What is frustrating for so many marketing professionals in higher education is the realisation that it is one thing taking a horse to water and a totally different proposition making it drink. There is plenty of help out there from specialist agencies and media proprietors who are adept at identifying and accessing your target audience. This will ensure that you get plenty of appropriate traffic to your university or college website but, at the end of the day, what you and your employers are interested in is the level of actual conversions and return on marketing spend.
Let’s face it, the proof of success for every education marketing strategy is not how many hits your website gets or how many people are talking favourably about your college on forums and other social media channels. What really counts when calculating ROI is the percentage of prospective students responding to a call to action on your website’s landing page and not simply bouncing off at the speed of light. This is why further education marketing strategies need to focus more on conversion rates.
It’s largely immaterial where your prospects come from; what is important is their user-journey and what happens when they reach that fork in the road which is your landing page. You really need to stack everything in your favour when it comes to the impact that your landing page is going to have. As it sits outside the main architecture of your website, it doesn’t cost much in terms of cash and effort to test several alternative formats until you reach optimal conversion rates.
When a student arrives on your landing page, much of the heavy lifting work has already been done – your prospect is on the hook. Don’t give him or her any excuse whatsoever to just take a nibble at your bait and then quickly wriggle free. This is bound to happen if the student feels let down and disappointed by the level of engagement received once the page has been reached. If he or she is confused by too much clutter in the shape of links and engagement points, then this will distract your prospect from the main purpose of your whole campaign- seeing a clear call to action and responding to it.
Where many an education marketing strategy breaks down is by spending far too much time and money on attracting an audience and not focusing nearly enough on the conversion process. Adobe’s web analytics arm, Omniture, estimates that a properly optimised landing page can boost the final conversion rate of a campaign by at least 25%. The inescapable message is that testing and re-testing a variety of different page formats should eventually deliver the best results.
This post was brought to you in association with 360 Education who are education marketing specialists dedicated to helping educational institutions with their education marketing strategies.