On October 10, 2012, I’ll be presenting a webinar for college and university marketing and communications, admissions, and enrollment teams who are planning for a website redesign. The 1-hour session will highlight strategic and tactical best practices for planning and developing a new website that not only reaches but engages prospective students.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the topics and findings that I’ll cover.
Prospective Students: the Undergraduate vs. Graduate Audience
Pulling from 5-years of findings from student focus groups, I’ll talk about how undergraduate students and graduate students have fundamentally different approaches to researching and ultimately selecting a school. When reviewing a college or university website, prospective undergraduates ask an experience-based question: “What will it be like?” In contrast, prospective graduate students ask an outcomes-based question: “What will it do for me and my career?” I’ll discuss how these differing motivations require different strategies for site design and content organization.
Engage with video – start with the social, move to the serious
On the undergraduate side, we find it is best to have two types of video – social, light, feel-good videos that speak to the culture and experience of being a student and the more serious and academic videos that provide the differentiators that parents will want to hear. Our research shows that students typically like seeing that you have video on their first visit to the website, but they won’t watch the video – unless it seems social and fun. They’ll turn to video and especially more academic, traditional videos later in the decision making process – typically right before deciding to apply or before deciding to matriculate.
Establish Clear Calls to Action
One of the key findings from comparative research between “brick and mortar” schools and online schools is that the online schools are better at driving engagement through clear calls to action. The online schools offer multiple ways to connect – phone, e-mail, chat – and multiple on-ramps – download materials, get more information through e-mail, or attend a webinar. Low engagement schools put too much emphasis on the “Apply” button, and not enough emphasis on creating a recruitment program that offers intermediate steps to learn and to engage. Online schools are also typically better at using a “less is more” strategy when presenting information about their programs. By limiting the amount of content available on the website, prospects are compelled to reach out for more information and engage with the institution.
Join the Webinar
I hope you’ll join the session on October 10 at 12:00 PM. Click here to register.
Each attendee will receive a copy of OHO Interactive’s Higher-Education RFP planner: 60 Questions to Ask Before Writing Your RFP.