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Choosing The Best CTAs to Increase Conversions For Schools
Connor Gleason

Increasing the conversion rate on your school’s website really hinges on two main principles: boosting visitors' motivation to act and simplifying the action process for them.

Not too tough, right? Well…

Consider this: the best CTA for a conversion includes:

    1    Understanding your users’ needs
    2    Answering those questions, pain points, and addressing concerns
    3    Backing your answers with evidence
    4    Creating a sense of value
    5    Providing clear ways for action

OK, that seems a little more challenging, especially considering a decent call-to-action conversion rate is around 2 to 5%. That might seem depressing low, but consider this: if you bump it up to the 8-9% range, you’ve doubled your conversion rate.

Perceived Value vs. Effort

Understanding the psychology of conversions starts with a simple equation: If the perceived value of an action is greater than the effort for website visitors to complete that action, a conversion is more likely to occur.

The key is to increase the perceived value while lowering the effort. For example, if signing up for a newsletter provides access to exclusive and helpful resources, the value may be considered high. On the other hand, if the signup process for an open house is cumbersome and requires multiple steps or even a log-in, the effort may outweigh the benefit, and you lose a conversion.

Visitors Are More Likely to Act When the Benefit Outweighs the Effort

Another factor is the emotional payoff. For your school's website, this could mean highlighting success stories, testimonials, or specific benefits that demonstrate the value of converting.

For example, if a visitor is considering attending your school webinar, showcasing past webinar highlights or positive feedback can tip the scales in favor of conversion.

While there are dozens of types of conversions, from submitting an inquiry to registering for an event, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading a white paper, understanding the different types and their specific uses can help your school tailor its content and outreach strategies more effectively.

Website Conversions and Calls to Action (CTA) Examples for Schools

Type of Conversion: Inquiry

Used for: Lead Generation

Inquiries are crucial for generating new leads and gauging interest in school programs, courses, or events. These provide a list of interested individuals that your school can follow up with and potentially increase enrollments.

Call to Action: "Get Your Questions Answered: Inquire Today!"

Almaden Country CTA

Inquiries are gold for the admissions office, and Almaden Country Day School in San Jose knows that not every family is ready to inquire just yet. That’s why they’ve offered multiple opportunities for conversions for families at all stages of the admissions funnel with campus visits, financial aid information, and more. The beauty is that they’re all easily available through Finalsite Enrollment. And, of course, when families are ready to inquire and apply, it’s just a click away.

Type of Conversion: Webinar Signup

Used for: Virtual events like webinars and virtual coffees.

Webinars are an effective way to provide value, share knowledge, and engage with both current and prospective students or parents. Since the pandemic, they’ve been a low-cost, low-lift alternative to in-person events. By collecting sign-ups, your school can develop a database for future activities and gain a sense of interest with a registration list prior to the event.

Call to Action: "Unlock Learning: Sign Up for Our Free Webinar on Digital Education!" This emphasizes the value the visitor will get from the webinar, encouraging them to sign up.

Type of Conversion: Make a Donation

Perfect for: Donations and gifts to the school

Donations are vital for the financial well-being of many schools. Monetary gifts can support scholarships, campaigns, and other essential aspects of school life that can build long-term relationships with donors.

Call to Action: "Give the Gift of Opportunity: Donate to Our Scholarship Fund." A CTA like this emphasizes the impact of the donation and boosts its perceived value.

st james giving cta

St. James School’s “Make a Difference” giving campaign prompts its community to learn more about making a difference, as well as the opportunity to make a gift. Note the positioning of the prompt: “Are you ready to make a difference?”

Type of Conversion: Follower/Fan/Subscriber

Used for: Social media, blogs, and newsletters

Social media, blogs, and newsletters are powerful platforms for regular engagement. Gaining followers is one of the best types of conversions because it allows you to connect with people later, long after they’ve left your school’s website and are back on social channels.

Calls to Action:

  • Social Media: "Join Our Thriving Community! Follow Us for Daily Updates and Insights."
  • Blogs: "Stay Informed! Subscribe to Our Blog and Never Miss an Update."
  • Newsletters: "Get Exclusive Tips Straight to Your Inbox! Subscribe Now," or "Stay Informed: Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter Today!"

These CTAs outline the benefits clearly and support the value of being updated regularly.

sacred heart social feed

Scared Heart in Greenwich, CT prompts users to “Follow Along” for daily updates, and with all the great imagery on their social media feeds, it’s hard to resist!

vibe 205 cta

Rockford Public Schools uses a Finalsite Page Pop to encourage users to subscribe to their 205 VIBE Newsletter. A website notification, some enticing language, and a simple form make subscribing easy.

Type of Conversion: Membership

Meant for: Ambassador groups, committees, parent groups

Memberships in ambassador groups, committees, or parent groups foster a sense of community and shared purpose. These groups can become great for feedback, offer volunteer support, and even help in fundraising or event planning.

Call to Action: "Be a Leader and Join Our Parent-Teacher Association Now!"

