After you have effectively segmented your admission cycle with your admissions and communications teams, you will need to figure out the best way to drive prospective families from one stage to the next. Effective implementation of Calls to Action (CTAs) on your website and in email marketing efforts is critical to shepherding your prospective families through the admission process. Here are four simple steps you can take when developing CTAs for your school marketing endeavors:
1. Drive Customer Directly to their Next Step With Your CTA
Babies do not try to walk before they crawl. Prospective families do not enroll before they visit campus. This previous post discusses the essential nature of segmenting your admissions process for this very reason. In order to effectively help your customer understand their next action, you need to clearly explain what that action is. Do not assume your prospective family already knows. Never assume the next step is "common sense". Be explicit with your directions so there is no room for error!
2. Show Value In Your CTA
Not only should your CTA educate your prospective family on their next step in the buying process, but it should be an enticing offering of valuable information as well. People are busy. Websites are filled with great content and we all get distracted. Your CTA should stand out by offering something of value. Maybe it is a free ebook, a great blog post, or interesting question that will spark action. The end goal for all CTAs is the same: inspire action. Therefore, figure out what value you are bringing to the table and communicate that directly through the CTA.
3. Limit the number of CTAs You Present at One Time
Sometimes we want our prospective families to take many different actions at the same time. We want them to subscribe to our blog, to follow us on social media, to set up a campus visit, and to check out our amazing study abroad program by clicking the ‘read more button’ on the bottom of our blog. Realistically, our families are going to click on one CTA, at most! By limiting the number of CTAs in your communications, you are able to help focus yourself as much as you are able to focus your customer. When writing a blog post, I like to start with my CTA I know I will put at the end of my blog. Then I am able to ask myself as I write, am I effectively driving people toward my desired action? If not, then maybe I need a different CTA, or perhaps different blog content. The same can be applied to email marketing content; be consistent and disciplined in your use of CTAs and you will see more prospective families follow your directions.
4. Make Your CTAs Visually Appealing
We all like to think people will click through a CTA because of the witty title we have given it, or because we just know the content we are offering is so valuable that no one could pass it over. But if we are honest with ourselves, people usually click buttons or CTAs that are visually appealing. When crafting your CTAs throughout your website and email marketing content, think about what visual will attract a ‘click through’. Is it an image? A bold color? Prime placement on the page? What is visually appealing for one webpage may not work for another. The same can be said for your personal visual taste in relation to others. As you start to get data on your CTAs, remember to be critical of your own work and always be willing to evaluate what is working and what is not.
When you start to pay attention to these seemingly small details in your Calls to Action, you will continue to refine the effectiveness of your CTAs, and consequently, your ability to shepherd your prospective families through your admission process.