Hi folks,

This is another post in what I intend to be a series of blog type posts on student lead generation for educational institutions.

Today I am focussing on landing pages.  Before I go any further, if you don't read on, take a couple of minutes to watch the video I have attached below.  It provides a really good, simple explanation of what to think about when designing a landing page for your courses. Hats off to the team at Retargeter for putting it together.

Ok, so what is a landing page exactly?  Landing pages are pages which are designed with the specific purpose of converting visitors to your website to leads or enrolments, rather than just browsers of content or courses. The key question here - and hence the title of this post - is what do you want the visitor to do?  Most often for educational institutions the desired "conversion" will be the prospective student submitting their details in an online form, or calling you, so that they become part of your sales/enrolment funnel.

The quality of your landing page can have a huge impact on the number of leads that you generate from your online marketing efforts and dollars.

Most online marketing experts agree that the most effective landing pages are those that:
1. adopt a  streamlined/clean design
2. include a single call-to-action
3. contain minimal other distractions.

If you want your visitors to complete an action, you need to make it as easy for them to do it.  Critical here is keeping your landing pages minimalist, with sufficient copy, images, or videos to make your case (and no more) and a single call-to-action. Keeping the flow as simple as possible can reduce the chance that visitors will get distracted from the primary call-to-action.

The vast majority of educational institutions do not optimise their landing pages.  The general approach is to have a contact form buried in the institution's main website, coupled with the hope that a potential student will somehow find it and complete it having first found and carefully reviewed comprehensive course information which is kept somewhere else on the website.  Sure that approach will generate some leads, but the main outcome will be the loss of many, many more.

If you’re using your website instead of a dedicated landing page, visitors’ browsing experiences are likely to be less directly relevant to their goals. The last thing you want is qualified potential buyers to bounce because they couldn’t find exactly the course information they were looking for.  A good landing page avoids this problem by corresponding directly to the information provided at the referral point (i.e the source that directed the visitor to your site - this could be a banner ad, google adwords ad, or YouTube video etc).

Right, so I have talked a lot about the importance of keeping your landing pages simple.  However asking someone to fill out a lead form also requires their trust.  If you want someone to hand over their information in a lead form, you must first establish trust.

The potential risk with very simple, minimalist landing pages is that they may seem too much like a landing page and not enough like your institution’s website.  If you are not careful you can lose the connection between the landing page and your website and ultimately the trust that your brand carries with it. You want a landing page to be much more focused (and in that sense, very different from your website) but you could run into trouble if you’re not dedicated to maintaining consistency.

Landing pages should always be an accurate reflection of your brand.  The branding, colors, and feel should mirror those of your full website. Creating a highly branded and visually appealing landing page can help to remove and concerns that a visitor might have around submitting personal information.

In addition, landing pages can benefit from content that establishes trust, such as a case study or client testimonial, a video, or an education industry trust symbol (eg British Council).

The challenge for institutions when creating landing pages is to keep it simple and lead the visitor directly toward the desired action, while including enough content to convince them that they should.   Ultimately there is no right answer to what and how much information to include in your landing pages. The real answer is to test your landing pages to determine what does work based on hard data rather than gut feel.

If you want to find out more about landing page optimisation and how it can help you generate more student leads, please get in touch.  We can also work with you to implement really effective lead generation strategies that incorporate all of the ideas above.



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