This CTA promotes a sense of community and leadership, urging parents or teachers to become part of a bigger mission.

  • Ambassador Groups: "Become a Voice for Our School! Join Our Ambassador Program Today."
  • Committees: "Have a Say in Our Future. Apply to Join Our Steering Committee Now."
  • Parent Groups: "Connect and Collaborate: Join Our Parent Association Today!"
the summit PA signup

The Summit Country Country Day School welcomes visitors to its parents and admissions ambassador groups with a CTA and a page full of supporting information.

Type of Conversion: Leave a Review

Used for: Online reviews, ratings, and comments

Online reviews and ratings can significantly influence the perception of your school, and positive reviews serve as a form of social proof and boost your school's credibility.

Calls to Action:

  • Online Reviews: "Love Our School? Share Your Experience with a Quick Review."
  • Ratings: "Share Your Experience: Leave Us a 5-Star Review!" By specifying "5-Star," you set the expectation for quality and encourage positive reviews.

Free resource: Webpage Layouts for Districts

Type of Conversion: Content Downloads

Ideal for: ebooks, guides, and resources

Offering downloadable content like e-books or guides can establish your school as an authority in the field. They’re a critical part of inbound marketing for schools, and these resources can help families in their decision-making, but they also allow your school to gather contact details for future outreach activities.

Calls to Action: 

  • "Thinking About Private School? Download Our Free Guide to Choosing a Private School!”
  • Unlock Expert Strategies: Download Our Comprehensive Ebook Nailing Your Admissions Interview."
  •  "Navigate Financial Aid with Ease: Grab Our Ultimate Guide to Affording Education.”

These CTAs indicate that a free resource is available and promise improved skills and boosts their perceived value.

landon school download cta

Landon School is ready to help families navigate finding a private school, and with its content offer available for download, its support is just a brief form field away.

Fairfield prep content CTA

Fairfield College Preparatory School offers a helpful guide for families to consider when choosing a high school — just download this content offer, and they’ll help you through it!

Type of Conversion: Join the Conversation!

Used for: Blogs and social media posts

Comments on blog posts or articles invite interaction and engagement, keeping the content lively. Comments often provide valuable feedback and additional perspectives and can even boost your content's search engine rankings.

Calls to Action:

  • "Join the Conversation: Leave a Comment Below!" This effective CTA invites the visitor to engage with the content, building a community around the topics discussed on your school's blog.
  • Blogs: "Got Insights or Questions? Leave a Comment Below and Join the Discussion."

Type of Conversion: Submitting a Job Application

Needed for: Filling open teaching or staff positions

Hiring (and retaining) talented staff and faculty are important to your goals, right? A streamlined application process and impressive employee or career web page can attract higher-quality candidates. Capturing their interest and getting them to apply is the first step, though.

Calls to Action:

  • Teaching Positions: "Shape the Future: Apply Now to Join Our Team of Dedicated Educators.
  • Staff Positions: "Be Part of Our Mission: Check Out Current Openings and Submit Your Application." These CTAs target potential employees and emphasize the influential role they can play in shaping future generations.

Frankfurt International School prompts prospective employees and students to “join us” with an attention-grabbing CTA that leads to more information about their school communities — great for attracting top talent and students.

Type of Conversion: Event Registration

Great for: In-person or virtual events signups

Event registrations help plan and execute successful in-person or online events. These provide immediate feedback on the level of interest in the event, which helps in logistical planning, and creating a direct channel for engagement.

Call to Action: "Secure Your Spot: Register for Our Upcoming Open House!" This creates urgency and a sense of exclusivity, encouraging quicker action.

What Makes a Compelling CTA?

Being Clear and Direct

The first element of an effective call-to-action phrase or wording is clarity. Your CTA should clearly state what you want the visitor to do. For instance, instead of saying, "Click Here," you could say, "Purchase Tickets for the Fall Performance Today!" This makes it clear what desired action you want your target audience to take and what they'll get in return — plus, it’s more accessible than a generic “click here.”

Using Action-Oriented Language

Action words like "Get," "Discover," or "Join" create a sense of urgency and promote action. You want to avoid passive language that leaves the visitor confused or indecisive. A good example of effective CTAs on a donation page could be: 

Imogene elementary CTA

Mansfield ISD checks many boxes with the CTAs on its 404 page — love the action-oriented language to help direct users where to go next, especially on the 404 page!

Making It Visually Stand Out

Your call to action button should grab the visitor's attention. Use contrasting colors, large fonts, or unique buttons to make it stand out from the rest of the content. The CTA should be easy to find without overwhelming the overall design.

Leveraging Social Proof

If possible, add elements of social proof next to your CTA to support the credibility of your CTA and encourage more conversions. This could be testimonials, reviews, or a visual representation of how many people have already taken action.

Key Takeaway

Understanding visitor behavior and preferences is critical for crafting the right content and calls to action. When the moment strikes, know which opportunity offers the best chance of conversion so you can engage your school community even further.

New call-to-action

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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