Great job! A prospective student has clicked on a content offer on your website, is intrigued, and submits a form to download a copy. But it shouldn’t stop there.
If you’ve gotten a prospective student interested enough to provide you with their personal contact information, you should seize the opportunity to continue the conversion and keep them on your site reading your content and continuing their research with you instead of your competitors.
Thank you pages are an integral part of the inbound marketing process. They’re the perfect opportunity to provide more information about your program directly on the page, guide the student to start the application process, or to provide additional brand reinforcement that will strengthen their affinity for your school.
Free Toolkit – Create Student Personas For Your School
Pulling off a thank you page that keeps the prospect converting is a bit of a science. Done well, a thank you page will round out a good experience with your prospective student. Done poorly, it will cause a slow leak in the enthusiasm balloon and could even push a prospective student away from your school.
Before diving into tweaks you can make to make your thank you pages more effective, you might want to consider the user’s context and their stage in their journey. What would be the logical next step to guide them to?
Here are five common scenarios to consider.
1. After they request more information
Higher education is one of the few industries lucky enough to have enough built-in demand that many prospective students will respond positively to a vague call-to-action like “request more information.” It’s just what you do when you’re on the website of a college you are interested in attending.
After downloading that information, students want to know the next step in the process, what will be expected of them, and any other resources that your school can provide that will help them continue the process. Provide it.
2. When they download a top-of-funnel content offer
Once a prospective student downloads any eBooks, guides, or other content offered on your university website, they are likely still in the Awareness stage of their journey, and not yet sold on attending your University or even that they need to pursue a new degree. Take advantage of this opportunity to bringing their attention to the value of a degree, and how it will help them further advance their career goals.
3. When they subscribe to email lists or newsletters
When someone subscribes to your University’s blog or newsletter, consider the context that brought them there. Are they a prospective student intrigued by a club, or alumni who want to stay up to speed with their alma mater’s latest happenings?
If you were clever enough to include a “Best Describes Me” dropdown field on your form that identifies the user’s persona, you can use this information to personalize the content of the thank you page to appeal to the interests of each different audience. This approach could allow you to prompt prospective students to visit campus after they subscribe, or to encourage your alumni to donate.
4. When they register for an on-campus event
A campus visit is a sure sign that a prospective student is considering applying to your college or university, and may be the make-or-break experience that will ultimately determine if they will enroll at your school or somewhere else.
To increase the odds that their experience will be a positive one, consider outlining a list of ways to get the most out of their experience, or provide them with a downloadable checklist of “must-see” places to go while on campus.
5. After they apply
A thank you page following the submission of an application to your university is crucial. This will be an opportunity to show sincere appreciation and to share more helpful information about the next steps in the process.
Consider explaining in detail what the new applicant can expect next, and try answering some of the most commonly asked questions during this stage of the process. If you offer an application status check, share the link here and tell them when it will be appropriate to come back to review.
This will help alleviate any anxiety the applicant might be experiencing, and also reduce the volume of support calls and status checks your admissions department will receive.
William & Mary University in Williamsburg, VA does this well. Rather than displaying a simple “Thank You” message after the application is submitted, they direct new applicants to a list of frequently asked questions they know the student is likely to have.
Some of the points included in the FAQ are related to late submissions, application completeness, financial aid, and receiving an admissions decision. W&M also includes several contact options in case the applicant has questions the FAQs did not address.
Knowing where to begin
While we hope you’ll take this approach into consideration for any new conversion funnel you create, there’s a strong chance you already have dozens if not hundreds of landing pages published on the web.
Optimizing the thank you pages of landing pages that are already converting a high rate and receiving a decent amount of traffic are typically a great place to start. This will allow you and your team to start on the areas where you’ll likely see the greatest return on your optimization efforts.
Bottom line: Don’t leave the opportunity to keep prospective students engaging and learning more about your college or university. Take these tips and keep prospects progressing further down their path to enrollment.