Landing pages are essential to convert prospective students into leads. Creating a simple and compelling landing page for prospects to register for an event, schedule a visit or get more information about your school will help to fill your admissions funnel.
Yet, many schools that run paid marketing campaigns are wasting money by either sending prospects directly to the school’s website or improperly using landing pages. The results?
- Prospects are left to wander through your website without completing the action you want them to take.
- Prospects might not get the information they need to spur them to convert.
- Prospects don’t know what to do next even if they complete a form.
- More in-depth, personal follow-up is impossible without lead conversion (filling out a form).
Best Practices for Landing Pages
A landing page should be a simple webpage that serves a singular purpose, such as registering someone for an open house or other admissions event. It’s designed to convert someone who has clicked on any type of paid marketing, on platforms such as Google, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Here’s a helpful list of what to do and not do to create landing pages that engage your prospects and move them effortlessly into your admissions funnel.
- Your website’s homepage is NOT a landing page. Do not send a prospect to your homepage or another page within your website. When you do, you’ve dropped your audience into a location without any clear customer flow and where you can’t predict the outcome. There are many ways your prospects could get distracted, overwhelmed with information, and confused as to what action you want them to take. This makes it way too easy for them not to take the desired action (e.g. fill out a form or join a mail list), leaving you without their contact information and no way to follow up.
- Have only one call to action. Offering more than one call to action (what you want the person to do when they arrive on the landing page) can quickly confuse your prospects. For example, you want them to fill out a form and hit submit. That’s it.
- Keep it simple. The landing page should have basic information about the event, but not a lot of other stuff. This is not the place to encourage them to watch a video, read a student profile, download a PDF of your STEM program, etc. That can come after you have the contact information. You can even use that information as an incentive to take your desired action: “Fill out our form and get our e-book on a relevant topic,” etc.
- Segment your audience. If you have six open houses for six different programs at your school, ideally you should create six different landing pages specific to each relevant audience. Making prospects scroll through different events to find and register for what they want is risky. Additionally, you’ll want to segment the ads that drive people to your landing pages for a smoother, more successful user experience.
- Shore up the escape routes. Don’t include a button for the admissions page or a navigation bar. The more ways your audience has to get distracted and navigate away from your landing page without taking your desired action, the less likely they will be to take that action. The goal is to give them just enough information to whet their appetite. You want prospects to be able to fill in any gaps or answer any questions directly, so you can establish a connection with them.
- Less is more for the form. Don’t ask any more questions than you absolutely need to know. Ideally, all you need for someone to register for an event is the student name, current grade and parent email. The more details you ask (address, phone, what sports the student plays, etc.), the more you risk losing the prospect. If you feel you need more information before taking time to personally follow up, follow up with an automated email that asks for more information after they submit the form. Most people will fill out a second form, and if they don’t, you already have their contact information to reach out directly.
- Keep it current. Don’t include an event three months from now on the form. Just ask them to register for the current event. When a prospect has to stop and think, that’s when they stop and don’t take action.
- Mirror the landing page to the ads. The more the landing page resembles the ad, the more your prospects are likely to convert. Use the same imagery, font, photos, language and colors that you used in the ad. You want to create a connected, similar experience from the ad to the landing page.
- The viewing device matters, too. Learn how your audience views your landing page. You can do this through Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager or any other reporting mechanism. If most will view your landing page on mobile, make sure that your landing page works well in mobile view and that the layout is formatted correctly. You might place the form higher up so that people can view and complete it without a lot of scrolling.
- Don’t set it and forget it. Use analytics to monitor how people use your landing page. Suppose they’re not filling out the form. In that case, you might incentivize them with a free download of information that your segmented audience might want to be written by your school’s thought-leaders. The download can address a pain point related to the event you’re promoting. Offer viewers an article that addresses “Why send your child to an independent school?” If your landing page is for an upper school event, consider a download about how to get the most out of Advanced Placement courses or what makes a great college essay. Maybe it’s a download on kindergarten and reading readiness for a preschool event. If you’re not getting traffic to the landing page, the issue isn’t the page. You’ll need to explore why viewers aren’t clicking through to the page. It could be that you need to change up your ads or publish a new post that redirects your audience to the page.
- Test, test, test. Test your landing page’s layout, content and imagery. But only test one thing at a time, so that you can pinpoint what is causing the improvements. A/B test (where you have 2 versions of the page) for a week or however long it takes your campaign to see measurable results, select the winning page and move on to testing something else.
Need help creating landing pages, segmented ads and a more strategic digital marketing plan? We can help.