Online forms are the most important part of any website. Connecting with users and gathering their information is paramount for any online business. This is especially true for Universities. Universities face a competitive marketplace and hence a challenging student enrollment conversion funnel. From the perspective of students, the search and enrollment process is one of the most important and stressful experiences so it is imperative that universities make their enrollment process easy!
One of the primary ways that universities can do this is through online application forms that are optimised for conversions. Nearly all universities have now integrated online application forms to make enrollment applications more accessible for potential students. But how simple are these from the user’s perspective? How many potential students are dropping off? Why and how are they leaving? How can we reduce our exit rate and boost conversions?
Most universities will be left guessing at these questions but we have a few steps that can help you understand and optimise these forms for better user experiences and student enrollment figures.
Tip 1. Understand Your Users
In marketing, personalisation and dynamic content are continually growing concepts as user attention spans and tolerance levels grow thinner. For all businesses including Universities, it is important to ensure you know your users and tailor content to them. The same goes for forms. Universities need to present form variations that are relevant to each user type (undergraduates, postgraduates, agents) so that they are only filling out fields relevant to them and their journey.
Tip 2. Map & Match User Journeys with the Conversion Funnel
Once you have a grasp of your users and their different form requirements you will then need to map out their user journey. Understanding the user journey will help to correctly map out your conversion funnel. You may find that there are different user entry points you hadn’t thought of or funnel points that haven’t been included previously, and these will influence how your forms should be structured and designed.
Tip 3. Make Forms Simple and Seamless
As mentioned previously, the enrollment process is extremely difficult for future students so making their lives easier is a simple step University marketers can take to improve acquisition. It is important that form design includes concepts such as Best Practice UX design, minimum distractions and exit links, and sufficient context for each form fields.
Tip 4. Track Interactions Using Digital Analytics and OPTIMISE!!
Great, your forms are up and running taking into consideration the different user types and journeys, but how do you know you’ve done a good job? By implementing digital analytics and custom form field tracking, digital marketers have complete visibility over how users are interacting with forms, where pain points lie, and what is making users exit.
Traditional analytics platforms such as Google Analytics can give awesome insights into how each form section is performing. By setting up custom dimensions and goals you can begin to gain insights on how many users are exiting, where they are going, how long is being spent on each form section, the number of form completions, plus a number of other metrics.
Traditional Analytics can be super insightful but true visibility into the user experience can come from Experience Analytics platforms such as Clicktale.
Experience Analytics gives you the ability to view form session replays and form heatmaps so that you can pinpoint exactly how users are navigating through and using your form. A more granular view of user experience means a better pinpoint on user pain points. You can check out an example of Experience Analytics for Forms works here:
For some, creating a conversion funnel for students may not seem difficult but there are a plethora of minor issues that can cause horrible user experiences and unnecessarily high abandonment rates. For universities, understanding these pain points and identifying issues in form setup, structure, length, order and context, universities can design forms that promote seamless user experiences for students which can create a major uplift in student enrollment figures.
Find out more at the upcoming Maximising Digital Marketing Strategies for Higher Education conference, running on the 19th & 20th March in Sydney.