At the end of the day we all want the same thing...more students! There have been so many blog posts, articles, and studies done on the best way to increase enrollment, and more often than not the conclusive research is at odds.
This is the part of the story where I tell you that what I have to say is the real truth and that I have finally decided to let you in on the divine revelation I've received on how to increase enrollment at your institution. While I wish I was enlightened and could provide a quick and simple answer for your problems, I can't (at least not today!).
What I CAN do is hone in on one specific way in which I believe you can help increase enrollment, by growing your inquiry pool. The Question: How can you better convert the people that visit your institution's website into inquires?
By creating and optimizing landing pages that ROCK!
For those of you who are thinking to yourself, "Shoot. What are landing pages again?" Allow me to breifly explain. A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form. A good landing page will target a particular audience, therefore, it’s important to build a unique landing page for each of the offers you create. You can build landing pages that allow visitors to download your content offers (more on this later).
Creating landing pages allows you to more effectively achieve your goal of converting a higher percentage of your website visitors into inquires. This is because landing pages make the process of receiving an offer much simpler for your visitors, since they don’t have to navigate your website to find the page they’re looking for.
Right about now some of you are thinking, "This is all great Zach, and I know what a landing page is, but give me some real helpful advice on how to optimize these pages, or I'm going to stop reading this post."
So, without further adieu (and to keep you on my page), here are four tips on how to convert more of your website visitors into inquiries on your landing pages!
1. Make it Clear...Crystal Clear
What do you want them to do? You want them to fill out a form and add them to your inquiry pool! Landing pages done right, are simple and straightforward. Don't crowd these pages with a bunch of images and unnecessary text. As you will see in our "5 Landing Pages that Rock" Guide at the end of this blog post, some of the best landing pages don't even have their main website navigation at the top the page! Believe it or not, sometimes that really helps with the conversion process as it prevents visitors from getting distracted.
Having ONE CRYSTAL-CLEAR call-to-action is absolutely essential to a successful conversion focused landing page. After only five seconds of visiting your page, a visitor should know what it is that you want him/her to do. If you distract them with too many things to do, chances are they won't end up doing anything! Landing pages are not places to tell visitors why your institution is the "perfect fit for them". The fundamental purpose of a landing page is to convert a visitor into an inquiry. If you are offering access to a guide on "How to Afford Private School Education" for example, be sure that the entire landing page is built off of the foundation that you want to get people to download this guide. A title, an image, a LITTLE bit of body text, a form, and a crystal clear call-to-action (CTA) is all you need to create a rockin' landing page.
2. Make it Worth it
Your prospective students are not a bunch of dummies. They know how valuable their information is to you. They know that giving you their contact information means that they can expect to see an email or two (or three or four) from you sometime in the near future about an upcoming open house or event that you would like them to attend. Therefore, it is essential to make whatever it is that you are offering, worth it. Developing student personas, is one way in which you can help segment the content you are offering to best fit the particular needs/interests of your prospects.
If what you are offering is valuable and relevant enough to the needs of the student, they will be willing to take the time to fill out your form and give you their information. So create awesome and valuable content people! Easier said than done, right? Here are some quick examples of the kind of content that a prospective student could see as worth downloading:
- Short videos
- Financial Aid Calculator
- YouTube Live Professor Q&A videos
- Virtual Tours
- Program brochures
For more amazing ideas on the kind of content that is "worth it", read my blog article from last week!
3. Ask the Right Questions
It is important to ask questions that will be helpful for you and your admissions team. If you need more than just their name and email, ask for more than that! Remember that this information will help qualify the visitor as a "great", "good", or "not so good", prospective student. Ask visitors about their biggest challenges and fears about starting college or a graduate program: financial, social, academic stress, time, etc.
Ask if they’d be interested in talking to an admissions counselor or a program director on the phone, in person, or maybe even on a Web Chat application or on Twitter! I'll give you bonus points if you ask what type of content they’d find valuable from a list of four or five topics (that way you can later cater your email marketing approach toward each prospective student!).
BY THE WAY: The amazing-ness of your content, should directly correlate with how many questions, and the type of questions, you ask the visitor. For example, if you are granting them access to watch a short video you've created, you wouldn't want to ask for more than their name, email, and maybe one question about what they are interested in studying. If your offer is something more valuable like an eBook on "10 Things You Should Look for in an Interior Design Program", however, you would want to ask "deeper questions" such as their biggest fear about starting a master's program, where they received their undergraduate degree, and if they are interested in attending an upcoming information session.
All that being said, remember that at the end of the day it is about getting them to convert and become an inquiry. As they move down the Enrollment Management Funnel, you can target them with more specific and relevant content, so don't worry about having the perfect form on your landing page. Be smart! Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, "How much of my information would I be willing to give for (premium content "x")?
4. Give Thanks and Offer More
Thank your visitors for downloading your guide (and giving you their information)! Personalized "thank-you pages", where you thank your latest inquiry by name, are ideal. Like landing pages, thank-you pages must be simple and straightforward. Since this page is a redirect after a form submission, you will usually have the "download premium content offer" button on this page. I know the idea of thank you pages isn't a new one and chances are most of you reading this probably use variable marketing and do a good job of thanking prospective students that give you their information.
But, here's something you may NOT be doing that you really SHOULD be doing. On your thank-you pages, you should offer your inquiries a chance to "go deeper" with you. Since they've already given you the information of theirs that you asked for, it is alright to have more than just the "download" CTA on this page. By adding another CTA on the right-hand side of the page such as "Connect with a Counselor" or "Read a Student's Testimony" you offer these new prospective students the opportunity to learn even more about you!
I hope you found these quick tips helpful! Converting visitors into inquiries is hard and can take time. It can be challenging to decide what questions to ask on forms, how to design your landing pages, and what kind of content you should be creating and offering. Because these concerns are valid, and because we love you, we decided to create a quick fun guide with a few school's who we believe are doing it right. Let us know what you think!
Looking for examples of Institutions that Rock at Creating Landing Pages? Download our latest guide!