As OHO works with colleges and university marketing, communications and recruitment offices on developing effective Internet strategies, this is one of the key questions we are asked.
Our conclusion and advice to our clients – developed from over 5 years of student surveys and focus groups – that the answer to this question varies based on the type of degree: undergraduate, graduate or professional degree.
Driving Prospective Undergraduate Students to Your College Website
On one extreme, we find traditional 17-year old prospective undergraduate student come to a university website from:
- Recommendation – guidance counselor, teacher, family member
- Index sites such as the College Board – students are using these sites to pre-screen and filter schools based on size, demographics, and program of study
Attracting Graduate Students to Your University Website
On the other extreme, graduate students seeking a professional degree are driven to the website through:
- Recommendations – especially from boss or manager
- Referral – especially from a colleague
- Advertising – online ads using Google Remarketing, search ads, and even transit and offline ads
Effective Landing Pages for College Marketing
The real question is: what is the best content to serve up to prospective students? For undergraduate students as described above, it is best to send them to the main website and create easy pathways to helping them see the campus life and explore their major or program of study. For graduate students, if the clicks are coming from ads we highly recommend specific and targeted landing pages that are limited in content and focused on lead capture.
Learn more about our research and strategy work and website design with higher education.