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Here's What Enrollment Managers Need to Understand About Conversion Rate Optimization

Posted By Zach Busekrus on 4/21/17 10:28 AM

Read Time: 3 Minutes

optimization.jpgImagine you just opened a men’s clothing store. You have quite a few visitors but sales aren’t as high as you’d like. You put up ads all over town to get more customers to come in to your store, but what you really need to focus on is how to get your existing customers to buy clothes from your store.

This is conversion rate optimization in a nutshell: the practice of getting the most out of your website’s existing traffic. If you want to really attract promising potential students, don’t just look at getting more web traffic. Optimizing your website to get the best possible response from your current visitors will be much more effective for your long-term recruitment strategy.

Establishing conversion goals is crucial to your marketing strategy

Because there’s so much you can do in terms of CRO, having some key steps to take and goals in mind is going to be critical. But before you jump right in and develop a killer CRO plan, take some time to define what a conversion is to you. For some schools, a conversion might be the submission of an online application, while for others it may be contacting a school admissions counselor or simply spending a certain amount of time on a webpage.

Once you’ve defined your conversion goal, you can start creating a plan to reach that conversion goal. Here, it’s a good idea to take a look at your conversions and see the path they’ve followed to become a conversion--the steps they took to arrive at your conversion goal. Did many of them start on a blog post that they’d seen on Facebook? Maybe there’s a common page they visited right before your conversion goal page. Tracking this data will help you know what’s working, what’s not, and which pages to focus on in your conversion rate optimization plan.

How to structure your website for conversion rate optimization

Figuring out what works best for your website’s CRO may include some trial and error at first. Don’t hesitate to test out A/B versions of different landing pages to see which get more conversions. You may notice a certain demographic of user responds differently than another demographic for certain pages; track and analyze this information in your test runs to see which pages get the most traffic and the quality of traffic you’re looking for.

Keep in mind that your web visitors have a certain desire in mind when they view your site. If you can pinpoint that desire and make it easily achievable, you’ll get more conversions in the long run. If visitors go to the admissions page because they want to speak with an admissions officer, maybe you could install a message feature on that page of your website. Or if you have some pretty high-volume pages, try adding a chat capability and offering to help your web visitors find what they’re looking for.

Blogs play an important role in your school’s CRO

Blogs offer an important gateway to your website, and knowing how to utilize them effectively is a great tool for your CRO plan. To promote clickthroughs from your blog to your website, stay away from the traditional banner call to action, and try either a lead flow or a text-based CTA. Lead flows are pop-up or slide-down boxes/banners that prompt a certain action, while text-based CTAs look less “clickbait-y” than traditional banners and are often not as overlooked as banners.

Another easy thing you can do to optimize your website’s conversion rate is to re-vamp some blog posts that are already getting a lot of traffic, but aren’t seeming to help your conversion goals very much. Try to use those posts to link visitors back to your website using clear calls to action and relevant content.

Developing and executing a CRO plan may seem a bit daunting at the start, but it’s worth it in the long run. Gather and analyze data from from your web traffic patterns and well-performing pages and blog posts and let that guide you down the path of conversion rate optimization. A successful CRO plan will not only get you more conversions from your current traffic, but will also help keep your conversion rates high in the years to come.

Are you in enrollment admissions looking to better understand and implement a content nurturing workflow strategy? If so, we invite you to do download our resource: The Essential Guide to Content Nurturing Workflows for Enrollment Marketing!

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Topics: Enrollment Management, Enrollment Marketing

About the Higher Ed Marketer

This blog is dedicated to sharing best practices, trends and case studies for the marketing of higher education. Our content is developed out of our partnerships with both undergraduate and graduate enrollment management professionals, as well as those who specialize in higher ed marketing and communications designed for student recruitment.

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