Star teachers? Check. Convenient location? Check. Strong grades? Check. You might think these traditional markers of a ‘good school’ are enough to keep your institution’s enrolment rates climbing year on year, but that’s where you’d be wrong.
In reality, if a school doesn’t have a great website to back up its stellar performance, it may as well be talking to a brick wall. Many treat their website as an extension of their notice board, without giving too much thought to those visitors who might be thinking about enrolment.
A school’s website is often a prospective family’s first port of call when researching local schools, and is a key marketing tool for increasing enrolments. While uploading a digital version of your prospectus is a great place to start, there are so many more innovative ways to attract a potential new family.
Create great content
Take branded content, for example. Imagine how valuable a family might find an article on ‘how to research prospective schools’, or a quiz that offers them suggestions for suitable schools in their area. How about a podcast that interviews parents about their experience with choosing the right school?
These are all fantastic examples of branded content that will inform, educate and answer important questions about the enrollment process. If you can be the school that makes a stressful time a whole lot easier, chances you’ll eventually sit much higher up their priority list.
Another great marketing tactic is to create certain content exclusively for those parents who have already enrolled in your school. Prospective families will be clamouring to find out what’s behind the wall.
Rethink your UX
Improving your website’s UX – or user experience – is great advice for any site owner, no matter what industry you’re in. UX might sound like a complicated techy buzzword, but it’s actually quite straightforward: it’s how you structure your website.
In order to clean up your UX, consider how a parent would spend their time on your website. Try to walk through the site through their eyes, and spot any potential roadblocks to comprehension or frustration.
The ability to book meetings with staff, find information about fees and conduct other essential research should be easily accessible within a single click from the homepage.
Ensure your images and videos are always optimum quality, and that your text is always readable, no matter what device they’re using. User experience isn’t a task to complete and forget about – think of it as a continuous improvement project that will only get better over time.
Pave the path to enrolment
Once you’ve persuaded parents past the research phase, your website should be perfectly designed for the next part of the process.
Consider implementing information hubs for parents who’ve attended your open days, in order to keep them up to date with the latest information specifically for their needs. When it finally comes down to making an application and paying fees, your website should make that process as smooth as possible too.
Going beyond the website
Your website should be used in conjunction with social media and email to provide a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. Some schools are even experimenting with apps and digital messaging services.
Whatever improvements you decide to make, recognise that new parents are looking for tech-savvy schools to fit in with their increasingly digital lifestyles. If your offering can keep up with the times, you’ll not only attract more enrolments, but make the long-term experience at your school far more enjoyable. By making a few small changes now, you’ll be future-proofing your institution for years to come.