Your website is getting some traction. Families are finding you. They’re reading. And you’ve strengthened your Admissions content so that it better tells your school story.
So why aren’t you getting more calls, inquiries and visits?
Perhaps it’s because you’re not asking. (Or, not asking in an effective way.)
Website calls-to-action are a critical component of the overall Admissions story you’re telling online. But we’re not just talking about the Click-Here-to-Apply! variety. In order to engage prospective students and families, you need to give them choices that align with where they are in their decision-making process.
Are they just starting to research school options? Are they narrowing down their search? Are they 99.99% sold on your school but have a few lingering concerns?
By getting creative with your Admissions calls-to-action, you can ensure that, no matter what stage your readers are in, there’s a next step that’s right for them—and that gets them closer to your school’s front steps.
Here are some things to think about when crafting calls-to-action for your online Admissions content:
#1: Don’t Overlook the Obvious
Let’s start with the basics—because those are often the ones we skip over during the website development process. Does each page of your website have some type of call-to-action? Because it should.
There are standard calls-to-actions that you can include on nearly every page of your website, and they’re especially important on your Admissions pages. Consider:
- Including the buttons “Visit” “Inquire” “Apply” at the bottom or in the sidebar of your Admissions pages. Pair them with a strong value statement that prompts readers to click.
- Ending important or in-depth pages with the text: “Questions? Contact ....” and linking to a specific person’s email and phone number.
- Adding a fillable form to pages that get the most inquiries.
Now that you have the basic next steps covered, there are a variety of ways you can keep people engaged and prompt them to continue their discovery or spark a conversation with you.
#2: Answer The Next Question
Visit any page of your website. Now, make a list of the most common questions a reader would have on that page. How you can answer those questions right away—so that the reader doesn’t need to search around, or contact you, for the information?
Perhaps you can link to a blog post, or another page of content that relates to that page’s topic. Perhaps you have an ebook or a video that explores some details in depth.
By understanding what logical questions will come next, you can lead your readers down a path of information that will make their decision-making process easier.
#3: Offer A Neutral Resource
The best way to align yourself with potential students and families is to help them see you as a resource and an ally. A good way to do so is to offer them helpful information that is not self-serving.
When families are researching schools, they are looking for information that will make their decision easier. Help them out by providing them with a free guide or ebook to use during the research process. Think, “5 Things To Think About During Open House Visits” or “10 Answers to Know Before Submitting An Application”.
These are resources that could help them choose the right school for their family -- even if it’s not yours. However, by showing up as a resource, you’ll also attract those right-fit families who are thankful for your expertise and insights.
#4: Provide Connection On-Demand
Think about the conversations you would have in person during the initial phases of the Admissions process. Is there a way to bring those conversations online by creating on-demand videos or webinars?
By creating a library of video resources, webinars and online trainings, you’ll 1) be able to address concerns or hesitations during the initial phases of the decision-making process; 2) move readers forward in their relationship with your school; and 3) save your Admissions team time in responding to basic, repetitive questions and inquiries.
#5: Advertise Your Events—On Your Own Site
All too often we assume that if we add an event to our Calendar or News section, people will find it. But what if you put as much energy into promoting your upcoming Open House or Admissions Night on your own website as you do with online or traditional advertising in outside publications?
Consider creating graphics for your upcoming events and important dates, and strategically place them throughout your website as sidebar or banner ads. Once someone clicks on one, make it easy for that person to sign up, enroll, RSVP, etc., online. Seamless processes make a huge impact in user follow-through.
#6: Chat With a Bot
Hold up: it’s not as futuristic as it sounds. What used to be considered spammy is now a great way to help your readers get the answers and information they need.
It’s now possible to use automated chatbots to simulate live conversations with your school -- and the technology is getting really, really good. Chatbots can take on a variety of customer service tasks, and they’re available 24/7. Used effectively, they can remove a barrier to engagement with your audience and start those one-on-one conversations earlier in the process.
Those are six unique calls-to-actions that can help boost engagement with your online Admissions content—but there are many others. Learn more ways to create and share stories your audiences will love on the Cursive Content Marketing blog, or tweet us at @emilycretella / @blackbaudK12.
About the Author
Emily Cretella is a marketing strategist and copywriter who helps her clients create and share stories that make audiences take action. As owner of Cursive Content Marketing, Emily provides consulting, copywriting services and workshops to independent schools and higher education. Read her stories at cursivecontent.com.Follow on Twitter More Content by Emily Cretella