It’s no secret that Gen Z is online now more than ever. Why not take advantage of this and use your school’s website to offer valuable content that meets their needs?
If your website layout is too cluttered or unorganized Gen Z students may not be interested. Preparing your website for the virtual world, in terms of content and presentation, will improve your relationship with prospective students and their families now and in the future. To target and engage a Gen Z audience and their parents implement the following tactics to update your website and virtual events.
1. Simplify the navigation.
Create a clear and focused homepage.
- Don’t jam all of your content into the homepage. Make clear tabs and pillar pages based on importance. If web viewers aren’t able to gain a clear image of your school and community from the homepage, they may not be compelled to browse through any of your other pages. Keep it simple!
Organize all of your content clearly on single pages.
- The more you redirect web page viewers, the more complicated and frustrating the reprocess can be for finding the information they are looking for. When possible, keep the most relevant information towards the top of web pages. If you’re having trouble reducing your pages, think about how each page can be broken down into subtopics, and consider moving information to a more condensed subtopic page.
Make admissions inquiries easily accessible.
- Clearly explain the admissions processes with details on how to get information, all admissions criteria, timelines, checklists, etc. If someone wants to contact admissions at your school, it should be easy for them to access an email, inquiry form or a page that may answer their question. Include email addresses and short forms on all admissions-related pages to ensure that prospective families are able to access admissions contacts easily and quickly.
Use event calendars for school-related events.
- Create two separate calendars that highlight admissions-related events and school-specific events. This way visitors can see what events they can attend through admissions, but also what type of events the school may normally host. It is important to allow people to register for events through these pages as well.
Include calls-to-action on the admissions page for applicants.
- You want web visitors to take action! When you tell viewers what you want them to do and associate those actions with relevant links and buttons, you’re more likely to get the results you want from the page. Use calls-to-action like “Learn More,” “Click Here,” “Download Now,” to drive the viewer to more information on a separate page.
Include social channels on the page footer.
- Putting links to your social media allows for visitors to further engage with your school may help them see a different view from your school than on your website.
Consider mobile devices and other platforms.
- Once you make your website edits, be sure to take a look on mobile devices. It’s impossible to know how people will view your web pages, so it is crucial that your website flows well on web browsers, apps, mobile devices and all platforms.
2. Tell your school’s story.
What makes your school different?
- Any information that sets you apart, makes you unique or will offer students an experience like no other, should be front and center on your webpages. Remember, the website needs to be functional and convince the visitor to apply to your school.
Make your website flow and tell a story.
- Think like an author writing a book. To generate ongoing interest, provide calls to action, links redirecting viewers to other pages, information, forms, etc. You don’t want to flood the visitor with information, so each web page should serve a distinct purpose. If pages seem too information-heavy, consider breaking them up with photographics, videos and infographics that tell a story about your school.
Show your school’s true colors across all digital platforms.
- Display your school’s identity, mission and value proposition clearly throughout the branding on your website, social media, newsletters and all affiliated platforms and assets. This includes customized Zoom backgrounds.
Include COVID-19 response information.
- Showing families that you care about your students and have a structure in place for handling unforeseen circumstances can have a great impact on how others view your school. Highlight what your school has done best to protect your students and prepare for upcoming challenges.
Highlight diversity on your campus.
- Diversity at your school is an important aspect to highlight. Whether it be statistics, programs that center around diversity, or resources your school has for underrepresented students, this information should be easily found and accessible. Both businesses and schools are releasing these statements on their homepage as a banner, or they may devote an entire website section to diversity.
Utilize graphics and bullet points (no huge text blurbs) and white space.
- Keep it simple. Break up text with images that show off your campus and students. If the page seems visually cluttered, consider reorganizing your content and reduce anything that is not necessary on the page. White space can be good to give the website visitor a break.
3. Incorporate point-of-view perspectives and testimonials.
Develop web stories about student success and events around the school.
- Having a news or blog feature allows you to highlight the best and brightest at your school. Now more than ever, students will be looking online to get an image of what your student body looks like and what types of events or opportunities they are taking advantage of. If something exciting happens, write about it! Getting the word out there about special events at your school will help tell a story and allow for a wide audience to gain insight on current school happenings.
Include pictures of students and faculty to promote authenticity.
- Take pictures of your students and faculty and write about their accomplishments and achievements in a special biography section. If you are unable to find or take current photos, reach out to the yearbook committee for older images they have used.
Use testimonials for social proof and to illustrate the student experience.
- Quotes, opinions, writing and more from your students can be used to show off current students and attract new ones. Having students who are interested in a variety of subjects and programs will help showcase all of the different types of students at your school — and will likely allow prospective students to see themselves in one of your programs.
Need some inspiration? Higher education websites can be a great resource for reimagining a website that appeals to the Gen Z viewer. Check out these 14 amazing college websites.
Assisting Kalix as a Marketing Intern, Channing Capacchione is a senior studying Advertising and Sociology at Boston University where she works as a Student Admissions Representative at Boston University Admissions Center. In addition to giving tours and presentations to prospective families, Channing has interned with the Boston University Marketing department designing flyers and handouts, writing copy and aiding with website development. Prior to Boston University, Channing attended Garrison Forest School, an all-girls private school located in Owings Mills, Maryland. Her 14 years at Garrison provided her with the opportunity during high school to gain knowledge and experience working with the admissions and the communications department.
Read Channing’s other blog posts on virtual admissions with a Gen Z perspective: