Are you wondering why your school isn’t receiving the same number of website visitors or online inquiries as your competitors? It’s time to take a critical look at your school website. Whether you are trying to improve your school’s position in search results or trying to decrease the drop off rate on your inquiry forms, your website is expected to meet standard user experience expectations. All marketing and communication efforts, even offline methods like print, lead back to your school website. There’s no true way to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts if your website is falling short.
Let’s explore ways to improve your website experience and increase marketing performance:
There are an estimated 61 million people with disabilities in the United States. School website accessibility is a federal regulation under The American Disabilities Act (ADA), yet many schools are still unclear about what the actual standards and requirements are for website ADA compliance. Schools all over the nation are falling short of creating a website that is fully accessible by all users. Not only does this put schools at risk of lawsuits, but it leaves out an entire demographic of students.
If your school’s brand message is all about diversity and inclusion but your website isn’t accessible for all people, your school’s message becomes instantly meaningless. Don’t lose credibility because your website administrators aren’t following the regulations or taking user expectations into account.
Your outreach efforts are only as strong as your database. If you’re looking to increase the number of emails in your database, consider adding downloadable content to your website that requires an email to access. Some families are in the very beginning stages of research and financial planning so they might not be ready to fill out a full inquiry form just yet. Downloadable content is a way to get more families into your admissions funnel during the early research phase of the customer journey. This content can be in the form of:
- View Books
- Other eBooks
- Exclusive Videos
Dedicated Landing Pages
The goal of any school’s outbound communication plan should be to lead traffic to your website. To ensure this new traffic stays engaged and takes action on your website, your outbound communication should lead to very specific landing pages.
A landing page is a single web page that displays a sales message which serves as an extension of the advertisement, search result or targeted email.
The goal of a landing page is to keep your target audience engaged long enough to take action towards the next phase of your admissions funnel. Each phase of your admissions funnel has a unique goal and your landing pages should reflect those goals. Each landing page should have a specific call-to-action in mind rather than giving them all the information at once. This creates a distraction-free environment for your target audience to progress at a pace more comfortable for them.
News & Events
The best way to increase and maintain strong community engagement is to be transparent and authentic about what’s happening around campus. If your school is already sending regular newsletter updates to your current families and alumni, you can put that same content up on your website as news posts. There’s nothing wrong with using the same content on multiple platforms. In fact, it creates a seamless experience for your target audience in case they missed it on another platform.
This may seem like common knowledge by now but your website needs to be fully responsive across all devices and internet browsers. Many school websites are still failing to meet user experience expectations this year. Your target audience can reach your website from several different entry points - a quick google search on the go, killing time by browsing social media or clearing out their inbox when they have a free moment during the day.
You are not guaranteed your audience will only find you in front of their laptop or desktop. In fact, nearly 60% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. With intuitive navigation, a responsive design, and engaging content that's easy to interact with, your school will create an impressive and seamless experience throughout the admissions journey.
Blue Baden is the only marketing and strategy consulting company specifically designed to meet the needs of boarding schools. Build your next website with Blue Baden today.