By Published On: April 28, 2014

By Victoria Hoshal

In our last blog post we talked about the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as key elements of your front-line digital marketing program, especially for enrollment marketing.

This month we’re exploring the other end of that equation – the viewer or customer experience once they’re interested. When prospects reach your site you will need quality, relevant content to engage them, and an easy way to request their e-mail address, so you can begin permission-based marketing.

If a prospect clicks through to your home page, you risk creating a disconnect between the specific reason you’ve driven them there and the broader content on your website. It’s less likely a prospect will respond if they are forced to go searching through your website for the content that initially piqued their interest.  Also, if your home page needs updating, and isn’t immediately relevant, again – you’ll lose a potential lead.

The solution is a custom landing page that provides immediately relevant content and helps convert a prospect into a quantifiable lead. It is the vehicle of choice for marketers using response marketing tactics such as SEO, SEM, email or direct marketing.  Landing pages are designed and written to serve as a logical and seamless next step for the prospect or visitor. Remember, you’ve encouraged them to take action already, so focus on making the next interaction as easy for the user as possible.

In the world of higher education marketing, how do you decide when a landing page is needed vs. sending visitors to your home page? What are the benefits of an effective landing page? Here’s a quick overview to help you decide:.

When Do I Need A Landing Page?

  • Are you running Paid Search (PPC) programs?
  • Is enrollment marketing underway or being planned? Do you need to generate leads of prospective students?
  • Are you conducting email campaigns or other digital marketing?
  • Is there a program or degree launch that needs visibility and feedback?

If you’ve answered YES to any of the questions above – you need a landing page. 

What Are The Benefits?
Because a landing page is purpose driven and audience-centric, it provides response and cost metrics for online or print advertising as well as direct and other marketing campaigns. Landing pages use a specific call to action, such as an information session or campus tour, to create a sense of urgency and drive engagement. A well-designed, transactional landing page can:

  • Improve traffic and engagement – effective landing pages can increase lead capture and conversion by significant percentages.* Be sure to send any paid traffic to your targeted landing page(s).
  • Provide response data – landing pages allow you to measure specific, segmented results that go far beyond general traffic levels so you can evaluate which tactic is most successful.
  • Maximize your marketing investment and campaign performance – by establishing AND improving the return on investment (ROI), again via results data. Use an accepted landing page conversion formula.*
  • Bridge the gap between offline marketing and online marketing by providing an easy online link.
  • Give you flexibility in content management and updates – it’s a relatively quick process (or should be) to update your landing pages for purpose and audience. Best practice recommendations are to conduct regular A/B testing (creative, copy, calls to action) to refine your metrics.
  • Customize your message by audience and purpose – use your landing page to do what your website may not be able to, such as supplementing your current website with focused, incremental information about individual degrees or programs, including specialized videos.
  • Benefit your website as a whole – improve overall SEO by demonstrating relevant content for targeted topics.

Engagement and results can be measured by the different levels of responses – from email opt-ins and information requests to event registrations and of course, student enrollment.  Also keep in mind you want to set up your campaign tracking and tests up front, with dedicated campaign URLs to landing page versions, so you can analyze the success of each medium and tactic you employ. We encourage you to read the articles below for additional, very helpful information.

We’ll continue this conversation in next month’s blog. After you’ve decided you need a landing page, what are best practices for design and development? What are the best engagement tactics? Those topics and more will be covered in upcoming blog posts.

Victoria Hoshal is the Business Development Director at d.trio marketing group. She has over 15 years of non-profit advancement and marketing experience (much of it in higher education), prior to her agency background. At d.trio she provides digital and direct marketing strategies and list sourcing expertise for the agency’s higher education clients.

Additional Resources:
*Case Study:  How one Degree Program Increased Their Lead-Flow by 902%

Email Marketing and Landing Pages for College Student Recruitment

4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Landing Pages

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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