Tips to Drive - and Convert - Student Traffic to Your Online School

November 17, 2014

“Sales upwards of $6,000 from three emails in a week isn’t too shabby”

Looking for more traffic in your hallways and students in your seats? Sure you are! That’s why we’ve compiled 5 important discoveries and tactical takeaways - with tools and tips included - for you to act on today.

In working with several SchoolKeep schools throughout the process of building out content, creating a school website, and “smarketing” (selling + marketing) their courses, we’ve discovered key five trends driving success:

  1. Having a large existing email list is nice but your inner circle is equally as important.
  2. Coupons and emails always work. However, expanding your horizons also works. Try a lot of different marketing tactics and see what gets results.
  3. Yes, start marketing before your school is open. Yes.
  4. Driving traffic is easy – it’s driving the right traffic that’s tricky.
  5. Driving traffic that converts is even trickier.

Note: A 6th trend would revolve around the value of social media. Check out a few in-depth tips here.

We took those trends and turned them into tactical tips, so you can make use of the meaningful traffic you’re driving to the blog.

Email

Email is one of the top channels for marketing your school. It drives traffic to your school, supports content marketing, and typically outperforms other channels in driving sales. To start, operate with a simple email marketing campaign. We like this format:

Email 1:

drive-student-traffic-1

Email 2:

drive-student-traffic-2

Email 3:

drive-student-traffic-3

Don’t forget your inner circle! Getting your first 10 students can be tough if you don’t have a smart email list ready to go on day one. Inviting your close connections – e.g., people you already associate with in your field – to check out your courses can be valuable for gaining initial reviews, thoughts around improving your content, expanding your student network, and building a better overall school.

Tools to Market Your Courses

Here is a list of tools and places we see our educators marketing their courses.

  • Mail Chimp: integrates with SchoolKeep, cost effective, we love the logo
  • Google Analytics: integrates with SchoolKeep, gives you great data about your users, knowing is half the battle
  • Coupons: native to SchoolKeep. According to BlueKangaroo nearly 70% of people will make use of coupons they receive via email
  • Reddit: you can gain sales from offering value in the community running ads that start as low as $522
  • Twitter: remember to use hashtags and coupons
  • LinkedIn: network and Engage to grow your lead list
  • Unbounce: capture leads with a landing page for your school, need a free template or three
  • YouTube or Vimeo: create a promo video for your course
  • Quora: connect with people become a thought leader in your subject area
  • Pinterest: could be your best option if you’re targeting students who are active on this network
  • AdWords: use negative keywords to improve your ROI and remember to track
  • CourseTalk: embrace student reviews

Results are varied but high efforts and investment lead to results.

Landing Pages

It takes effort to get your school website and course content to the point where you’re ready to sell. Investing time and resources towards marketing throughout the process is a great way to stay motivated, make the process easier once you launch your school, and have a captive audience waiting for your courses.

Many of our educators start marketing as they finish courses the use of coming soon landing pages and subsequent promotion of that page with an email opt in for a coupon code upon launch. This useful list-building method will give you leads or prospective students to email once your school has launched.

Click here for free landing pages to help you get started.

Influencers

Beautiful school, check. Great course content, check. But only a few people are visiting the website or your traffic isn’t converting into course sales. Now what?

When just starting out with your courses, find small and mid sized influencer and press opportunities with audiences who would be interested in your course material. Items earned from these efforts will help build a trust with your brand drive qualified leads to your school’s website.

Be Creative

If visitors aren’t converting from your homepage try driving them right to the course page. Less clicks, more students, qualified traffic.

Still no bites? Work with your team and/or network to spin up new titles and descriptions that people can’t resist. If the right people are visiting your site, it still might take them multiple visits to covert. They key is to make the value of your course communicated clearly and the navigation easy.

 

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