Creating a clear ‘call to action’ on your school website
When we build a website for a school it is not often that we are asked for a ‘call to action’ button. Yet these are an essential on any business website. Schools usually do not think of themselves as businesses, so we understand the difference. However, a call to action is used in marketing simply as a way to point a website visitor towards the direction of where we want them to go. It is a method that we know works. And with birth rates falling, affecting many primary schools especially in the coming years, being good at marketing with your school website could help take the strain and ensure you do not see a drop in your already-stretched budgets.
Some visitors know exactly what they want to look at on a website, and will navigate their way there (so long as your navigation is clear and easy to find.) But some people will arrive on a website and not really have a clear idea of what they want to do next. Perhaps they don’t know what they SHOULD do next, even. For prospective parents to your school this could certainly be the case. They know they need to look at schools for their preschooler, or for their soon-to-be 11 year old, ready for upcoming application windows. But they might not know what to do next. This is where a clear call to action can support you and your visitors.
The St Thomas’s Winchelsea website pictured above has a clear call to action which you can see in the screenshot – the button which says “How to apply.” By adding this very simple and unobtrusive button, the school is giving a very clear path for prospective parents. This may be a question in many of your website visitors’ minds. “How do I apply?” and this button points them to the answer even if they have not voiced their question consciously.
You may want a different path for your visitors. Perhaps you want them to sign up for an upcoming Open Day? So your call to action button will say “Register for our Open Day” or “Open Day registration.” The button then will act as a ‘shortcut’ to wherever the visitor needs to go next.
Before deciding on your wording, however, it is imperative that you think about that journey for the visitor. It can be a bit off-putting if the button suddenly leads to a download of something to the computer – i.e. a PDF or report that suddenly opens in a new window or pops up as a download, which may get blocked by any pop-up blockers that the person has installed on their device. The best way is to lead them to what, in marketing terms, is called a ‘landing page.’ This page should have a bit of further information which makes it even clearer to the visitor that they have been sent on the right path. More information about the Open Day, or the details of how to apply for a school place. Followed by a link, a download button for a form, or an embedded contact form within that landing page.
By creating this ideal ‘path’ you can head off any questions before they arrive in the head of the prospective parent, and help them to find everything they need to make an informed decision on what to do next. The idea of the call to action is simply to prompt them to DO something on your site, rather than just browse and leave without you having any further way to contact them. Put yourself in their shoes and we are sure you can create the perfect path to take them along. Think of yourself as walking with them in that moment and showing them everything they need.
If you need any advice on creating the perfect path, with your ideal ‘call to action.’ our team is on hand to walk alongside you too!