Your website is the virtual front gate into your school or college and, often, the first point of contact for prospective students. We look further at how to use it effectively to convert those virtual visitors into real-life student enrolments.
It's no good having a beautifully developed website if no one can find it. Ensure your website is easy to find by optimising your content with key words, topic clusters and pillar pages. If you have a clearly defined content strategy with engaging content that your visitors will love, then search engine optimisation (SEO) will make sure that you are appearing in all the right places.
Know your students
Understanding your target audience is key. Create buyer personas representative of your ideal student (or families, if they are the decision makers). Use these personas to help you build an effective strategy and message that resonates with your prospects. Think about who influences your persona, where they get their information and what their priorities are.
A clear picture of prospective students' specific needs and behaviours helps you to create targeted content, improve retention rates and grow your enrolments.
Easy on the eyes and to navigate
With a website often being the first interaction a prospect has with your organisation, it is crucial that their visit to your site creates a good first impression. Make sure that every aspect of your site is on-brand and try to look at your site through the eyes of your prospective student.
Think about the questions your prospects will want answering during their visit and adapt the layout and information so that the answers are easy to find. Avoid large, clunky menu systems that hide your best content under layers of menus.
If you have spent a lot of time looking at your website, it can be a good idea to get someone with a fresh pair of eyes to look at it and give you their feedback. Especially if you can find someone who matches your ideal prospect!
We offer a free consultation for schools and colleges which includes an initial website audit. Find out more.
Gain trust and buy-in through valuable, easy to access content
Use your website wisely and establish your organisation as 'thought-leaders' in your area of specialism. Offer your website visitors value with informative content that generates interest at every stage of the funnel - not just targeting those who are ready to enrol.
Make sure that there are multiple ways that your visitors can find the information that they need, pillar pages full of information can be linked to from live chat, giving your visitors the best experience.
A great way to make sure that visitors can find what they are looking for is to introduce an FAQs area (even better if this is a searchable Knowledge Base!), this will help to fill in the gaps of your visitor's knowledge.
Lead capture forms
Once your visitor is on your site, make sure you are capturing their information and converting them into leads efficiently. Consider gating some of your content behind a simple lead capture form, this is especially useful for high-value information or publications such as ebooks, downloadable content or prospectuses.
Remember forms come in many shapes, sizes and lengths. From pop-up forms gathering name and email address only, to simple blog subscription forms and longer bottom-of-funnel forms for those ready to start their enrolment journey.
We have written our very own ebook on lead generation for education which goes into much more detail on this. Download our free ebook: The Beginner's Guide to Generating inbound Leads in Education.
Move visitors along the buyer's journey
Once you start gathering information about your prospects through lead capture forms and analytics/cookie tracking, you can start to tailor the content they receive. We delve deeper into using a crm for education here.
Use information about your prospects interests to send relevant content and nurture them throughout their journey with you. With personalised emails specific their needs, students can be carefully moved along your sales (admissions) funnel... better yet, automate a workflow to do it for you!
Report, review, repeat!
When you have all of the above elements of an effective website, it is important to continue to analyse the ongoing performance. Dig into your analytics and see where your visitors are leaving your site and where they are converting, use your insight to check that your site is answering your visitor's questions at the right point in the journey and place clear call-to-actions on pages where your lose traffic.
The key to a successful school or college website is to continually report and review.
As marketing and technology continues to evolve faster than ever, make sure to stay up to date with the latest news and updates on how changes will impact education marketing and admissions teams. Subscribe to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
There has never been a better time to set your school apart from the competition. Contact us to find out more about how HubGem can drive your marketing efforts forward.