How For-Profit Colleges & Universities Can Dramatically Increase Conversions on Their Landing Pages
There are over 33 areas of improvement that colleges and universities that could implement to dramatically increase their landing page conversions.
However, I’m only going to discuss seven of those here.
- Have one focus.
If you think prospective student’s attention span is low as it can get, just give them more than one thing to think about—then you really have a problem.
Pick one objective, and then write and design your whole landing page around that ONE objective.
For instance, don’t have an opt-in form asking people to submit their personal information AND then have a button some else on the page asking them to apply (to your school). You’re making it a hard decision.
The internal turmoil you’re giving your prospect is:
“Should I fill out the form and get a free brochure. Or should I click on the button that says APPLY NOW. Mmm… Ah, screw it; I’ll go somewhere else.” [Click]
If you want people to download a FREE brochure, create all the copy on the page (and call-to-action) around that one objective.
Write about what your prospect will discover in your brochure. If it’s a course catalog, entice the reader by showcasing (on the page) a few courses and what job opportunities are associated with those courses.
Whatever you do, just have one objective throughout the landing page.
If you want someone to download the brochure, don’t have “Contact Admissions” on the top of the page. Tell them that the key contact numbers are in the brochure. Stick to one objective.
You may think you’re increasing your odds that your prospect will respond if you have more than one thing in which they can respond to. However, research as far back as anyone can remember shows that the more options and decisions one has to make, the less likely that they will make any.
This is commonly known as “Analysis Paralysis.”
- Don’t ask for too much too soon
People want information about your school before jumping into the application process.
Don’t get greedy. First, get just their name and their e-mail. Then you can pepper them with e-mails to get them to fill out an application.
If you want additional information, put in a text box where they add in anything they want. They may have a specific question, or they may want YOU to call them. The possibilities are endless but all you’re doing is providing a text box (that’s optional of course).
First get the name and the e-mail. That’s paramount. Once you get that, you can go for the application.
- Be specific
On your opt-in form or anywhere else you on your page for that matter, don’t just say download “information” without any real context as to what the “information” is. About 75% of the landing pages and websites I have seen use this vague and lazy word.
Let the prospect know what kind of information they are going to get. Will they get a course catalog or a brochure about school? Put yourself in their shoes. Would you willingly hand over your name and e-mail just to get some “information” considering there is more of that “information” all over your website? I’m gonna say… NO.
Here’s an example (from a real college landing page) that gets closer to what I am saying:
“Get More Info About Our Master of Public Administration Program”
Even better, would be to show what the results or benefit of getting that information.
Don’t just say “Request More Information.” If they wanted more information they would just go to your website or Google you. You need to give more of an incentive for them to submit their rank, name and serial number.
- Make it worth it.
In an age where everyone and their grandmother has a FREE brochure that anyone can download, you need to provide a little more incentive than just a FREE something or other.
After all, you’re asking for their name, e-mail and phone number. Even though it’s FREE, you still have to do some selling. Don’t try to sell the school. Sell the brochure.
Give your prospect reasons why they should download (and thus give up their information) for your brochure.
Remember, sell the FREE download, not the school.
Pro tip: Always capitalize FREE.
- Make Good Use of Video
If a picture can say a thousand words, then video can tell a thousand stories. Video is engaging. Video also allows students to express themselves and see their peers.
In a video, get to the point. Leave the collages and wipes to the other guys who don’t want conversions.
Your video should open up with a testimonial. This shows your prospect that another person just like them went to your college. It’s reassuring. Next to being there live, video is the next best thing. Show real students, not teachers.
- Keep forms short
If you can get an interested prospect’s name and e-mail, consider it a golden opportunity. Don’t ask for everything upfront. Students (or anybody else for that matter) don’t want to fill out a long form. Be happy with the name and e-mail. Once you have the name and e-mail, you can follow up and get the rest of the information.
- Candid photos
Your landing page is no place for stock images. You want candid photos of students just like your prospect. Get a photographer to photograph students in all aspects of life at your school—learning, lounging, and laughing with other students and so on.
- Have a strong headline
The headline is what’s going to compel the prospect to read your landing page. Make the headline specific to your school. If your headline can be cut and pasted onto another colleges’ landing page, then you have more work to do. Here’s a few I found that can be cut and pasted onto any college website:
Be amazing! Reach your goals! We are here to help.
Practical Nursing Training
That’s too generic. It doesn’t provide a benefit and it can be applied to any college. Try this instead:
Why [name of college] is the Right Place for You to Get Practical Nursing Training.
This forces the reader to read on to answer the “Why” stated in the headline. This headline is specific to a college and shows a benefit.
If you’re going to go through the trouble of PPC or Facebook posts, at least have a landing page that is worthy of your student’s time and effort.
Ash Waechter is a direct response copywriter who helps small businesses sell more products and services online. He also writes SEO copy for attracting readers from around the web.