Did you know of prospective students who complete applications, only 15% apply on their first visit? And, more than 54% of eventual applicants visit college and university websites five or more times before applying?
It’s great they’re coming back but, if your school is like many, you don’t need prospects. You need more enrolled students.
That’s the number of revenue-producing business metrics most college and university web marketing teams use to prove their impact to the school’s bottom-line. Zero. Zilch.
It’s not that they don’t want to prove value. It’s just that colleges’ data systems are byzantine, isolated, and hard to connect. Plus, there aren’t universally accepted goals for a college website. Showing impact is hard.
I love that our work affords us access to lots of smart and charismatic leaders. They have great depth of knowledge, are experts in their field, and are fascinating to engage in conversation. Partnering with them is an incredibly enriching experience.
Page views, session duration and bounce rate provide a solid health check for your college or university website. But this is only the beginning. We recommend setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics. A conversion goal typically measures a completed activity such as:
Campus visit registrations
Requests for information
Beginning the application process
We call it a conversion when a user reaches the “thank you” page after submitting a form.
With the launch of each new higher education website, our client asks: What’s a good benchmark? How are we doing compared to other peer schools? Are we doing better than the old site?
We believe typical measures – sessions, page views, time on site and bounce rate – are good starting points for analytics. These show the overall health of your website, but in order to tie success to business goals, you’ll need to dig into conversion goals.
Often we hear from software company CEOs and product managers intent on making user experience a top priority. They’re always really excited by the idea of improving their UX and we completely understand. In fact, we get excited too – user experience is what we do.
Our first step is starting a conversation with them to map out the possibilities and process for improving their product:
User experience and design are nebulous practices for many software CEOs. They know they want to improve the look of their product, but they don’t know who to hire or what to do to achieve results.
Some CEOs hire freelance visual designers who ultimately don’t quite understand the business and produce beautiful designs that are hard to execute. Others hire consultants with an IT focus and UX speciality, but these guys don’t make it beautiful.
Over the past 7 years, we've interviewed, surveyed, and run focus groups with hundreds of prospective students. We've learned how they research and engage with colleges and universities. We've also tracked and documented their customer journey from first point of contact through application, admission, and matriculation.
In this video, I'll quickly cover the basic journey and digital touchpoints through the campus visit. The findings can be applied to any typical, residential undergraduate program. In our research, the needs for this persona are amazingly consistent.
Based on 7 years of research with prospective students, we've developed a clear set of features and functions that prospective graduate students are looking for on degree webpage. We've also designed and tested these pages across devices and generated a list of best practices. In this super quick video, we'll layout the highlights of this research and best practices. For a great example, check out the program pages at Norwich University Online or read up on their strategy.