users into leads or applicants should feature COVID-19 response information in a visible, easily accessed way. Don’t use the entire page to do it – you need to leave room for general selling points, lead capture forms, and visuals. But a couple bullet points in the top sections of a landing page, or a clear button stickied in the header to learn more detail about your school’s COVID-19 response and plans will be a big help. What you don’t want is for a prospect to arrive on a great landing page from a well-optimized enrollment marketing campaign, only to immediately head into your website or search features seeking out scattered pandemic information. They’ll be dozens of pages away from the desired conversion-centric landing page before you know it.
There is no such thing as a perfect website for higher ed marketing. There can always be tests and tweaks made to generate additional engagement, lead capture, and enrollments. Curious how Statwax works to optimize our client’s web experiences to hit enrollment goals? Get in touch with us today!