Like most fields, online marketing has its own special language and too often marketing professionals forget that the rest of the world does not share our verbal shorthand. To make our own efforts more successful and to better assist clients devise strategies for the future, it helps to first define a few fundamental terms of online marketing — what click-through rates are, capture rates, and conversion rates — how they work together and how we can improve each.
Click-through rate. The click-through rate (or CTR) measures the success of a particular online campaign, email message, or website’s content by dividing the number of users who that clicked on a specific link or predetermined set of links by the total number of impressions. CTRs are helpful to marketers because they capture customers’ initial reactions to content and provide insight on how information is viewed, valued, and responded to. Strong click-through rates suggest that users find the information compelling, the user experience (or UX) is well-designed, and the call-to-action is clear.
How to improve it: Boosting your website’s CTR starts with optimizing your landing page, improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) score. A low click-through rate should be your first clue that something in the mix is off. Review your page architecture and functionality. Troubleshoot your SEO and SEM strategies to determine if you have a low SERPs score and why. For campaign-specific CTRs review your offer holistically, paying special attention to the design, copy, value proposition, and calls-to-action.
Capture rate. Capture rates reflect a campaign’s or website’s success at obtaining user information that can be used for conversion later. For example, when users visit your school’s site they may linger, click on a few links, explore the program information that interests them, and move on. The best-designed sites attempt to ‘capture’ valuable user data during that process. To achieve this, marketers use a host of tactics to motivate the voluntary offering of key pieces of information like name, email address, physical address, phone number, etc. A healthy capture rate shows that you’ve presented a strong value proposition for your users and successfully motivated a specific course of action.
How to improve it: Improving capture rates on your website or from your campaigns just takes a bit of strategic creativity and technical savvy. Well-designed landing pages, well-organized information, and a clear value proposition are the main components that turn nameless visitors into qualified leads.
Conversion rate. Conversion rate is defined as the ratio of the number of transactions to total traffic. Simply put, this rate reflects the number of prospects who ultimately ‘convert’ to active enrollees. Typically, for institutions of higher learning, conversion is the result of strong capture strategies such as motivating users to request more information, sign up for a campus tour, or complete an online application. Like capture rates, a good conversion rate suggests that your site is providing the right information in the right way and leading users to a desired course of action.
How to improve it: Improving conversion rates starts with understanding where your prospects can get lost or drop off at every step in the click-through, capture, and conversion process and then closing the loop. Think of each event as part of a funnel and look for ways to better control users’ movement through it. Provide the right information, follow-up consistently, and reinforce your message at every turn — both online and offline.
Remember, great marketing partners leverage their insights to make your business better. Sometimes that starts with something as simple as speaking the same language. Helping you and your teams understand the metrics of online success and how each piece works together to improve your results is what Enrollment Builders is all about. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help with your school’s online marketing efforts, call us at 513-518-7824, or request information here.