Why the ‘fees’ page on your school website is so important and how to take advantage of this secret weapon
There’s two types of ‘secret weapons’ – those known by a chosen few and are used just at the right time, and those that are so secret that no-one really knows about them. Today we are talking about the latter, and in this case it could be called a ‘secret weapon’, because most schools don’t think of this as a ‘weapon’ at all.
Consider these two important facts –
- Prospective families are thinking about the cost of education from the very start of their interaction with your school; for some, even many years before*;
- The ‘fees’ page on a school website is often ranked as one of the most popular or visited pages. In many cases it can be top 3, normally top 5, and at the least it would be in the top 10 visited pages on your school website.
The Status Quo
Traditionally, fees are not something that schools seek to ‘highlight’. Some schools try to bury fees away only for the big reveal (some may say ‘unwelcome surprise’) once a family decides to enrol. Most schools may not hide fees away, but they make little of them until the time of enrolment.
Does this sound like your school fees webpage? A nice photo, lots of explanatory text, a downloadable PDF fee schedule, a nice table which lays out the fees, then a separate table for discounts, and maybe another for levies? Maybe another button to get in touch, or enrol, and in some cases a form to enquire?
The fees page I’ve described above is effective and informative. It ‘does the job’.
But is that enough?
Many in school leadership would probably say ‘yes, that’s enough’ – and so most schools have a fees webpage that fits the status quo.
Tell em’ the price!
If you’re from Australia, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Tell em the price son!“
In my role with Feesable, I often feel like the Dad in this TV commercial, saying to schools – “Tell em the price…!” At Feesable, we work with schools seeking to increase transparency and create simplicity around school fees for families.
What many schools probably don’t know, or at least don’t think about, are the two important facts mentioned at the start. Many can’t see past the status quo – ‘we’ve always done it this way’ – and haven’t given the time or thought to see the huge opportunity at hand to engage with families.
The missing piece here is a failure to understand the needs of the audience – in this case, prospective families. If we listen to our audience, and ask some intentional questions about what families are seeking when they are on the fees page, the answer is fairly simple.
Beyond the status-quo
Any wise school that seeks to meet the needs of their customer should therefore pay close attention to the fees page and make the most of the opportunities to engage in a meaningful way with visitors early in their enrolment journey.
Here’s a few practical tips to put in place, which should really be a minimum for any school seeking to make the most of the fees page:
- Use uplifting graphics and colours – this can subconsciously help to improve the mood of your audience as they digest the fee information.
- Keep the text on the page to a minimum and just include high level information about fees, enough to inform your audience but not overwhelm.
- Include some background information on ‘the why’ or the vision/mission of your school. This should be the reason families choose your school, so it is important to drive this home as they consider the fees.
- Include a positive testimonial on the page, ideally one that refers to fees (along the lines of “…the best investment we ever made…”)
- Outline the fees in a clear, simple and accessible way – don’t stash them at the bottom of the page, or on a tiny text link.
- Don’t leave out the application and enrolment fees, and be sure to make clear mention of any other levies (i.e. not in the fine print!)
- Include information about discounts available – early payment, sibling discounts, staff or other discounts.
- Make mention of scholarships or bursaries available – this can be more complex as these may not apply to all, but it’s important to communicate that these are available so families can take this into consideration and it could be the deciding factor for enrolment.
- Provide information about who to speak to if people have questions – ideally a phone number or at least an email address or a contact form.
- Add a link to the Fee schedule for download or a link to more detailed information about fees, the information intentionally left out of this page so as not to overwhelm the audience.
Unleash the Secret Weapon
These days, to really stand out and be set apart in the mind of your audience, it’s not enough just to implement the minimum, so let’s dive a little deeper.
It is helpful to think about it in terms of conversion opportunities. Many pages on a school website are informative, but there are usually only a few geared for conversion. The typical conversion pages for a school website are – Book a Tour/Open Day, Download/View Prospectus, Enrol Now, and Contact us.
Enter the School Fee page – the secret weapon. Innovative schools are realising that informative is no longer enough; interactive is becoming the new standard.
“Families were just downloading fee information and making a judgement about the school without gaining any real value. So you want to change that and make it a value exchange.”Andrew Cockburn | MARKETING DIRECTOR, Hillcrest Christian College.
These innovative schools are using smart digital solutions like the Feesable School Fee Calculator to offer a fees page that is informative, interactive and geared for conversion.
Families engaging with these schools are enjoying the benefits of a simple and transparent experience to understand the fees, and for these schools, the fee page has quickly become the main source of enquiries on the website, helping to bolster their enrolments.
Read our customer stories to find out how innovative schools are benefiting from the Feesable School Fee Calculator.
For more tips about how to make the most of your school fee page, or to learn more about the Feesable School Fee Calculator, and get in touch with Feesable.
* Real Education Report 2022 – Real Insurance, March 2022