Many school leaders ask us why we don’t send our prospective parents to their website.

You may have spent a lot of time updating your website, adding the latest content, and taking care to express your mission in the perfect way.

It may be frustrating to hear we are not sending parents there.

Why do we use a landing page instead?

First off, what is a landing page? It is a unique, standalone web page. A landing page usually serves a unique purpose, often linked to an advertising campaign.

Okay, so what is the difference between a landing page and your website?

Your website will usually have a number of pages, and cover a lot of themes, presenting a holistic overview of your school. The different pages are brought together by a set of navigational links. Usually, websites are quite busy, even if you have followed a minimal design.

Here’s Oakhill Academy’s website:

Here’s Oakhill Academy’s landing page:

Landing pages are pretty sparse. They barely have any links. The text and imagery center around one unique theme. They have one form and one call to action.

Think of your own behavior on the internet: you go through an information gathering phase and then an action-oriented phase.

Websites are great for the information gathering phase. Parents are trying to see if the school resonates with them, so they browse.

When we run your campaigns, we do sometimes send parents to your website during the Awareness and Consideration Phases (information gathering). Alternatively, we may help the parents by packaging pieces of your website content into ad campaigns that we send to the parents’ social feeds, so they get it in the palm of their hand, on their mobile device.

When it is time for action, however, we use the landing page, because it focuses the visitor on the one thing you want them to do: enter their information and submit the form. You eliminate all distractions and all opportunities to click away to another topic.

The other benefit of landing pages is that they make it much easier for us to split test. There is a whole area of digital marketing called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), and our landing page software makes it easier to perform this optimization.

In CRO, we first collect data from your landing page. We measure how many parents visit the page, how long they stay, if and when they come back, whether they partially complete the form or not, where they look and click on the page, and much more.

Based on these observations, we perform an analysis and make some changes. Remember, with split testing, we can run two variants in parallel. Thus, the changes we make only appear in some variations, making it easy to compare results. If the changes were successful, we keep them and bake them into the main version (which is called the control). If they were unsuccessful, we start over.

We may change colors, positions of certain elements, text, the sequence of form fields, types of form fields, additional elements, such as arrows or popups, and much more.

Gradually, the conversion rate on the page increases...