Remember when the World Wide Web first launched in the 90’s? With technology at their fingertips businesses were building websites and publishing content online at a maddening pace, often before they fully understood how this new medium would improve their bottom line. In their rush to say everything they could online, businesses said too much, making it nearly impossible for us to actually get the message.
Many school websites today are reminiscent of those early business websites. Without a clear strategy on how to most effectively integrate digital into their school marketing plan, many schools have launched websites that are unattractive, difficult to navigate and almost impossible to view on a mobile device which means parents aren’t getting their message.
3 factors to consider in your school’s digital strategy:
1. Know Your Audience
Today’s millennials are tomorrow’s parents. Schools must be forward-thinking with their digital strategy and consider how millennials will access, research and choose an educational program for their children. A recent article in Wired magazine shares insights on the technology expectations of the millennial generation. These individuals expect a great online experience and will be quick to find alternatives if they are unable to find what they are looking for.
2. Must-have Mobile
Responsive design is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. A responsive website simply means visitors of the site will have an optimal view of all the content and images regardless of what devices or desktop computer they use to access the site. A recent comScore report, shows the number of mobile-only adult internet users now exceeds the number of desktop-only internet users. Yet, many of today’s school websites are difficult to view on a mobile device, and this can be extremely frustrating for today’s busy parents.
3. Develop a Strategy
Before you jump into a major website overhaul, take the time to think about all the people that will access your website. Why are they visiting your site? What are they looking for? How often will they return for new content? You will discover different experiences for different types of users. Your challenge is to develop a user experience to meet the needs of each of these individuals, whether they are prospective families looking for enrollment information or a parent trying to find their child’s homework assignment.
Technology has disrupted business processes for years, and today education seems to be in the cross-hairs of this shift. The bottom line, with competition increasing among schools it is critically important for schools to develop a digital strategy that effectively recruits new families and engages parents by providing easily-accessible, relevant information.