2018 is shaping up to be a great year for digital marketing efforts at WKU. One of our biggest projects this year is transitioning interior websites on wku.edu into a new template format. We are excited about this new layout, not only for the improved visual appeal and additional capabilities made available in the template, but also because it gives departments across campus the chance to improve their recruitment and retention efforts online.
It’s no secret that digital marketing is now absolutely necessary to reach your target audience. This is especially true in higher education. In the 2016 E-Expectations Trend Report from Ruffalo Noel-Levitz, researchers found that 77% of spring juniors and 82% of fall seniors ranked university websites as the top way they discover schools they might want to attend. That same study found that 70% of both juniors and seniors ranked college websites as the resource most influencing interest in a university, over emails, phone calls, and any print pieces received.
This research highlights how absolutely crucial a strong web presence is for universities and the departments within them. Before a prospective student attends an open house, approaches a guidance counselor for advice, or opens a piece of mail, that student is using the university’s website to gain information and evaluate if it’s the right fit.
If you’re still not convinced that your department’s website should be the destination for information, consider this fact: around 63% of seniors and 47% of juniors indicated that, if they had a question, they’d use the university website to find the answer themselves. Because of this, web content absolutely needs to be strategic, concise, and easy to understand.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll explain how you can rework your web content to meet these user expectations, and we’ll provide tips and examples on how you can utilize new template options to improve your site and better connect with prospective and current students.
In the meantime, if you’re ready to transition your department’s website into the new template and start taking advantage of all the exciting opportunities available, log in to wku.edu/apps/ouaddons and click the “Site Transition” link. You’ll get small group, hands-on help to guide you through the transition process.
Next week, we’ll dive into what content prospective students are looking for on your websites and explain why it’s essential your site addresses their needs.