Most higher education landing pages have one job – to capture qualified prospective student information. Everything on the page should contribute to this goal. If it doesn’t, you should question its inclusion. JMH has reviewed, built, and tested dozens of landing pages for schools across the U.S. and Canada. Below are our 7 best practices to creating effective landing pages.
1. Navigation Matters!
Many schools create landing pages that include the generic university navigation bar at the top. Landing page experts call these “leaky” pages. Such navigation is confusing and often leads prospective students away from your program and away from your department. We recommend removing all navigation, but if that isn’t possibly, at least remove links that are not specific to your program and your department.
2. Have a compelling offer
You want to capture prospective student information, but do your prospects have a reason to provide that information on your landing page? Are you providing something of value in return? If not, your landing page will have a hard time converting visitors into leads. Make a compelling offer – a digital information packet; access to an on-demand video, or free information about the industry/occupation. Use clear calls to action so visitors know where to provide their contact information and tell them what they’ll get in return.
3. Focus on key differentiators and benefits
The higher education marketplace is competitive. Tell prospective students why your program is the best choice and what differentiates it from others. Help them understand how the program will benefit their life. Focus on key differentiators and give them a reason to continue the conversation with you.
4. Capture their Information
If a person ends up viewing your landing page, there is a good chance they are a qualified prospect. That landing page must have a way for them to contact you to continue the conversion. Include a Client Relationship Management system form (or any type of form that can capture their information) so you can make a follow up call and send them an email. This may sound obvious, but some schools don’t embed their forms, relying on visitors to click a link to another page before being able to complete an inquiry form.
5. But, Don’t Ask for Too Much Information
Knowing who you’re talking to is important, but you’re just starting this relationship, so don’t ask for too much. Ideally, only ask for three things – their name, phone number, and email. You’ll have the chance to learn more about them as the “conversation” progresses.
6. Be a good sport…allow visitors to bypass the page
Needless to say, some people will want to learn more about your program or department before they sign up. As tempting as it is to force them to sign-up on the landing page, that doesn’t align with most college and university brands. Most schools choose to allow visitors to skip the landing page and jump to more information on the department site and we usually recommend this approach.
7. Use engaging images that relate to your message
Done well, landing pages capture attention and encourage the visitor to learn more. Therefore, pictures are important. Typically, pictures of people (and yes, attractive people…this IS marketing, after all) best achieve this. Even better are genuine pictures of people happily working in the industry corresponding to your program. Trustmarks, quotes, certifying bodies, and highlighted statistics can also be used as compelling images that build confidence in the program. And, of course, your school logo should be prominently featured.
The most effective landing pages are customized to your paid search, paid social, and display ads. For example, if you are promoting a Paralegal program and someone searches on becoming a paralegal, your landing page will be more effective if it has statistics and information on the paralegal occupation and how to become a paralegal as well as information about your program. Consider creating several landing pages with different messages and content so you can direct each prospect to a page with information relevant to their point in the decision cycle.
If you have questions about building an effective landing page, please contact us at 404-965-4107 or email Nicole Foerschler Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org.