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Get to the Product: How Colleges and Universities Can Increase Traffic to Degree Pages

Data from Ruffalo Noel Levitz and Eduventures shows us that degree listings and pages representing individual degrees, majors, minors, and certificates are critically important marketing content on college and university websites. But how do you get more people TO these pages? This webinar shows different techniques and examples.

Get to the Product: How Colleges and Universities Can Increase Traffic to Degree Pages

  1. mStoner GET TO THE PRODUCT! How colleges and universities can increase 
 traffic to degree, major, and certificate pages Hosted by mStoner
  2. Tweeting right now? 
 #mStonerNow (webinar hashtag) @DougGapinski (me)
  3. Colleges and universities sell education.
  4. The proxy for that education is the major, minor, degree, or certificate each student is granted.
  5. In other words, your academic programs – your majors, minors, degrees, and certificates – are your products.
  6. Program pages are web pages to represent majors, minors, degrees, and certificates.
  7. 1. Why program pages matter 2. Evaluating your program pages 3. Generating more traffic to program pages 4. Questions
  8. Why program pages matter
  9. Source: Ruffalo Noel Levitz Number of respondents = more than 1,000 college-bound seniors
  10. Source: Eduventures Number of respondents = more than 31,000 admitted first-year students
  11. Source: @davidpoteet • Intercept survey performed on 
 University of Portsmouth (UK) website • Number of respondents = 400 visitors • In the UK “course” means “major” “What did you come to the website looking for today?”
  12. Evaluating Your 
 Program Pages
  13. First, make sure your individual degree pages are more than a registrar’s catalog listing. In this example for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, there is no marketing content for a prospective student – so there is very little point in driving traffic to the page.
  14. Choose your top 5 most enrolled 
 degrees as a baseline.
  15. If you want to get to this information quickly, your public U.S. News & World Report listing usually has your most enrolled programs. colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com
  16. Set up internal vs. external filters to understand how much traffic comes to an individual degree page from on- campus computers vs. prospective students. Measure page views vs. unique page views as a way of understanding new vs. returning visitors to individual degree pages. Measure bounce rate to help you understand how much traffic comes to a page intentionally.
  17. Navigation summary shows referring pages and where they went after a specific degree page.
  18. In this case, we can see that the degree listing page is the most common point of entry.
  19. In this case, we can see that degree options and exploring other degrees are the most common points of exit.
  20. In-page analytics are another way of visualizing where visitors go after arriving at a specific degree page.
  21. Generating More Traffic
 to Your Program Pages
  22. Make sure your degree pages are easy to reach from anywhere within your site.
  23. Make “degrees” or “programs”
 a persistent link.
  24. capital.edu “Programs” is a persistent link on the site.
  25. capital.edu It’s also a button in close proximity to “Apply.”
  26. capital.edu Clicking it opens a modal window to the list view.
  27. capital.edu The mobile view still makes it easy to reach the program listing.
  28. capital.edu The mobile view still makes it easy to reach the program listing.
  29. capital.edu The mobile view still makes it easy to reach the program listing.
  30. arbor.edu First, this degree language is more obvious than “Academics.”
  31. arbor.edu Second, the navigation expands to show degree categories.
  32. arbor.edu Strategic redundancy in the footer drives traffic to degree listings.
  33. Implement search autocompletion that focuses on majors or degrees.
  34. bucknell.edu
  35. As you start entering a search term – in this case “comp” …bucknell.edu
  36. … the search window highlights major and minors.bucknell.edu
  37. Create a highly usable listing page – 
 the page that collects all of your degrees.
  38. simmons.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs “Cards” pattern with filters
  39. simmons.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs “Cards” pattern with filters
  40. bu.edu/academics/degree-programs/ Alphabetical list with filters
  41. bu.edu/academics/degree-programs/ Alphabetical list with filters
  42. uchicago.edu/academics/programs_of_study Tabbed list with legend for minors, 
 interdisciplinary studies, and joint degrees
  43. uchicago.edu/academics/programs_of_study Tabbed list with legend for minors, 
 interdisciplinary studies, and joint degrees
  44. uchicago.edu/academics/programs_of_study Tabbed list with legend for minors, 
 interdisciplinary studies, and joint degrees
  45. Provide links to related degrees.
  46. northpark.edu Up to 70% of students change majors at least once.
  47. Use consistent 
 nomenclature 
 within your own site. Undergraduate degrees = “majors” or “programs” Undergraduate degrees in Europe = “courses” Graduate degrees = “degrees” or “programs” Continuing education = “certificates” or “non-credit courses”
  48. Make sure your degree pages are easy to get to from outside of your site.
  49. Make sure degree pages are buttoned up for SEO.
  50. SEO influencers for degree pages:
 • well-written copy that is relevant to the degree • title tag • meta description • relevant headlines and subheads (h1, h2, h3) • alt tags • links to a page or degree from social media
  51. Use semantic urls to promote individual degrees– in print, in advertising, and email.
  52. This is great as a promotion for a degree – URL is too long for drivers.
  53. Semantic URLs can be used to point visitors to:
 •degree listing pages – example: fabercollege.edu/degrees •undergraduate-only listing pages – example: fabercollege.edu/majors •individual degrees – example: fabercollege.edu/economics •custom print or email-specific URLs – fabercollege.edu/geteducated  

  54. Use PPC (pay per click) campaigns to promote individual degrees.
  55. Getting started with a PPC campaign:
 •Use Google AdWords to assess the volume of local / national searches for specific degrees. •Test a degree-based PPC campaign in specific geographic markets first – keep it affordable vs. buying in every national market. •Consider PPC campaigns for high-enrollment degrees first (academic programs you have an easier time selling) 

  56. PPC copywriting:
 •Always run multiple ad variants to see what visitors respond to. •Test a couple of broad terms (such as “MBA”) vs. more specific terms “part-time MBA” or “executive MBA in Seattle” •Because PPC ads resemble Google returns, it’s good to focus on decision factors. 

  57. GOOD EXAMPLES
  58. BAD EXAMPLES
  59. Questions?
  60. Thanks! @DougGapinski #mStonerNow

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