Secrets to Web Marketing Success

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A school's website is essential for student recruitment and enrollment. In this presentation, PlattForm reveals the secrets to making your website accessible to the right people searching for it.

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Secrets to Web Marketing Success

  1. 1. Secrets to WebsiteMarketing SuccessTylor HermansonSEO Account Supervisor
  2. 2. Treating Your Website Like Your School
  3. 3. Your Website Marketing Strategy• Help Them Find You• Help Them Like You
  4. 4. Help Them FIND You• Importance of inbound marketing – More cost-effective - 62% lower cost-per- inquiry• SEO (Search Engine Optimization)• PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)• Traditional media integration HubSpot 2011 State of Inbound Marketing Report
  5. 5. How Do You Find a School Online?Top three answers:• Google or other search engine to find schools by name – 44%• Use a site to match me, like My College Options or The College Board – 30%• Enter words or phrases into Google – 20% Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2010
  6. 6. SEO and PPC Paid Listings Organic Results
  7. 7. SEO• Objective: Maximize relevant, organic search traffic to your website• Strategy – Give target market what they want – Make search engines aware• Why? – Slow, but effective – Lowest cost-per-enrollment, highest inquiry-to- enrollment, greatest return on investment – Test your site – This isn‟t peer pressure, but everyone‟s doing it…
  8. 8. SEO strategyOn-site optimization Off-site optimization
  9. 9. On-Site SEO • Crawlable Architecture • Keyword Research • Content • Title Tags • Meta Data • URL Structure • Interlinking • Image Optimization
  10. 10. Off-Site SEO• Linkbuilding – A vote for your site – Relevant, authoritative & diverse – Anchor text – Time intensive• Local Optimization – Google Maps – Bing Local – Yahoo! Local – Yelp – And more…
  11. 11. Off-Site SEO: Linkbuilding• Local websites • Social bookmarking• Blogs articles websites• Blog comments – Linkbait articles• Directories – Linkbait videos• Government websites • Widgets• Social media • Niche sites• Press releases • Alumni linkbuilding• Widgets • Be a sponsor
  12. 12. PPC PPC – 30% SEO – 70%
  13. 13. PPC Strategy• Objective: Maximize cost-effective paid search traffic to your website• Strategy – Keyword research and refinement – Keep high quality score – Geo-target by radius or DMA when applicable – Use mini-sites• Why? – Immediate results – Broad/specific in keywords and location – Low cost-per-enrollment – Pay-per-click
  14. 14. PPC Mini-Site
  15. 15. Traditional Media Integration• Over 40% of smartphone and Tablet users use them while watching tv*• It‟s not one or the other, it‟s a perfect harmony• QR Codes – 72% of smartphone users would likely recall ad**• Social Media – Understand your goals• Tracking – Unique URLs/Phone Numbers – Branded search correlation testing *Nielsen, October 2011 **MGH, February 2011
  16. 16. Tracking: Video
  17. 17. Help Them LIKE You• Your website• Mobile• Social• Reputation management
  18. 18. Imagine if a Student Visited Your Campus and…• They were swarmed by several faculty and staff telling them to do different things
  19. 19. Imagine if a Student Visited Your Campus and…• They couldn‟t find anyone to answer their questions
  20. 20. Imagine if a Student Visited Your Campus and…• They got lost
  21. 21. Imagine if a Student Visited Your Campus and…• They were handicapped, but the school didn‟t have wheelchair access
  22. 22. Your Website• 92% of college bound high school students said they would be disappointed with a school or remove it entirely from their lists if they didn‟t find the information they needed on the school‟s website*• 1 in 5 students removed a school from their list because of a bad experience on the school‟s website** *Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2010 **Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2011
  23. 23. Your Website• It starts with the homepage – The facts: 55% of prospective students land on your homepage – The catch: It needs to work for everyone• Usability• Aesthetics• Content• SEO–friendliness• Call-to-action
  24. 24. Your Website: Usability• What is most important to prospective students? – List of programs (38%) – Enrollment and admissions information (21%) – Cost (8%)• What pages are most important on your school‟s website? – What pages do search engines find most valuable? Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2011
  25. 25. Your Website: Usability• Navigation is key – Global, local, footer, breadcrumb, dropdown functionality• Strike balance between simple and busy• Interlinking• Most important pages – Few clicks from homepage – Several ways to get there• Sitemap• Custom 404 page• Review analytics data• Usability testing
  26. 26. Your Website: Aesthetics• Your website = face of your brand• Modern is key – Wide template, large footer, social media integration• Color (or lack of)• Images• Continuity• Above the fold• Don‟t sacrifice SEO and usability
  27. 27. Your Website: Content• Recognize your audience• Text separators – Headings, bulleted and numbered lists, paragraph breaks• Pagination – What about with mobile?• Color and font• Interlinking
  28. 28. Your Website: SEO Friendly• What not to do (or at least limit)… – Flash – JavaScript – I-frames – Code heavy – Image-based links – External links – CMS – choose wisely
  29. 29. Your Website: Call to Action
  30. 30. Your Website: Call to Action
  31. 31. Net Price Calculator• October 29, 2011 deadline• Default vs. customized – Default: Pros • Meets law‟s minimum requirements • Free – Default: Cons • Does not consider key components in Federal Methodology Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculation • Does not allow school to capture prospective students‟ contact information
