By Published On: May 30, 2014

Is your institution in need of a landing page overhaul?  We can help.  Last month we talked about why landing pages are needed and the tangible benefits they offer.  In this blog we’ll cover the key elements of effective landing page design.  By keeping these in mind throughout the design and development process, you’ll end up with efficient, attractive pages that reflect your brand and turn prospects into leads.  d.trio employs these standards in designing successful landing pages for our education clients; we know they’ll work for your institution as well.

Make the Call to Action Prominent
Make the call to action button or link easy to see and repeat the request if necessary. The point of your campaign is to generate responses to fill events or programs so make it easy for your audience to respond.

Continue the Conversation Seamlessly
Landing pages are designed to serve as a logical and seamless next step for traffic generated by paid search, SEO inquiries, email campaigns or other promotions.  To that end, make sure your landing page clearly continues and pays off the message and/or offer begun in the ad or email you deployed, to make the most of the opportunity.

Simplify Navigation
Whenever possible, minimize navigation that doesn’t take the user further along the path to conversion. For example, if you can remove your institution’s standard navigation header from your landing page, do so. Keep your logo on the page though – your brand is one of your most important assets.

It’s All About Audience
Speak to your target audience and make your messaging relevant.  Know the profile of your prospective visitor and make sure your program or degree’s benefits are communicated with clarity. Create an offer that is also relevant – and compelling – whether it is dinner on campus with a noted speaker or a digital view book.  We recommend having separate landing pages for different degree programs and/or information sessions (this also helps you assess response by program). Setting up a multi-step lead form* can also help you qualify candidates before they reach you (for instance if they must have a bachelor’s degree prior to applying for a program).

Create Engaging Creative
Minimize copy, keep it benefit oriented (see above), specific to the topic and make sure it highlights the call to action. Use images to engage the visitor, but keep them relevant. If your offer involves a free brochure or an event with a noted speaker – show them. Otherwise images of happy, attractive people often resonate best with viewers. Your institution’s branding should be clearly visible implemented correctly and the overall look and feel should be consistent with the original ad or email that got your visitor to your landing page in the first place.

Make it Easy to Opt-in
Once you’ve engaged a visitor and they’ve clicked through to your landing page, make it easy to sign up by including a form ON your email page if possible, vs. clicking through to another layer.

Make it Easy to Learn More
Use videos or links back to your website to handle more detailed program or degree information.  Landing pages with video can increase conversion significantly.*  Plus, timing is important.  You want to capture your visitor’s interest immediately.  Make it easy for them to find and view more information, whether or not they opt-in.

Reporting & Analytics
Thinking ahead about your results reporting will definitely pay off.  Combine your email-delivery tool’s front-end performance data (opens and clicks) with Google Analytics to measure patterns and response on the back end.  Use creative and messaging tests to help maximize results.  Use an industry-standard conversion formula (such as Marketing Sherpa)** to consistently analyze your results.

Lastly, be sure to optimize your landing page for SEO, using your Paid Search keywords and/or adjusting them slightly. You may need to update your keyword research and/or keyword map on your website.  SEO optimization of your landing page is another opportunity to maximize conversion.

Happy Landings!

 Additional Resources:

*4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Landing Pages
**Case Study: How One Degree Program Increased Their Lead-Flow by 902%
Best Practices in Landing Page Design
Email Marketing and Landing Pages for College Student Recruitment

About the Author: Megan Devine

Megan Devine
Megan taps into her left-brain logic and right brain creativity—steering the business, bantering with her team, and strategizing on client work. She says it’s her dream job and we believe her. Using her passion and knack for understanding complex connections in business and marketing, she collaborates to create love between brands and customers. She possesses expertise and experience that only comes from persevering in the ever-changing marketing agency world. Megan co-founded d.trio marketing group, now cat&tonic, in January of 2000 and took sole ownership in 2019. Her vision, support, and sheer stubbornness got us through 9/11, the great recession, and a pandemic. She has judged the International ECHO Awards since 2005, has consulted for several organizations, and serves on several boards. Educated at Carleton College, she learned the importance of critical thinking for success. At home she learned the value of a good story.
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