Whether you’re running an email campaign or investing in paid search, an effective landing page is essential to converting prospective students. A landing page allows you to collect a range of information from your prospective students in order to successfully target them with content suited to their needs and interests. Utilising a landing page will enable you to determine whether the prospect matches your student persona (more on this later) and help you to market what your institution has to offer, specifically personalised to them.
Here are our top tips for creating an engaging landing page that will not only stand out to your prospective students, but will also convert:
What do you want your landing page to achieve? Is its aim to convert prospective students to enrolled students? Or do you want to provide your audience with more information about your courses by sending them a prospectus? Maybe you want to increase brand awareness and have prospects sign up to receive a regular newsletter?
Whatever your goal, it’s important that you fully define it in order to create the appropriate landing page. It’s a good idea to have an individual landing page for each course as this will allow you to provide more detail and target a more specific audience.
Develop student personas:
Researching and developing student personas will help you to better understand the audience that you need to be targeting. We’re sure that you already have a good understanding of your target student base, but taking the time to map it out in a structured format and having it to hand will enable you to reveal further needs, concerns and interests that you may not have pictured previously.
Your student personas are likely to differ depending on whether they are an undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD student or international student – and within each of those groups there will be multiple personas. When developing a student persona, take into consideration the following points:
- Average Age
- Stage in Education/Highest Obtained Qualification
- Interests – Likes and Dislikes – What’s important to them?
- What problems do they have and what can you do to solve these?
- How do they typically consume information? – Where do they go to find information?
- What sort of content do they engage with?
- Which social networks do they use the most?
- Where do they live? – For example, most undergraduate students travel an average of 91 miles from home to their university.
When you have collected the above information (and more) and formed your persona, use it when creating your landing page. Choose fonts and imagery that are suited and use an offer or call to action that will really appeal to them. Don’t forget to bear in mind that you will have more than just one persona, and for the best results may need to tailor and personalise landing pages according to the personas that you develop.
Keep it simple:
Your landing page is designed to serve one purpose only, so keep it simple and clear. Don’t include lots of call-to-actions or an overwhelming amount of information, one strong CTA will be enough to get you the conversions you desire.
Be consistent. Make sure the layouts, fonts and colours used are the same as the ad that led the visitor to your page to ensure that your brand is consistent and recognisable to prospective students.
Use an intuitive layout. Avoid cluttering the page, include enough whitespace and don’t incorporate too many elements, a simple paragraph of information with a form and one other visual such as an image or video will suffice.
Keep things concise. Give only the most important information, once you have captured the prospects data, you will be able to provide them with further details at a later date. The form that you provide should be quick and easy to fill in, clear on the information that is required and how it will be used and not include too many fields as this may put off visitors.
These are some great examples of clear, simple and easy to use landing pages that we created for Wakefield College and Middlesbrough College. A small amount of detailed information is given, with a form to fill in, making it a quick and easy process to register interest in their institution. The details given within these forms are used to inform future communications and marketing materials sent to the individual and allow them to be completely personalised to the applicant’s interests.
Make use of video:
Enabling visitors to view content that will give them an insight into life at your institution can encourage them to want to learn more. A study by Eye View Digital found that landing pages that include a video are 86% more likely to convert, so if you have a campus tour video, or in-depth course guide with lecturer interviews, be sure to include this on your landing page. If you’re including a video, be sure to avoid adding any other visuals as this can lead to distraction and increase the loading time of the page, which according to the Aberdeen Group can cause a 7% loss in conversions. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have key graphics on there such as your logo, but don’t go adding any unnecessary big images or gifs, etc.
Optimise for SEO:
Now that you’ve created a landing page that is suited perfectly to your target persona and ensured that it is optimised to convert from your paid search initiatives, it would make sense to also try to drive traffic and conversions organically. Research common search terms prospects use when looking to choose their education institution and make use of keywords that work to successfully convert.
Using Google Keywords planner, we have collected search volume data of common search-terms relating to higher education and university:
Entering terms you feel your target audience may use when searching for the right institution for them will bring up a range of similar terms for you to make use of. Take note of the peak times when your audience searches to ensure you’re catering for them at the times they require.
You have to start somewhere, so don’t worry about knowing exactly what your audience is searching for, this is the whole point of keyword research. Conduct regular keyword research and over time you will begin to understand what works for you and what you need to optimise. This may seem like a drawn out process, but it will be worth it.
Once you’ve optimised your landing page and it is live, measuring its performance to see what is proving to be successful and what needs to be reviewed is crucial to keeping those conversions coming in.
Conversion Rates: Tracking conversion rates will enable you to understand whether or not you need to further optimise the page.
A/B Testing: A/B testing can prove very useful when monitoring the success of your landing page, and may come in useful when creating landing pages that are suited to different personas. Although the conversion rate is the metric that you will be most interested in here, it’s also important to measure bounce rates to evaluate what could be causing people to leave your page.
Average Time Spent: The average time spent on the page is another metric that can be useful to understanding whether the content is engaging and useful.
Traffic Sources / Audience Acquisition: Also, take a look at the most common traffic sources used by visitors to better understand where your target personas look for information and determine where you should be placing more time/budget.
Considering these tips, how effective are your current landing pages? Are your conversion rates as high as you would like them to be? Taking action from these tips will help you to stand in better stead amongst the competition. If your landing page is personalised and relevant to your target audience and is consistent with your brand values, potential students will feel they can relate to your institution and encourage them to fill in that form for more information. Make your prospects feel special by tailoring your content to their needs and problems and giving them the solutions they crave.
At Alphagraphics, we specialise in helping higher education institutions to create and deliver end-to-end, data-driven, automated marketing campaigns to improve student recruitment. To find out more, visit: http://education.agnortheast.com/about-us/