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Higher Education Marketing: Call-To-Action (CTA)

Updated 10/23/2023

In a consumer-oriented society, each of us are bombarded daily with not-so-subtle requests being made of us. Commercials shout at us to contact companies for their services, billboards implore us to rent them with clever ways of articulating their visibility, and online embedded pixels provide ads that remind us of items we explored days and weeks before in hopes that we will reconsider purchasing them.

With all these demands constantly on display, how can you make your calls-to-action sift through and stand out against the white noise? Utilize these three suggestions to create more impactful action steps that yield higher lead generations.

Be direct.

For many this may seem unnecessary to point out; however, we receive numerous emails each week from companies, vendors, and institutions that don’t properly highlight what the call-to-action is. Not only should it be easily visible (consider bolding this alone), if it is leading them to another online action (whether via mobile or desktop), this should be the hyperlink.

Also, whenever possible, avoid hyperlinks such as “click here” and “learn more.” Make your hyperlinked call-to-action stick out:

Having a benefit gala to raise funds for your Virtual Open House Registation landing page? A call-to-action such as “your new beginning starts with your reservation here” is far more moving and impactful than “Registar for this Open House, click here.”

Reflect an accurate level of urgency.

When choosing how to articulate your calls-to-action you want to ensure your audience isn’t confused.  There are my steps in the admissions process to completely assist a prospect through to a start.  As discussed in the first point, they need to be aware immediately of what the action step is. In addition to this, be sure that your audience doesn’t have to guess how quickly they need to act.

Increase the earnestness of your CTA to reflect key dates and due dates. Likewise, if your request is not time sensitive, work to establish enough urgency to prompt your audience to action without seeming to desperate or unnecessarily pushy.

Motivate the potential lead.

In addition to your CTAs being direct and accurately informing your audience of how quickly they need to act, work to ensure that your CTAs are relevant to your audience and that they will be properly motivated to carry out the action step being requested of them.

Is your audience so diverse that certain segments will be motivated differently than others? Don’t try to blanket all of them at once with a generic, bland CTA. Drill down into more specific, niche populations and provide them CTAs which properly reflect their motivating factors, whether this means sending out varied emails depending on the segmented populations, or identifying your desired population at the beginning of a social media post and providing a corresponding CTA specific to that population.

The Wrap-Up

There are many factors that can go into creating impactful, well thought-out calls-to-action. CTAs that are direct, motivating, and inform the audience of an appropriate time frame they have to act are the building blocks for increasing your lead generation statistics. Paired with moving, relevant content and a thoughtful next step (landing page, form submission, RFP, etc.), these CTAs will help your institution reach enrollment growth metrics.