Unlike most brick and mortar schools, your online continuing education program can’t rely on in-person visits to your campus. Fortunately, most of today’s prospective students start their education searches online, but making it easy for these to find you is only half the battle. You also need to convert prospective leads into actual students.
The best way to do this to employ some engagement techniques right on your website that don’t just encourage browsing, but also get students to click on the enrollment button.
- Make Your CE Programs Pop
Before you continue reading this post, open your up your website and look at your homepage. As you review it, don’t view it from your prospective, view it from the prospective of a potential student. What do you see? Where are you most engaged to click? Is it the majors or programs offered or is there so much going on that you don’t know where to click?
Remember, your homepage is the first place students will gather a first impression of your CE program. They need to be able to see what programs you offer right up away, which means you need to provide clear links to these programs. Fail to prominently display these links and you not only lose students, you also lose out on enrollment leads.
Of course you shouldn’t just stop at making your programs easily accessible on your homepage, you also need to design each program page so that it is both informative and easy to navigate. Display the information in a clear format and encourage enrollment with more than just “click here for more information.” Offer them an opportunity to speak with a counselor or admissions officer for more information, as sometimes speaking to a real person can help in the decision making process. And of course, don’t forget to always provide them with a link to enroll.
- Permission to Brag
When it comes to converting enrollment leads into students, tooting your own horn is perfectly acceptable. This doesn’t mean you should come off like a cocky frat boy, but there is nothing wrong with a humble brag. You need to demonstrate to prospective students what makes your program better than the rest.
- Highlight any awards or recognition your programs have won
- Showcase previous student success and show how completing your program helped graduates further their careers
- Point out any unique features of your programs
- Highlight any news stories about your CE program
- Offer downloads of sample classes or content
- Let Your Students Speak
If bragging about your program isn’t your thing, then why not let your students do it for you. One of the most effective forms of marketing is word-of-mouth, especially when it comes to choosing a CE program. Students want to hear from other students who can tell them what it’s actually like to participate in your programs. They want to know how the classes and professors are, and they definitely want to know how completing your program has bettered previous students careers and futures.
Feature student quotes about your program on your homepage, as well as throughout your site. Ask current or previous students if they would be willing to talk to interested students and make this offer known on your site. Peer-to-peer contact is always a positive selling point for your program and may increase enrollment.
- Just the Facts & Stats
Some students just want the facts. They want to know about cost, enrollment requirements, length of the program, or other important information. Don’t make them search for it. Showcase it right up front or highlight it where it is most relevant. You can provide a link to a list of FAQs or vital facts right on your homepage. When students feel armed with the most pertinent information, they are better able to make the decision to enroll.
Another helpful conversion tactic is career and salary stats. Students want to see how enrolling in your program can provide them with a higher salary or more career opportunities. Remember, today’s economy is highly competitive and prospective students want to see a correlation between higher education and a better future. By providing information on how your programming offerings translate into careers, along with salaries tied to these careers, you show these students that you offer them what they need to succeed.