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Don’t Let Your School Website Design Hinder Marketing Efforts

Don’t Let Your School Website Design Hinder Marketing Efforts

When you're in charge of the website for a college, university, or other education-based institution, you know it's meant to inform prospective students and drive potential leads to request more information, then, ultimately enrolling in your program. 

The truth is that website design and marketing are two branches of the same tree. One is needed for the other to succeed.

The best school website design is appealing and easy for potential students to navigate. So if your marketing department is having issues with leads following through, the culprit might be your school website. After all, a good website is the backbone of any marketing campaign.

Here are a few ways to ensure your website is not hindering your school's marketing efforts:

1) Easy to Navigate

Prospective students want easily digestible information and user-friendly websites. If it takes too long to find a list of classes or requirements for a degree or certificate, there is a good chance your visitor will move on to other school websites. 

You’ll want to add the information your students seek to your navigation menu, so visitors are not hunting down the details they need. 

Some info to add to your navigation menu includes:

  • List of degrees and programs
  • Course listing for upcoming semesters
  • Cost of tuition and fees
  • Financial aid opportunities
  • Application process
  • Student activities
  • Housing information

There may be other links to consider. It depends on your educational program and the information students might consider essential website features, such as sports or the Greek system. You need to ensure that information is easy-to-find so prospective students can easily access it. 

- INBOUND MARKETING MISTAKES TO AVOID IN SCHOOL WEBSITE DESIGN -

2) Visually Appealing Design Elements

Your website design needs to be simple and efficient, providing essential information while keeping your visitor's attention. University website design examples include the University of Georgia with its use of colors and fonts. 

There are currently several studies on the psychology of colors. You need to choose your colors constructively. You want to stand out but not overwhelm the viewer. It’s always a good idea to start and stick with your school's style guide of colors. 

Fonts also play a part in the efficiency of a website design. There are hundreds of font choices out there, but you need to select one that's appealing and easy-to-read as a person skims over the text. 

Visual hierarchy places the most important information in a location that a person's eye naturally gravitates to when looking at a webpage. Thus, increasing the chances of a person pursuing more information on the website. 

3) Top-Tier Content and Storytelling

To get more follow-through from prospective students, you need to employ storytelling on your university website. You might consider using stories from your students, such as how they decided to enroll in your college or their experiences at the university. 

Storytelling creates an emotional connection with visitors stopping by your website. Top-tier content is informative and provides value to your prospective students. It also helps you score higher in a search engine's ranking system, which can increase the pool of prospective leads. 

The content on each web page needs to be written with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. It's no longer enough to stuff keywords into the text; the content needs to be high-quality to appeal to students and to rank high in SEO. 

4) Effective Call-to-Action

A beautiful, well-designed website won't improve your follow-through rate without a call-to-action (CTA) within your pages. You need to ask prospective students to take the next step after getting them excited about your school or university. 

A CTA means the visitor clicks on a button/link that takes them to a landing page or form to complete. At that point, the admissions or enrollment team can follow up with the potential student lead. An effective CTA is simple and to the point. 

A good CTA that converts website visitors to leads needs to start with a verb. Verbs are action words, and you want the person to take action. These might include learn, discover, explore, or other verbs. 

You also need to create a sense of urgency with your CTA. You might consider something along the lines of "start your college experience today." Now, today, soon, and other words help drive the person to take the next step. 

- LEARN HOW MARKETING AUTOMATION CAN UP YOUR INBOUND MARKETING GAME -

5) Mobile-Friendly

According to the latest research, 97 percent of all Americans have a cellphone of some type. Many of your potential students access information primarily with their mobile phones. This means you need a website that's also mobile-friendly. 

If you haven't already focused on creating a mobile-friendly website, there is a chance it isn’t. Mobile-friendly websites primarily focus on stability. The average smartphone isn't designed to easily view a large webpage. 

You need to create a webpage that performs the same across multiple formats, from laptops to smartphones and tablets. Websites that are not mobile-friendly have content and images that don't appear clearly on the screen. 

No matter the age range, more people are using their phones and tablets to view websites - meaning it's well past time to bring your website into the now.

6) Fast Load Times

We’ve become accustomed to fast-loading websites. In today’s busy world, people don't want to spend time waiting for website pages to load. The first five seconds play a large role in your conversion rate. 

If you want a website that converts leads, you need to confirm all files, music, images, videos, etc. - load quickly and run seamlessly. 

It's also a good idea to routinely test your website with a variety of devices to ensure that it's loading quickly and running effortlessly. For example, no one wants to watch a video that is continuously buffering. 

Conclusion

Your website should be an asset for your marketing department. If this isn’t the case, it's time to rethink your overall design and functionality. 

At Sonority Group, we can help you grasp what's needed to create an effective website user experience to support your marketing efforts. If you're ready to learn more, let's chat!

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