Campaign Landing Pages: Do you need them?

Join us for this week's episode where we discuss a visually stunning campaign landing page from Imperial College Business School but does it have any more to offer?

Imperial College Business School’s “Your head start” campaign looks the part – it works well digitally, the creative is strong and it feels youthful. That said, We’re finding it hard to latch on to the “value-add” of the campaign. There’s a form CTA, but as far as we can tell it just looks like an opt-in for marketing comms.

Nathan Monk
Hello, and welcome back to Most Clicked with me your host Nathan from SMILE. Each week we’re talking about trending topics in the HE digital marketing arena. And I’m joined by my good friend Matt Lees also from SMILE, and Kyle Campbell from the Education Marketer. So we’re taking one of the most clicked items from your newsletter, Kyle, and this week, we have Imperial with a landing page.

Kyle Campbell
We do. I get a lot of interest in these because obviously, you know, we have clearing coming up and various campaigns run throughout the year for universities. So these landing pages are quite important, and they will have sort of different takes on them. So this one is from the Business School of the University. And it looks, well first impressions, it looks absolutely gorgeous. They’ve got some really impactful creative going on here. And as you move down, as you would expect from landing pages, the usual kind of outline of the benefits rankings of the value of the university can offer. But I can’t help but thinking when it when I see these things that you know, this is on the end of like a campaign on the end of an ad and I was searching for like the extra value for a student in order to sign up and I kept scrolling. And I just didn’t see something that hit me between the eyes. And I think as marketers, we need to be careful with this, especially when we’re running campaigns of this sort of brand level, I do feel that even if you are like one of these big hitters like Imperial, you sort of need something else rather than just those awesome rankings and those various benefits, if you like, that needs to be something that sort of resonates as a value proposition with the student, like, you know, what you’re going to give me. And you see a lot of this with other universities, for instance, like, you know, BCU, that they do all kinds of like really interesting, like guides and downloads as part of their campaign initiatives. And I don’t know what you guys think. But I felt like this is a great sort of campaign. It’s creative. The actual creative itself is bang on. But I just felt it lacked that extra little bit of pull, in order to make me part with my details,

Matt Lees
I’m with you, visually very striking that that top section in particular, and the transitions between sections are really nice, the way the kind of colours lead into one another and the map further down the page, visually, very nice. But yeah, I’m with you. Like we want to kind of scratch beneath the surface a little feels as though it’s, it’s lacking something, you know, some personalization or something that, that that kind of makes it more worthwhile.

Nathan Monk
I’ve kind of got.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah.

Nathan Monk
Sorry, Kyle. No, you go ahead. Sorry, that’s me being a bad host, here.

Kyle Campbell
All right, Nath, you’re the host. Yeah, I look at things like this. And I guess for me when we start with these initiatives, and these campaigns, the sort of parading sort of myth and marketing is a slight start with your why and your value. But often, it’s not like that you really just kind of start with the audience’s why. And you know what they want, rather than like the brand and what it can add. And I think when you switch that sort of way of thinking, you literally do start with the audience, first, you have a very different result at the end. And I think it’s fine to talk about rankings. And I think rankings are a differentiator, but ultimately, they shift. So a student who can join you in this one year, they might find that rankings almost disappeared, the next that they kind of their rankings, they’re like a stock market go up and down, aren’t they? So you want to be resonating with something a bit more consistent, hangs out over time, rather than something that can kind of go up and down on a whim really?

Nathan Monk
I’ve got a little bit of kind of insider knowledge on this one, I guess. So it’s funny because somebody from Imperial actually inquired about kind of SMILE services to help with this specific page kind of earlier this year. And so I know little bits and bobs about the kind of background of this and I think and you know, this is for Imperial to confirm or reject in the comments, I guess really, but I feel like this was something that was put together quite quickly. Poking around, it’s built on WordPress multi-site thing so I think it’s pretty low budget and stuff, which, you know, is fair play. It’s kind of impressive for what it is. And I think they knowingly, I think they perhaps know that they want something more here. I’m not 100%. But at the same time, it does look lovely. I remember seeing this and, and thinking like, oh, okay, it’s quite nice and standout. But I do agree with you, Kyle, there’s a more distinctive call to action, I think needs to come out of this, we often talk about at SMILE, we say that when you’re putting your landing pages together, you should be able to look at it for 30 seconds, and the person should be able to know what you want them to do next, and I don’t, okay, there is a great whacking form there. And I feel like the institution wants me to fill out the form. And I think, you know, I always ask this question about what’s the takeaway here, and my, my personal take on the takeaway here is about balancing what you want, versus what the user really wants. Because that form is, so obviously, what the university wants, it’s like, fill in this form, we want your data. And I’m not sure that as a user, I understand what value, what utility, I’m going to get off the back of that form. And that makes me question if me parting with my data is worth it. And I know, Matt, you and I talk about parting with our data. I know that when you go to a hotel, for example, you’ll use your real email address. And I’ll be like, No, I’m using fake email addresses left, right and centre. We do know that younger audiences are more privacy-conscious. And I think that that is something to bear in mind. And so forms the main call to action, I think you need to think really carefully about what utility are you providing?

