- General Best Practices
The term "landing page" can be confusing. From an analytics perspective, it's any page someone lands on from search. From a design perspective, it's the page in-between your homepage and interior pages — AKA your main navigation items: Admissions, Athletics, Giving, etc.
But from a marketing and admissions perspective, it's a page that is specifically designed to drive conversions (AKA, inquiries, applications, open house replies, etc). These landing pages are unique because:
- They remove the main navigation to keep visitors from leaving the page
- They always have a form with a call-to-action
With those two key concepts in mind, here are the five most important elements that go into building an admissions page that yields an increase in conversions.
1) A Value Proposition
Your school's value proposition should dominate the top of the page. It will be the first thing a site visitor's eyes glance over before determining whether or not they should stay on the page. This is your chance to make a statement about why someone should apply to your school.
In other words, the header on your landing page shouldn't be "Apply Now," or "Admissions." You're throwing a grand opportunity out the window. Use it to say something about the experience at your school. St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis has an awesome header and sub-header to share their value proposition.
Your landing page value proposition should consist of three main elements:
- A header: Your main value proposition
- A sub header: A secondary statement that provides additional information
- A re-affirming statement: Located about one-third or one-half of the way down the page, this statement is intended to re-affirm the value proposition after they've scanned the page for additional content
Free Value Proposition Worksheet and Template
2) A Compelling Photo or Video
Landing pages with video have higher conversion rates than those that don't — up to 80% higher, actually — so incorporating an admissions video is key. However, if you don't have the budget or resources to put together a snazzy admissions video that really pulls on those heartstrings, opt for a photo or series of photos that would have the same effect.
3) A Quick List of Benefits
Do you have the best STEM program in the state? What's your student-to-faculty ratio? How many extracurricular do you have?
Think about the biggest and most important "wow" factors that set your school apart, and make them easy-to-scan. Use a bulleted list or infographic to accomplish this.
For example, you can set up a simple list of facts at Latin School of Chicago:
Or, incorporate an infographic as Montclair Kimberley Academy does:
4) Social Proof
Bring in the testimonials! Whether you choose to have video or text testimonials, incorporate social proof that your school is worth the investment. Quotes from parents, students, faculty and alumni are key to increasing conversions, as over 70% of Americans say they look at reviews before making a purchase/decision, and 63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase/devision from a site that has ratings and reviews.
5) A Simple Form With a Call to Action
Rather than directing prospective students off your site to another form from your SIS, incorporate a form on the landing page with about 4-6 form fields. Then, have the call-to-action button on the form be the only call-to-action on the page.
A good inquiry page will not send site visitors elsewhere — meaning don't incorporate other calls-to-action or options. The less options, the higher the conversion.
Once prospects have submitted the form, you can redirect them to a "Thank You" page. On this page, you can incorporate additional calls to action and content to keep their journey going.
Building Your School's Admissions Landing Page in Composer
Using Composer, it's easy to drag, drop, and build an awesome admissions landing page in minutes. I got permission from Avon Old Farms's Associate Director of Marketing & Lead Content Creator John LaPerch to use AOF's new Best in Class design (that hasn't even been launched yet!) to show you exactly how this is done.
Before you get started building, think of any elements you love on your site that you want to incorporate on your landing page. Maybe you have testimonials on your homepage you'd like to bring in, or a list of fast facts. Simply select the element you want to use on your landing page, and make it a "Shared Element." This way, you can easily bring it into your landing page. You can also use the new copy and paste feature.
Under your "Admissions" parent page, create a new page for your landing page. For the sake of this blog, it is an inquiry page.
Enter Composer mode, and then select the layout that looks like this:
This layout will allow you to add all the necessary elements for a successful landing page in an organized layout that also works great on mobile devices.
Add a "Content" element to the top content block. This area is for the header and sub-header of your value proposition.
To your left-hand column, add an element for media, as well as an element for content. If you're using Media Manager for your photo or video, use the Media module element. If you're bringing in a video from YouTube or Vimeo, use the embed element.
In this left-hand column, you will also want to incorporate your fast facts and benefits. This can be done in a bulleted list or infographic format.
To the right-hand column, simply bring in your form. This is all that needs to go here here.
To the bottom content area, bring in your social proof.
To remove the page's navigation, simply select the "Header" as "none." Depending on what is automatically in your footer, you may also want to set the "Footer" as "none."
Then, publish! (Keep in mind, for the purpose of this blog, I used a minimal amount of content.)
While it is a best practice to remove navigation from these landing pages to increase conversions, if you wish to maintain some form of navigation, it won't kill conversion rates dramatically. These practices can be applied to other pages on your site as well. Advancement professionals would greatly benefit from a similar page structure for driving donations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, 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, and Finalsite's popular eBook, The Website Redesign Playbook.
- Content Marketing
- Landing Pages