Will your private school website survive the blink test?
Not sure? Let me explain.
My work requires that I visit a lot of websites each day. Time is short so as I be-bop around the internet, I need to make decisions quickly when I come to a particular website. Usually, within about 3 seconds of landing on a page, I decide either:
- Yes, this is what I’m looking for. I’ll stay here.
- No, this isn't quite what I'm looking for, but it looks interesting so maybe I’ll return later.
- No, this is not what I’m looking for. I’m outta here.
One of the key elements of a school website homepage is the unique selling proposition (USP). Usually, the USP is placed front and center on the homepage. It’s big and bold. It’s one of the things that visitors notice first, and they will decide to stay or click away based on the message.
The purpose of a USP is simple: a well-written unique selling proposition immediately helps your website visitors understand what you do, how it relates to them, and why they should stay on your website rather than consider your competitors. Because your website is one of the biggest players in your school marketing strategy, its headline must make a powerful statement.
What are the elements that make up a strong USP?
For private schools, it's important to acknowledge and understand the mission. The person who writes the USP probably didn’t write the mission statement, so they need to truly understand it before they can effectively boil it down to a compelling USP.
A private school’s buyer personas should also be factored in when writing a USP. It’s important that you point to solutions to their problems and use language that resonates with them.
On a more technical side, consider keywords when writing your school website USP. Usually, the USP is an H1 header that search engines will recognize. It may be important to include your school’s location in the USP or distinguishing keywords such as “classical” or “K-12”.
Unique to You
Think of the first word in USP: "unique." What is the characteristic that makes your school unique to others in your area? What benefit do you offer to students and families that they won't find elsewhere? Make sure your school's defining quality is included.
Short and Sweet
This is not the place for verbose descriptions of all the reasons your school is the best. Winnow your statement down to no more than 15 words or so (even better if it's under 10). Remember, it is often by this statement that your site visitor will determine whether to stay in the blink of an eye.
What are some examples of good and bad unique selling propositions?“Quality Christ-Centered Education for Every Student”
This USP is not effective. Every Christian school in town could make the same claim. There is no hint as to why students enrolled in this school are benefitting from the program.
“A K-12 School Developing Christian Thinkers and Leaders in San Antonio”
This USP communicates the location and student grade levels the school serves. It also tells site visitors that their program is Christian and hints that students are being equipped to think deeply and lead others.
Want to make sure you're employing a good USP? Test the value of your school’s value proposition by asking four important questions:
- What is the type of education that your school offers?
- What is the benefit to a student and family if they attend your school?
- Who is a good fit for your school?
- How is the educational program at your school different from other schools?
Creating a compelling unique selling proposition can be a challenge, yet it’s an exercise that will help you bring clarity to exactly what benefits your school offers to potential families and students.