School marketing has undergone a seismic shift in recent years due in no small part to the internet. As a result of this shift, when it comes to growing enrollment, your school website has the potential to become your most powerful marketing tool.
Here are three questions to consider to help you determine the effectiveness of your school website as a marketing tool:
1. Is Your Website Attracting Enough of the Right Traffic?
For many prospective parents, their search for a school begins with Google or another search engine. It is important to keep in mind that a majority of those conducting an internet search will not look beyond page one of a search engine results page (SERP). In addition, most of those searchers will only focus on the top 3 to 5 results on the list. What does this mean for you? That you need to do what is necessary for your school to rank high enough in the search results to get noticed.
How can you accomplish this? First and foremost is to identify your target audience. Once you understand who you are trying to attract, make sure your website is as search-engine friendly as possible. You can accomplish this by performing search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword research as well as employing content marketing strategies such as blogging to attract those visitors to your website.
2. Is Your Website User Friendly?
It takes only seconds for a website visitor to decide whether or not it is worth her time to remain on your website. In other words, if your visitor does not immediately find something that catches her eye or if she sees something that turns her off, she will leave the site.
First impressions are key, so you want to make sure that impression is favorable. Is the layout of your homepage clear and concise? Is the content is relevant to your audience? If the layout is too busy or complex or the content is not relevant to your target audience, you may run the risk of turning your visitors away.
In addition to content and aesthetics, other user-friendly considerations include how easy your site is to navigate, load time, and whether it is designed to provide optimal viewing and interaction by adjusting to the screen it is being viewed on (responsive design).
3. Is Your Website Designed to Convert Visitors into Enrollment Leads?
Drawing visitors to your site is only half the battle. As a marketing tool, your school website needs to be set up to convert those visitors into leads. Does your website include calls-to-action to encourage your visitors to take the next step in the in the exploration process? Offering something of perceived value, such as an ebook, a video, or the chance to schedule a school tour in exchange for their information is an effective way to accomplish this. Your site also needs to include landing pages designed to capture the information necessary to follow up with and to continue to nurture these leads.
Ultimately, school websites are most effective when they are in alignment with an inbound marketing strategy designed to draw the right visitors, capture their attention and convert them into leads.