- General Best Practices
Grand River Academy launched a new website earlier in July with one primary goal: recruitment. The prospective family-focused design includes some pretty compelling value propositions, testimonials, and an interactive design that carefully guides a potential applicant down the funnel. Most importantly, the school is going against the grain by replacing their lengthy SIS inquiry and application forms with shorter forms created and managed in Finalsite's Forms Manager.
Why use a short form?
Kelli Jones, the school's Marketing & Communications Coordinator, knows that not everyone who visits the school's website is ready to hand over all their information...but they may be ready to hand over some.
It's important to keep in mind the kind of visitor that is going to come across your form: high-commitment, or low-commitment. High-commitment visitors who are ready to just apply to your school with little to no nurturing are few and far between. These are the kinds of visitors that will complete any form at any length asking almost anything because they would really like to attend your school.
However, it's almost as important to consider the low-commitment visitors that are prospects just shopping around to see what kinds of schools are out there, but in no rush to make a decision. Low-commitment visitors are most common, as they are those in the awareness and consideration phases of the applicant journey — AKA, the top of your funnel. These individuals respond best to short forms.
With this logic in mind, GRA took to short forms as an attempt to appeal to the low-commitment visitor, rather than the high-commitment visitor, as they are the most prevalent, and require the most attention.
Form Best Practices
While these still seem quite popular, they're only attracting prospects at the bottom of your funnel. If you're hoping to increase enrollment, consider having forms that appeal to those at the top of your funnel. Keep in mind what questions you need to get a conversation started and what information can be shared later on; and what these questions really mean to the prospect.
Finalsite offers a Forms Manager module that allows school admins to build out organized, engaging forms to add to their website. When building an inquiry form, some best practices include:
- Build shorter forms with custom fields
- Style the form to fit your school's brand and website
- Have forms easily accessible and mobile-friendly
Taking Forms to the Next Level in Forms Manager
Finalsite's Forms Manager offers a few robust qualities that aid in inbound marketing and the admission funnel.
- Form Redirects: In Forms Manager, you can set up a redirect "thank you" page to further nurture prospects down the funnel.
- Form eMail follow-ups: When someone submits a form, you can automatically send them an email with more information or contact info from your admission team
- Custom button: Forms manager also allows you to change the text on your button from "Submit" to something fun and creative
See how you can take your forms to a new level with Forms Plus.
Why are Grand River Academy's forms working so well?
When you first you pull up the homepage, there is a green button on the right that says "Apply Now." When you expand the button, a full form is displayed on the right hand side. With a website that is full of blue, this call to action really stands out.
They also have a similar form on the admissions overview page where many of their visitors may think to navigate to first. Again, this isn't the actual application form, but its location is in another ideal spot on their website where many prospects may come across. When you consider your visitor's navigation experience on your website, that can determine where you decide to place these forms.
Not only do the placement of these forms work so well because it's where many visitors may go to first on the website, but they are both short, sweet, and to the point - saving time for both the person completing the form and the admissions department for when it's time to have a follow up.
Once you click on the CTA, there are only nine form fields that appear — and a parent is only required to submit three fields: first name, last name, and email. They are given the option to submit their son's information, provide a phone number for a call, and share any comments, questions and concerns in the "comments" text field, which allows prospects to share a little extra information to get started.
As an added feature, Finalsite Forms can be styled to match your website, unlike SIS forms, allowing you to create forms that blend well with your website and pages.The best part about using Forms Manager with Composer is the ease of dragging and dropping the forms on any page you want. You're able to create your own templates, clone similar forms, and save commonly used elements. From there, exporting the submission details is just as easy - you can export to excel, print friendly views, or even simply review them all online. Every school can find a purpose to use forms.
Engaging CTA Button
To submit the form, the school has a crafty call to action button that reads "Start the Journey Today" that is engaging, actionable, and offers excitement for the parent as they start their journey in searching for a new school for their son. Finalsite Forms allows you to customize the submission button to do just this. Though these aren't actual application forms, this quick form on the homepage allows the school to at the very least start a conversation with the prospective family.
While Grand River Academy's new site is still in its infancy, we'll be curious to see how these new short forms play out in the new admission season!
How do your marketing strategies compare? Want to be on our Featured Friday blogs? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your success with social media, the Finalsite platform, admissions, crowdfunding, or content marketing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie brings a fresh new marketing perspective with her background in social media, communications, and radio broadcasting. She is a co-producer for the FinalsiteFM podcast network and is passionate about helping schools stay ahead of their marketing goals by tracking new trends and developments. She is also a practicing singer/songwriter and loves to expand her creativity in DIY projects.
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