Your school's tuition page is likely one of the most visited pages on your website. But it also has one of the highest bounce rates. The high bounce rate is partly because tuition pages are transactional, meaning it's where visitors come, they get the information they need, and they leave. Other examples of this include your "contact" page, directory, and calendars.
This means that a high bounce rate on a tuition page isn't necessarily bad. But, do you really want prospective families searching for "your school + tuition" in Google, coming to the page, and leaving, without learning anything else about your school? My guess is no.
So, just because a tuition page is transactional in nature, doesn't mean you shouldn't capitalize on the opportunity to turn someone searching for information into someone who is inquiring.
But how can you take your tuition page from transaction-focused to conversion-focused? It involves four key changes:
- Sell your value before your name your price
- Add relevant content offer to earn a conversion
- Include at least two relevant calls-to-action
- Structure your tuition page to discuss affordability and financial aid first
It's essential to answer one key question before you get to tuition information: why is your school worth the price tag? This is important for two main reasons:
- Sticker shock is real — especially in today's uncertain economy. For families considering private schools, the actual cost can come as a surprise, resulting in high bounce or exit rates. So, it's essential to first talk about what makes your school special before you start listing facts and figures. Yep, that's right. Don't lead with the cost. Lead with the "why."
- Tuition pages not only have a high bounce rate, but also a high entrance rate — meaning many families enter your website through this page. This means they likely did a search for your school's tuition (ex. Vail Mountain School tuition). While they may be interested in your school, they may be vetting you as an option solely based on cost. At this point, if they think the cost is too high, they may leave and never come back. Getting new families into the funnel relies on sharing your "why" — and your tuition page is a great place to do just that!
Through a strategic combination of content and page structure, you can effectively sell the value of your school's education before sharing costs.
To structure your tuition page to sell value, consider including:
- An overview statement about your school that includes your value proposition
- A video about what makes your school special
- Testimonials from current families and alumni
- Direct access to financial aid information
Harpeth Hall, a top all-girls school in Nashville, TN, does a great job of discussing what makes their school special before listing tuition costs on their tuition and financial aid page. Before sharing the school's facts and figures, visitors are encouraged to read about the school's commitment to offering financial aid.
Keep scrolling and you will find additional information about financial aid, important financial aid dates, and additional testimonials from students to sell value. It's a particularly strategic decision to place a financial aid video directly adjacent to tuition and fees information.
The Odyssey School, a school for children with dyslexia, also does a great job selling value before sharing tuition information. The page doesn't feel muddied down with "fluff" and strictly focuses on selling value through authentic parent testimonials in both video and text. After the video and testimonial, you can quickly find the school's tuition and calls-to-action to financial aid pages.
Georgetown Visitation, an all-girls school in Washington D.C. is a prime example of a school doing everything right on its tuition page. A beautiful value proposition, testimonials, and even an interactive infographic pave the way to learning the school's tuition.
Bishop's College School in Canada also does a great job positioning the value of the school's education first, before sharing tuition details.
2. Add relevant content offer to earn a conversion
Understanding what your prospective families are thinking about when they visit your school's tuition page can help you craft a better user experience on this top-hit page — because it doesn't just have to be transactional. You can offer something beyond facts and figures.
For most families, researching tuition comes smack dab in the middle of the admissions funnel, deep into the consideration phase. So, while you've made it into a family's list of top contenders — at this point, they really start doing their research. They are beyond "is private school right for me?" and into "how can I afford private school?" And, that question extends beyond affording your private school.
That being said, not everyone who visits your tuition and financial aid page is ready for a big next step — such as "inquire" or "apply." But, they might be ready to further educate themselves on choosing (and affording) the right private school — and you can provide content to help them! It will build trust in your school and help get prospective families in your funnel earlier on.
For example, Hebron Academy's "Why Pay" eBook would be a fantastic content offer to add to the school's tuition and financial aid page as it is "designed to explore the value of private school education." (And Hebron Academy does just that — check out their tuition page here.)
Similarly, Hudson Montessori's eBook with 25 questions to ask every private school admissions team in your hunt is another example of a great content offer for a tuition and financial aid page.
The primary benefit of earning a conversion at this stage of the funnel is the ability to nurture this contact with additional content around affordability, financial aid, and overall school experience via an email drip campaign.
3. Include at least two relevant calls-to-action
No content? No problem. While content offers are great for getting new contacts in your admissions funnel, simply adding relevant calls-to-action to your tuition page can help decrease bounce rate and increase conversions.
While you may feel inclined to offer standard calls-to-action such as "inquire" or "apply," we encourage you to think about how you may reach families earlier on in the decision-making process. Some additional calls-to-action to include on this page include:
- Read (or subscribe to) our blog
- Take a virtual tour
- Request a 1:1 meeting
- Download a viewbook
- Read family stories
- Watch a video
- Meet the faculty
For example, The Davis Academy concludes its brilliant Tuition page with three calls-to-action that invite visitors to get curious!
The goal is to keep visitors engaged with more content throughout your site, not just land a conversion. In this case, it is important to offer more than one call-to-action to reach a wider audience. However, don't go call-to-action-crazy! Two options are good. Three is even better — but anything more would be downright confusing.
Consider adding one call-to-action for each stage of the funnel:
- Awareness (just browsing): Meet the faculty
- Consideration (not ready to inquire, but ready to provide you with some info): Download a viewbook
- Decision (ready to take the next step): Inquire/Apply
4. Structure your tuition page to discuss affordability and financial aid first
Shifting the conversation from, "this is how much our school costs" to, "this is how you can afford our school" can help increase engagement and time spent on your website.
The Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati, OH heavily focuses on the message of affordability for their audience through eloquent website content and a bold video that says "Think you can't afford the summit? Think again."
For families on the fence about affording private school, this page's written and video content speaks volumes.
The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, PA also takes this approach with their "Affording EA" landing page. While the tuition information is still very easy to find, the school addresses the concept of affordability first.
To help prospective families really get a glimpse into whether or not they can truly afford the school, Latin School of Chicago details numerous financial aid scenarios on its tuition and financial aid page.
And if you're looking to create something interactive for your prospective families, Rectory School's tuition estimator, built using the Finalsite Forms module, is a simple and easy way to engage families who may be wondering how their income will affect tuition costs.
Remember that it isn't about hiding the cost of your school's education, it's about selling the value of your school's education and providing families with important information to help them make their decision. By strategically structuring your page content and offering relevant calls-to-action you can earn trust, improve engagement, increase time spent on your website, and ultimately get more families in your funnel.
Thinking about improving your tuition page? Bookmark all of the inspiration from this post!
- Harpeth Hall
- Georgetown Visitation
- Bishop's College School
- The Odyssey School
- Hebron Academy
- Hudson Montessori School
- The Davis Academy
- The Summit Country Day School
- The Episcopal Academy
- Rectory School
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's director of demand generation, Mia plans and executes a variety of inbound marketing and digital content strategies. As a former TV and news reporter, freelance cinematographer and certified inbound marketer, Mia specializes in helping schools find new ways to share their stories online through web design, social media, copywriting, photography and videography. She is the author of numerous blogs, eBooks, and reports, including Finalsite's Inbound Marketing Benchmark Report.