Feel like your higher education website performance isn’t what it should be, but can’t put your finger on the cause? Here are three of the most common reasons higher ed websites fail.
So why in the world is your higher education website not pulling the traffic volume you want, bringing in the leads you need, or the donations your development team is looking for?
Website performance issues like these are not only frustrating, they can cripple your enrollment, development, or alumni programs (among others). That’s why you’ve got to get to the bottom of the problem, fast.
That’s exactly what we do here at Caylor Solutions. Through our proven three step process, we help higher education marketers, development officers, alumni professionals, executives, and enrollment officers identify and resolve the obstacles holding them back from their organizational goals.
So let me share with you the three most common reasons that higher education websites fail —
because more than likely, it’s one of these performance killers that’s eating away at the marketing results you know you’re supposed to be getting.
Website Performance Killer #1: Scattered Objectives
A school’s website cannot be all things to all people. Problem is, higher education institutions by nature have multiple audiences to market to.
Even more challenging is satisfying multiple internal stakeholders. Like so many higher ed marketers, I’m sure you’ve fought the battle of everyone wanting their space on the home page. They all have their own objectives, dreams, and needs for the website — but someone has to have the final say.
So do you design your website to speak to all of your audience and internal stakeholder needs, or do you choose one and ignore the rest?
The good news is that your home pages can most certainly perform well addressing more than one audience. Bad news is that it cannot possibly address the needs of every department who’s putting in a request.
Today’s savvy web users demand clarity and ease of use. They expect the site to serve their needs above all else, not the needs of internal stakeholders.
Scattered objectives will kill your website’s performance. You must identify what’s most important to your organization’s long-term objectives and eliminate all other competing objectives for your website, and more specifically, your home page. (Hint: Meeting your audience’s needs is always the best thing you can do for your organization.)
Website Performance Killer #2: Revenue Comes Last
Think about all the companies that dominate the larger marketplace. Google. Apple. Walmart. Amazon. What is one thing common to all of their digital marketing strategies?
They put revenue first.
They don’t do anything that doesn’t somehow move their audience towards actions that lead to purchases. And here’s a little secret (one that I’m sure you’re well aware of by now): education is driven by revenue as well.
Determining your primary source of income — more than likely enrollment — should help you focus your energies and provide a clear answer when asked “Why is my link not on the home page?”
Hopefully this isn’t a hard sell to your internal stakeholders. Everyone is benefited when school revenue goes up. So put revenue first in your higher education website.
Website Performance Killer #3: Unclear Path to Conversion
Once you have identified your target revenue drivers, look for ways to build a funnel of conversion. Conversion funnels are the ideal series of pages or content that your audience would likely go through to come to the decision to enroll or donate (See? Revenue first!).
Conversion funnels are made up of series of content like emails, landing pages, forms, blog posts, videos, etc. The thing that makes them funnels is that you’ve thought through what the optimal path is for your audience to take to come to their decision. Here’s an example of how a funnel can work:
Perhaps your email highlights a question that your audience has, which leads to a blog post that further answers their question and asks them to fill out a form, which leads to a phone call, or another video.
The types of arrangements of content you can create are endless — but they must ultimately lead to conversion!
If you view each marketing channel (like email, blogs, videos) as a separate, standalone marketing activity, then your paths to a decision (conversion) will be unclear to your audience, and that will kill your website’s performance.
These higher education website performance killers are hard to spot at times, and even harder to resolve. But the team and I at Caylor Solutions would be happy to come alongside you to help you reach your organization’s goals.
Our team of brand strategists, designers, writers, and social media experts will put their decades of experience in higher education marketing, enrollment, and development to use for you to get you the marketing results you need to drive revenues for your school.
Ready for a marketing performance boost? Get ahold of us today.
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