Would you like to create a sales funnel for your Montessori school, but aren’t sure where to start? Start with this post. Below, we’ll discuss how to use a dedicated landing page on your website to increase your enrollment numbers. If you’re interested in automating your enrollment-generation, keep reading.
You can also watch a recording of a recent webinar where I dive deeper into this topic, along with other enrollment marketing strategies.
What’s a Sales Funnel?
If you’re completely new to the marketing side of operating a private school, terms like “sales funnel,” “leads” or “landing page” may sound foreign. You know that you need to get more students enrolled in your school, but you’re not sure how. This is where the sales funnel comes in.
The sales funnel contains a series of steps that take a person from prospect to enrolled. Let’s take a look at the most common steps in a sales funnel.
At the top of the sales funnel is awareness. Awareness happens when you reach out to prospective families through your marketing efforts. For example, you can develop an awareness campaign on Facebook that’s targeted at people who’ve never heard of your Montessori school before. They don’t know that you exist, but through your awareness campaign, they’re now aware.
During the interest step of the funnel, a prospect has become aware of your school and wants to learn more. This step is all about educating prospects. In the awareness stage, you introduce yourself and piquing their curiosity. In the interest stage, you back up your claims and explain why you’re an awesome choice as a school. To be successful during the interest step, increase their knowledge of the Montessori method in general and your school in particular. Use emails, blog posts and social media posts to keep your prospect engaged. In the interest step, the goal isn’t to push enrollment. That would actually skip a step. Instead, the goal here is to get people to learn more about your school and eventually book a school tour.
As you can see, the interest step is usually the longest one in the funnel. It takes time to cultivate trust and to educate prospects on why your school is the right choice for their family. You have the extended opportunity to do that through a carefully mapped out email marketing strategy.
Decision time is always nerve-wracking because this part is almost entirely out of your hands. The prospect decides whether or not to enroll based on the information you’ve provided. Fortunately, you can influence parents during this evaluation process. For example, you can set up a series of automated emails that are focused entirely on driving enrollment. Perhaps you’ll offer an early enrollment discount to this person just to incentivize immediate action. Alternatively, you can create a Facebook ad campaign directed at only the people who’ve visited your website within the last month. You know that they’re interested, now it’s time to wow them through social media follow up.
The final step of the funnel is action. During this step, your prospect enrolls in your school. It’s official. They’ve moved from prospect to enrolled. Once they’ve acted, it’s your turn. Your job is to provide a warm welcome into your school. In this step, you’ll continue building a relationship through education and engagement.
If you can imagine an actual funnel, you’ll notice that it’s larger at the top than it is at the bottom. This is also true for a sales funnel. The awareness step is larger because you’ll likely reach out to a lot of prospective families. However, as you continue down the funnel, it gets smaller because there are fewer people in each stage. Some people will become aware of you, but won’t take the next step toward interest. But of those who are interested, even fewer people will seriously consider your school as an option. Finally, among those who are thinking about enrolling in your school, only a select group of those will decide to enroll.
The goal is to get prospects to the bottom of the funnel without missing a crucial step along the way. The last thing you want is for your prospective family to make a hasty decision to join your school and then regret it because they didn’t tour your school or learn more about it. Your goal is to produce enrolled families who are as informed and enthusiastic about your school as you are (almost).
What’s a Landing Page?
At this post, you may be wondering where your landing page fit into the sales funnel. In fact, you may even wonder what a landing page is. Let’s discuss.
A landing page is any page on your website where your visitor lands. It could be the home page, it could be the “About” page. However, in marketing, a landing page is usually an optimized page that’s focused on one specific call to action. In this case, your landing page should be focused on generating enrollment for your school.
Landing pages are often tied to the interest step because you’ll use this tool to build a relationship with your prospect.
Here’s a common scenario:
You create an awareness campaign on Facebook for your Montessori school. People click on your ad because they’re interested in learning more. Your ad is linked to your optimized landing page, where you may even offer a small, but valuable gift in exchange for an email address (i.e. a downloadable booklet about the Montessori method). Now that you have their email address (and, in the fine print, their permission for you to market to them), you can send emails that push the prospective customer towards booking a tour. Another landing page can be inserted into your funnel here. This landing page is all about getting the prospect to schedule the school tour.
Once they’ve toured your school, you return to your old friend, email, yet again. This time, instead of pushing them to book a tour, you’ll persuade them to enroll in your school. This requires a third landing page, but this landing page is focused on enrollment.
The Elements of a Winning Landing Page
As you see, landing pages will do a lot of the work in your sales funnel. It’s important that you create optimized landing pages that focus entirely on getting the prospect to take the next step. This begs the question: What elements need to go on your landing page? Let’s discuss:
A landing page doesn’t need to be loaded with bells and whistles to be effective. In fact, the more stripped down and focused your landing page is on its goal, the better.
Here are the three essential elements of a landing page:
You need an attention-grabbing and descriptive title that encourages the site visitor to continue reading. The best headlines feature simple, but powerful words that either begin with action or focus on your unique value. Here are two examples:
1) Join the top Montessori school in the area
2) Destin’s Award Winning French Immersion Montessori School
A short form
One mistake to avoid is forcing visitors to fill out too much information on your landing page. Ideally, your landing page should only ask a couple of questions (i.e. name and email address). If you ask for too much, you’ll scare away the prospective customer.
A descriptive call-to-action button
Don’t use the trite “submit” as your call to action. Take this opportunity to focus on the benefit, such as “Book a tour now” or “I want exclusive offers.”
How We Can Help
Don’t worry– all of this can be automated with very little work required from you. After you’ve set up the initial sales funnel, written a series of short emails and created your landing pages, you can automate the entire process so that neither you nor your staff need to be overly involved. Literally all that’s required is one click, and the rest of your enrollment process (from awareness to student sign up) is done for you.
If you’d like to learn more about our done-for-you enrollment marketing service, click here.