Updated: May 27, 2019
Congratulations! Your digital presence is on point. The website is fully optimized with excellent video content and benefits-based copy. Your social media pages are chocked full of highly engaging content. Also, don’t look now, but your pay-per-click ads are averaging a 4.23% click-through rate. You are feeling great!
After a few weeks, you notice that inquiries and applicants haven’t outperformed past years. How can this be? Well, if your digital ads are pointing people to your homepage or the ‘welcome’ admission page, I can likely tell you why.
You need a compelling landing page that speaks directly to the intended audience and gives them a clear and convincing call to action. However, that’s just for starters. Let’s take a closer look.
What is your goal? – Typically, your goal should be to capture their information, but it could also be to show them a video or take part in a survey. Whatever the case may be, you want your goal to be easy to communicate and easy for your page visitor to accomplish.
What they should see first – You’ve got a potential lead that has clicked on your ad, so in 30 headline characters and 90 description characters, you’ve started to tell a story or have given them a cliff hanger summary. Your landing page should continue that story or reinforce what was in the ad.
If your ad reads like the above example, your landing page should be about…you guessed it, your early childhood program. There should also be a call to action that has to do with your early childhood program where parents can meet the highly qualified educators you promote in the ad.
KISs ME (Keep it simple, Marketing Expert) – You don’t need a bunch of links on this page. In fact, you don’t want them at all. Those links have the potential to distract your potential lead. Your landing page allows you to control the message and to send them off on a tour of your site may help build value but doesn’t get you the critical information you are looking to obtain.
What others are saying – One of our favorite tactics when working with schools is to incorporate testimonials in ads. If you can hit the right note or provide the solution to their problem from someone who’s been in their shoes, you’ve got a good chance of getting that click. Then, on the landing page, provide a similar testimonial or have a testimonial strengthen your ad copy.
In the below example, we are touting the international experiences of the school.
Therefore, the following testimonial might be the headline of your landing page:
It’s one thing to learn Mandarin in the classroom; it’s another spend two months living and learning in China. That experience helped propel me to a great college and a job working as a consultant with Chinese manufacturing companies.” – Bob Abooey, Class of 2001
Exploit the emotion – I know that sounds manipulative. However, let’s be honest, marketing boils down to manipulating someone’s emotions to get them to act. Between the ad and the emotive landing page, now is the time to hit them with the lead generation form.
Short and sweet info grab – The intake form is where I see many schools lose potential leads. First, the form needs to be embedded on the page. No more clicks!! Second, you don’t need much info at this point. Just the parent’s name and email…maybe a phone number. Some parents will be reluctant to share info about their child at this stage, plus you can capture that if you can reach out manually or start an auto-drip to collect additional information gradually.
Gratitude – Once the user inputs their info and hits submit, show a little gratitude! It can be something simple like a pop-up message saying ‘ We look forward to seeing you at the open house,’ or you can go a little bigger and push them to a dedicated thank you page where you have links to compelling content and/or a free copy of your e-book, ‘Top 10 Recipes from Truth Tree Academy Parents’.
Final tips – The landing page should be about the user, not about your school. So, write the content as if you were having a mini conversation with that specific person. Use “you” a lot as well as emotive descriptors like ‘imagine your child…’ or ‘…where you will feel the joy that we…’.
Another tip is to make sure you are tracking what these folks do on your site after they sign up. If they go to the tuition page and 100% of them are bouncing, you may not end up seeing them at your open house. That’s when you must go back and look at whom you are pointing your digital ads to.
Finally, if you want to take this to the next level, you can create a chart like the one below. This will mean many landing pages to manage, but it could be worth it. It would also mean a lot of ads targeting different personas and potential constituency groups, all depending on where in the admission cycle you are when they first “appear.”
Here are two examples we mocked up that you can use to help you convert more clicks to leads.