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I mean, I think about these discussions we had, I think it was last week, where we have a course taster session. And as the content marketing initiative, as you part with your data to try a course before you buy it is quite compelling. And if you can scale that up at a campaign level, say you’ve got 10 courses where you’ve prepared these sessions, then you’ve got your individual score campaigns running. That, for me, is a much more convincing argument part of the data, because I get to experience the thing I’m interested in buying. But that said as you say, I do agree, I think the campaign looks great. I think it kind of pulls together, you know, what the university is about? I was just looking for that extra hook that adds the value to that, that student experience and that buying experience, I guess,

Nathan Monk
Does either of you have any advice to provide kind of when creating landing pages? What is something that you want our audience to know?

Matt Lees
I think you could follow this one visually, for sure. You know, I keep going back to it, but it is visually striking and puts me in mind of some of the Apple Music stuff. You know, it feels head and shoulders above everybody else. But I think Kyle’s probably got some good points on content to elevate it up a level.

Nathan Monk
Cool. Cool. And then Kyle.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, the design? Yeah, I like the design, it follows that sort of like, put your seat at the top form, fill this in, it’s quite clear to the user. And I don’t think I’d add anything extra really, I mean, for me when you went in campaigns, and if you are thinking about content marketing, and then that sort of nurture process and bringing your audience into that content ecosystem. I do feel you need that content hook, and I said taster sessions, I think that’s a smart choice. I think any sort of exclusive access to a community-based event or something like that, where you can meet potential other students interested in the same course you are, what you want is to design further touch points that you can experience them with other people, you don’t really want to just enter into like, there’s nothing wrong with nurture tracks but what I wouldn’t want is then they’re just entered into the typical subject nurture track, where they receive an email about employability, they receive an email about, you know, the course content whatever it is. I think that’s a must-have now, I think it’s a basic, I think it’s a tick. What we probably should be thinking about now is this extra level, and I think to get started, I think course taster sessions are a good way to go. I’m amazed at more on doing them. I think they’ve become increasingly popular over the next year or so. There are already ed-tech companies doing stuff in that area. And some universities are doing it on their own sort of tech stack. So I think the pandemic sort of, opened those avenues and finally, you can access courses in a digital way and all that sort of stuff. So I just think that’s the untapped potential.

Nathan Monk
Well, I think I’ve spoken about this before. There’s a there’s an LMS out there that runs on WordPress called SenseiLMS. And I swear to God, we’re not sponsored by them, or at least I’m not sponsored by them. But particularly for Imperial if my hunch is right, that they are hosted on WordPress, there are some really cool blocks that they can add. So it’s like it’s not quite a course. But it’s like interactive content that feels quite course-y, like flip cards and little quizzes and stuff like that. And just elements to make something a bit more interactive. This feels very much a brochure I think and it could be elevated to something slightly more interactive, perhaps. We should really, you know, I was thinking as we were talking about this, I know we’ve been pretty slapdash on getting guests arranged and things like that. There are schedules and all that sort of stuff. And what we’ll have to do is all of these ones, where we’re like, oh, they should comment and let us know. We should really try and do like a megamix where we try and get everybody who we’ve talked about coming and have their say, feels a little bit one-sided, and perhaps a little bit.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, a right of reply is probably a good way to go

Nathan Monk
Right to reply, There you go. I like that a lot. All right. Well, let’s, let’s wrap up there for this week. Thank you to all of our subscribers. Appreciate it. As always, it pushes us to go on further. And if you have enjoyed today’s show, please do consider dropping us a like. So that’s all for this week. And until next time. See you soon.

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Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer