Use your college website to attract and support students, alumni, staff and community members to improve recruitment and retention numbers.
Colleges can no longer rely on the same recruitment tactics that have historically been successful. Today, higher-education recruiting starts before a prospective student even steps foot on your campus and it doesn’t end until they graduate. Attracting and retaining students who will succeed at your school is vital for maintaining student engagement throughout their college career. Your website is a great place to start identifying opportunities for improvement in your recruitment strategy.
Make your college website drive more leads and support retention efforts
Your website is often the first-place prospective students (and their parents) go to learn more about your school. It also serves as the destination for the majority of your marketing efforts. That’s why it’s important to design for enrollment. If your site is hard to navigate or lacks the content they need, students are likely to move on to the next option. Making the initial discovery process simple, easy, engaging and responsive will improve the user experience and increase engagement from those prospective students. The more information a student can quickly find, the easier the decision-making process will be and the more quickly they’ll reach out for more information.
A user-friendly website offers clear navigation and intuitively organized webpage information. Talk with your admissions team — the people who interact with prospective students and families on a daily basis — to learn about the questions they’re frequently asked. Then, compare these common questions to the content on your website. Are questions being asked that aren’t addressed through the website’s content? Are the answers to these questions easy to find, or are they buried on your site?
Improving the website design does more than just help increase enrollment numbers. A website that works for students once they’ve enrolled will improve their likelihood for success, which is key for student retention. They should be able to use your website as a resource throughout their career at your school.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if your website is checking the boxes for current students as well:
- Does your website support the student experience by making resources like campus police and the medical center easy to find?
- Are you publishing articles about student life and upcoming events to continue sharing ways students can get involved?
- Is the events calendar easy to find?
- Is there a place students can go to view ongoing scholarship and grant opportunities?
- Is it clear where to go to schedule tutoring help or seek career advice?
Future and current students aren’t the only ones using your website. Does your website address all of your active audiences? Guidance counselors, parents, alumni and likely, members of your community all access the site and need to be served as well. Make sure you’re taking into account all your audiences and how best to satisfy their needs because while these may not be the decision-makers, they will definitely act as influencers to your prospective students.
Lastly, today’s students are mobile and optimizing your website to be responsive is no longer a nice-to-have. If users can’t read or interact with the content on their phone or tablet without pinching and zooming, chances are they’re going to leave your site and continue their search elsewhere. Your school is cutting-edge, modern and has lots to offer – so make sure the mobile version of your site reflects that.
Updating your website should be the first step in your recruitment marketing efforts. Take a look at some of the recent websites we’ve developed for our clients.
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