Let me ask you a question – how many ways can people access the inquiry form on your school’s website?
One, Two, Three?
We have no fewer than 15 ways people can access the inquiry forms at my school’s website. We actually have one traditional inquiry form and multiple other inquiry forms called landing pages. I’ll explain those later…
Why Should I Care
As a result of the economic downturn of 2008 we saw the inquiries at my school drop. We initially turned to traditional marketing efforts but saw a continued decrease in our inquiries.
We reached a cross-roads – we felt that if we continued using the same marketing efforts we were using we would end up with the same disappointing results.
We knew we needed to change our efforts. We were already working harder but now we needed to work smarter. As a result, we turned to inbound marketing to help us increase our inquiries.
The central idea behind inbound marketing is that you ‘get found’ by families as opposed to finding families. You do this by paying attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Once you ‘get found’ you need to convert those prospective families to inquiries and the way to do that is by using your inquiry form and landing pages — this is why you should care about my initial question.
Multiple Inquiry Forms
I want to be clear about terminology and I’m recommending that you have two different items as part of your school’s website. Within each section I recommend I’ll also offer a minimum requirement and a more advanced requirement.
1. Inquiry Form
Minimum: I still think it’s important that you have at least one traditional online inquiry form on your school’s website and have at least one link to that form in your website’s navigation from the admission section of your website. Prospective families will look for that link there and you should have one available for them.
An example of a button on our website from our Athletics page
Advanced: Include multiple ways for prospective families to find your online inquiry form. You can achieve this by having more than one link to the inquiry form in your website’s navigation. You can also have additional ways to reach the inquiry form by placing clickable buttons on important pages on your website which will take prospective families to the inquiry form. Potential places for additional links, or buttons, could be the Athletics page, Academic Program page, or College Guidance page.
2. Landing Pages
Minimum – A landing page is simply an inquiry form that is devoid of navigation, has content that is related to the link or button that brought you to the landing page, and has at least one call-to-action (CTA).
Typically landing pages are deployed in conjunction with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads like those used at Google. The general idea is that when you click on an ad at Google for your school about college placement – you send them to a landing page about the college placement services at your school and NOT to your school’s homepage.
The same idea can be applied on your own website as well. When a family clicks on the ‘Request Information’ on the Athletics page you can send them to a landing page about your athletic program.
I think it’s necessary to utilize at least one landing page on your school’s website covering one of your school’s unique features.
Advanced – Utilize multiple landing pages on your school’s website around your school’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or what makes your school different from the competition. If you have one USP utilize one landing page. If you feel that you have four USP’s than utilize four landing pages.
Increase Inquiries Now
How does your school measure with regard to inquiry forms and landing pages?
How have your inquiries been trending since the 2008-2009 school year?
I think it’s time for you to utilize multiple inquiry forms, multiple landing pages, and multiple calls-to-action.
Get started implementing these techniques and you’re sure to see an increase in inquiries.