5 Mistakes You Have Made With Your Enrollment Marketing Landing Pages
Updated: Feb 19
A “landing page” is the first page that paid media clicks are directed to after clicking on your search, social, or display ads. What the viewer sees within the first 2 seconds on this page will determine the success or failure of your efforts. Avoiding these 5 landing page mistakes will drastically improve the outcomes of your university recruitment campaigns:
Mistake No. 1: Sending traffic to the homepage of your main website
Your website was built to serve students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and probably 4 or 5 other groups. While this swiss army knife approach is useful for the purposes it serves, it does not serve as a good host to visitors from paid campaigns.
Your ads are featuring a specific value proposition, and you likely want that person to take a specific action. By contrast, your main website provides all information to everyone, and probably is unclear on where to take certain actions. You don’t want traffic that is supposed to be inquiring about your music program wandering off and getting lost on the sports page. You will hit your campaign goals more consistently if you send them to a dedicated page that provides only the information they need to make a decision about whether to take the target action or not.
Recommendation: Never send paid traffic to your home page or even to a sub page of your main website. Build a one page environment with content specifically for the audience you are addressing with your ads, and make sure that the page drives toward asking them to take a simple and easy action (Note: Applying to your institution is rarely simple or easy. So think of something a bit more approachable).
Mistake No. 2: Wasting precious “above-the-fold” real estate
Landing pages can be broken down into different sections, and the most crucial section is called “Above The Fold”. Above the fold is the section of the page that is viewable without any scrolling. The content in this section has a huge impact on your landing page’s conversion rate.
Take a look at your landing pages. Does what you see in that first view, without scrolling, answer these questions?:
1. Who is providing this information?
2. What value are they offering me?
3. What should I do in order to get that value?
4. Can I trust these guys?
That is a lot of information to jam into a 3inch/6inch frame, but if you fail to do it, you will fail to hit your goals. Too often the above the fold real estate is clogged up with large pictures, meaningless words, no clear value prop, and no call to action.
Recommendation: Make sure that you are able to convey what you are offering, what the viewer should do to obtain the offered value, and why they should trust you in the initial view of the page.
Mistake No. 3: Big blocks of text
I know that this is ironic advice to come from a blog (the king of big blocks of text), but you are here for a slightly different reason (that being said, I will commit to getting more visual content!). You only have a few seconds to engage your visitor before they make the decision to continue on or bounce. Although it is easiest to convey information in text form, images, graphics, and condensing text into consumable snippets will always serve you better.
Take a look at one of the pages you are driving traffic to right now. Is the content just a number of paragraphs in a row? Imagine you got pulled onto this site from lazily perusing FB/Instagram. Would you have the mental energy to wade through your page? Does the design fill you with or drain you of excitement/interest?
Recommendation: Always try to say more with less. Break up your page with images, quotes, and figures so it is not an overwhelming block of text.
Mistake No. 4: Boring or non-existent calls to action
A call to action is an invitation to the viewer to do something. Usually there is some anticipated value they are hoping to receive in exchange for taking the action. Popular calls to action include submitting an inquiry, sharing content on social media, referring a friend, and applying to your institution. It is crucial that these invitations to take action are obvious, easy, and rewarding.
Obvious - Saying “Email us at email@example.com if you have questions or would like to apply!” is not a good call to action. The call to action should be something they can do right on the page, and they should have a very specific reason for taking that action.
Easy - We have seen inquiry forms that contain 20+ fields for the prospect to fill out. That is CRAZY!! The action (whether it is a form to fill out, a survey to respond to, or something else) should take no more than 10 to 30 seconds to complete. Keep it simple. You can always glean additional information later.
Rewarding - Make sure that you think carefully about the value you are promising to give the prospect in return for them taking the desired action. Is your offer compelling? Is it something that the prospect wants or cares about? Is it innovative, fresh, or fun? Think outside the box and see what you can come up with beyond a promise to add them to a boring email drip campaign.
Mistake No. 5: Bad follow up
Having general follow up for general inquiries that you purchased from SAT, ACT, or somewhere else is fine. You are trying to build awareness and a relationship with these students that may have never contacted you. However, it is a completely different situation when your digital ads help you capture the information of an interested prospective student.
All too often we see student inquiries being added to general and impersonal email drip campaigns when they had filled out their information about a specific program or opportunity. Remember, these students
1) Clicked on an ad,
2) reviewed your offer, and
3) took the time to fill out and submit their information to you.
This student is at a very different place in their recruitment journey than the student whose information you bought and are cold emailing.
Recommendation: Build a follow up and communication plan that is specific to inquiries from each of your campaigns. Make sure you quickly deliver the promised value, and give them as much personal attention as you can. They are the most likely inquiries to convert.
We would love to strategize with you on your upcoming campaigns if you want extra help with any and or all of the above. Thanks for reading, and happy recruiting until next time.
Here at Halda we believe in taking care of each other. As part of that, we are committed to helping everyone in Higher Education Admissions become better digital marketers regardless of whether or not we have an official partnership.
We have been running marketing initiatives for institutions both big and small for the last 15 years, and we have noticed that most institutions are having a very difficult time crossing the chasm that separates how things had been done and the better ways they can be done today. We want to help change that.
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