Did you know that your university’s website can be one of your best sources of high-quality leads? With planning, you can leverage website content that is most relevant to your prospective students combined with strategic link strategies to generate new traffic. This is called “referral traffic” and it is one of enrollment marketers' most effective tools to acquire high-intent leads that convert into enrolled students.
What is referral traffic? Referral traffic refers to users who arrive at your website through links on external websites and on pages within your university’s website, or “root domain.” These links are instrumental in opening doors for prospects to engage in a deeper discovery of your university’s site and content, and they typically attract the most informed and highest intent traffic.
Why do referral leads matter? Referral leads become students at a rate of two to four times higher than paid sources. Even relative to organic traffic, referral traffic converts at a higher rate and with greater intent down-funnel. While there are myriad paid and organic means of building traffic and leads from a website, referral traffic is among the best-performing methods for traffic-to-lead conversion, especially for lead-to-student generation.
How to build your university’s referral traffic:
1. Identify content themes prospects typically focus on in their search: modality, program offerings, and other vital criteria you may have identified, to provide them with timely and relevant information as they refine their intent and interests.
2. Populate your website with strategically placed links. Assess areas of your existing website for opportunities to internally link to your content themes from the root domain or other subdomains. User pathing and behavioral mapping can identify pages your prospects frequently visit and tasks they perform. Common/related topics, extensions of existing content, navigation panels and similar tools are also candidates to explore.
3. Curate content and engagement experiences that align your content themes with the content needs of specific groups, organizations and associations where your prospects may have affiliations.
5. Optimize your websites and microsite content sections to inform and attract external and root domain users on program-related themes to enable referral traffic and lead growth.
5. Highlight your program differentiators, i.e., course material, practicums, licensure/certifications, alumni outcomes, etc., when shaping your strategy to maximize your ability to acquire referral traffic from external websites.
Your university’s unique brand is one of your greatest assets. Everspring is expert in the art and science of leveraging university brands to grow enrollment in a fiercely competitive market. Our marketing gets results because our methodology is data-driven and uses highly targeted marketing approaches to identify students who thrive in their programs.
Matt has over fifteen years of experience in digital marketing, with expertise in paid marketing, SEO and analytics. After an extensive career with Rise Interactive, a digital marketing agency which he helped grow from 12 to 250 employees, Matt served in several key roles as an in-house digital expert for large lead acquisition companies. His strategic approach to marketing synthesizes the goals of Everspring’s partners with the practical elements of how to activate and measure digital marketing. Accordingly, Matt is a proponent of the adage “what gets measured, gets managed.” He joined Everspring in early 2022 to lead the digital marketing team. Trained as a quantitative expert, Matt holds a BA with distinction from Cornell University where he majored in Economics and Statistics.