  32. 32. Net Price CalculatorNet Price Calculators 36% of students have used themMostly positive (school perception) 21%Both 22%Mostly negative 8%No influence 50%Scholarship Calculators 28% of students have used themMostly positive (school perception) 47%Both 0%Mostly negative 3%No influence 51% Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2011
  33. 33. Net Price Calculator: Custom
  34. 34. Mobile• General Mobile Data – 33% of American households (11% in „08)* – 40% of Americans that do not own a smartphone plan to in the near future*• Education-specific Mobile Data – 23% of prospective students reported searching college sites from their smart phones** – PlattForm SEO clients have seen a roughly 400% average increase from last year in mobile traffic *Deloitte State of Media Democracy, 2011 **Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2010
  35. 35. Mobile• Mobile friendly vs. mobile site• Mobile site – Mobile browser detected – Customized theme & navigation – Most important information – Unique phone number• Mobile friendly – Limit Flash – Incorporate click-to-call – Try it out!
  36. 36. Social Media“Companies not actively engaging are missing a huge opportunity and are saying something to consumers, intentionally or unintentionally, about how willing they are to engage on consumers‟ terms.” Josh Mendelsohn VP, Chadwick Martin Bailey
  37. 37. Social Media: Activity• Facebook now has over 750 million users*• 93% of U.S. adult internet users are on Facebook**• 1 out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook***• People share almost twice as much on Facebook as they did a year ago* *Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, July 2011 **Blogher, April 2011 ***Comscore, February 2011
  38. 38. Social Media: Activity• More than ½ of active Twitter users follow companies, brand or products on social networks• 79% of U.S. Twitter users are more likely to recommend brands they follow Edison Research, 2010
  39. 39. Social Media: Consumers• 40% of customers who use search in their path to purchase are motivated to use social media to complete their decision• 53% of people admitted that content on social media websites changed their mind on a brand they were considering buying Group M Search and Comscore, 2011
  40. 40. Social Media: Students• 33% of prospective students said they had searched for schools on social networking sites*• 74% thought schools should have a presence on social media sites*• 80% wanted official and non-official social media content about the school*• 53% said comments from current students were most appealing** *Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2010 **Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report 2011
  41. 41. Social Media• Why/Why not? – Social media = a School‟s website in 1998• Strategy and measurement – Have a purpose, and a way to measure results – Develop guidelines – Determine your audience – Monitor, monitor, monitor – Allocate resources• Create social media advocates• LISTEN: qualitative market research
  42. 42. Social Media: Guidelines• Content – Who? – What mediums? – What kind? – Frequency – Promotional/non-promotional ratio• Creating accounts• Comment discovery and response system
  43. 43. Social Media: What Should We Say?• Engage, show you care and have a pulse• Share interesting news – This does not have to be about your school• Take customer service to a new level (be helpful)• Provide an outlet for a community• Ask and listen• Create a content calendar and stick to your guidelines
  44. 44. Social Media: Share Relevant Info
  45. 45. Social Media: Share Relevant Info
  46. 46. Social Media: Answer Questions
  47. 47. Social Media: Answer Questions
  48. 48. Social Media: Ask Questions
  49. 49. Social media: Community Outlet
  50. 50. Social Media: Commit to Responding
  51. 51. Social Media: Join the Conversation
  52. 52. Social Media: Have Fun!
  53. 53. Reputation Management• Two types – Search result focused – Customer service focused• Allocate resources (people and programs)• Change expectations customers have for companies• Turn complainers into companions• The social media connection
  54. 54. Reputation Management: In Action• The Challenge: – Student threatens to drop out of school via a Twitter tirade – Growing use of social media among students – If people feel wronged by a brand, it‟s payback time online• The Solution: – Daily social media monitoring – Crisis management protocol• The Results: – Student who would have dropped stays in school – School savvy with social media even if they‟re not – Positive social media mentions about school‟s handling of the situation “You guys are great. What a social media team. Sounds like we have a student.” Rich Schechter, Medtech
  55. 55. You‟re a believer, but what about the Board, VP, and President?• “They can‟t find us and they don‟t like us!”• Not in the phonebook?• Showing the value
  56. 56. Show the Value• Tracking – Do you know where your online traffic/inquiries are coming from, how they‟re performing, and how they impact the bottom line?• Redefining the competition – Online vs. traditional• Crunching the numbers
  57. 57. Show the Value: Tracking• Branded vs. non-branded traffic• Traffic to inquiry conversion rate• Inquiry to enrollment conversion rate• Mobile traffic percentage and conversion rate• Filter out irrelevant traffic (ex. student portal, email campaigns)• Individual page conversion rates• Contact form pages: conv %, exit %, browsing %
  58. 58. Key Takeaways• Realize the importance of inbound marketing and adjust your marketing mix accordingly – Help them FIND you• Maximize your reach qualitatively by improving the website and social media performance – Help them LIKE you• Use the data you have to show the opportunity – Showing the value
  59. 59. Questions?Tylor Hermanson913-254-6735tylor.hermanson@plattformad.com

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