The Importance of Your Website for Driving Conversions

Both private and public four year institutions are starting to show that they place a high value on their website content, design and functionality.


- 4 min read -

Why Your Website is Key in Converting Prospects into Students

A good marketing campaign is built around three stages: awareness, engagement and conversion. There are many tactics you can use in each stage; some will yield better results than others. At Glacier, our services have been formed based on years of campaign insights working with higher education institutions. We help our clients in each stage of their holistic marketing plan. While we do our best to help our clients there are certain aspects of your marketing mix we play an advisory role for. One of these such aspects is the importance of having a quality website in order to drive conversions.

Where the Industry is Going

Both private and public four year institutions are starting to show that they place a high value on their website content, design and functionality. As shown in a recent study by RNL, “2018 Marketing and Student Recruitment Report of Effective Practices,” website content and website design/functionality were placed in the top four most important areas for future investment by both private and public four year institutions.

Source: RNL, 2018 Marketing and Students Recruitment Report of Effective PracticesSource: Ruffalo Noel Levitz

Why is Your Website So Important?

Higher education institutions are realizing that their websites and webpages play a very important role in the perception of their university or college. Not only must they look good, but they have to be easy to navigate, intuitive, and show students the information they are looking for. Based upon a recent report conducted by RNL, when students are frustrated by your website, 28% of seniors will look on other sites and 10% will remove your school from consideration. We conducted a survey with 1,700 Gen Z high school students revealing why websites are so important to our clients. This is what we found:

  • 82% use websites to research higher education institutions
  • 29% find websites most useful when researching higher education options

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 9.35.29 AMSource: Glacier & Academica

What Your Website Should Have

Your website will be visited by students in different stages of their enrollment journey. Here is your opportunity to show a potential student why your school can offer them a bright future.  A well laid out website can play a major role in picturing themselves there. 

Avoid the following:

  • Not having enough information such as program info, scholarships/bursaries, housing, tuition costs. This does not mean they all have to be on the first page but they should not be hard to find which segues into the next point.
  • Do not have confusing links or ‘link loops’ where your links keep taking students back to the same two or three pages that do not have the info they are looking for.
  • Not being mobile friendly and using generic stock photos are easy things that you can avoid that could otherwise make your University or College website look amateur.

All of these things frustrate students and make them lose interest, their time and your credibility.

Now that we know what to avoid let’s put more focus on the information that students are looking for. Based upon the same RNL report used earlier in this post, the top 10 elements that appeal to students on your website are:

Top 10 Elements that Appeal to Students On Your SiteSource: Ruffalo Noel Levitz

The Student Journey

These results show us that easy-to-see programs/degrees are the most important information for potential students. When this information is hard to find or confusing, students are less likely to engage on your website.

It should not be difficult for a student to apply to your school, and it is all the better if they can envision what their life could be like at your institution. If students are aware that you exist and engage with your brand, but your website looks poor and is hard to navigate, your marketing efforts will be wasted.

Students use your website to learn more about you, to get a ‘feel’ for your institution, to see if it is feasible and to judge overall if it is a place for them.

Check out our collaborative report with Academica to learn more.

P.S. Follow us on LinkedIn for tips, tricks, and industry updates.

We collected insights from 1,700 high school students on their media preferences for higher ed advertising. Access Report.

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