What is the Cost of Missed Opportunity?
October 1st, 2019
We've all heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Turns out, according to the Harvard Study of Communications, it takes only seven seconds for a person to make their first impression. Now when applied to face-to-face social interactions, there is a built-in assumption that there may be a future encounter -- an opportunity to further a good impression or at least attempt to correct a negative one. When a prospective family is considering a school, however, there may not be a second chance.
The Crucial Importance of Your School’s Website
Where is the first place that parents go to evaluate a school? It’s the school’s website, of course. In this world of technology and instant information, parents expect schools to have an online presence. In fact, it’s hard to find a school that doesn’t have a website. But just how important is a school’s website?
Similar to our first impressions of other human beings, we also make snap judgments of websites. But it’s worse than you think! While it takes roughly 7 seconds to assess another person, research shows it takes even less time for website visitors to make a first impression of your website and choose to stay and read more … or move on to the next school
What if a parent’s first visit to your website is uninspiring? The website may be unimpressive... outdated...unattractive. Parents will move on to the next website quickly and your school will be unfairly disqualified before ever having the chance to schedule a visit and talk to the parents and students about everything that makes your school great. This is not just a hypothetical possibility; it is a certainty. There’s no second chance -- your school’s website MUST make a good first impression!
Qualities of a Great School Website
If you have only seconds to make a good first impression with your website, it’s vital that it features qualities you want to convey about your school.
Before a parent or student physically sets foot in your school, your website is an opportunity for a virtual visit. Just as in a physical tour of your school, you want the virtual tour (website) to highlight your school's best qualities, provide a sense of welcoming to the school community, represent its values, vision and personality, and promote its strengths. You want it to exemplify your commitment to keep up with technology and be relevant to today’s students. You want your website to paint the best image of your school.
It doesn’t stop there. You also want your website to be a valuable resource -- an information hub -- for current students and parents. It should be the go-to source for a variety of information surrounding your school, including announcements, directories, calendars, team schedules, exam postings, and online forms that parents may need.
And more than just a static site of information—an online brochure or prospectus – you want you your school’s website to encourage communication, engagement and social interaction. It should be mobile-friendly and offer a portal where everyone can see students being inspired and motivated every day of their school life.
The Cost of a Bad Website
Some school administrators may query, “What is the cost of a good website?” The better question is: What is the ultimate cost of a bad website?
Like many schools, you may be contemplating a website redesign and weighing its value. Is it really worth the investment? Keep this in mind… websites generally only have a lifespan of two-to-three years. Your prospective parents and students can easily tell when your website hasn’t been updated in awhile -- and they may view this as a reflection of your school’s ability to keep current in general. In today’s ever-changing world of high technology, the image of being behind the times could be disastrous for your school’s success.
So what is the cost of losing just one student to a bad website? First, calculate the annual tuition multiplied by the number of years the child will attend your school. Now consider the loss of the student’s other siblings and referrals to the school. The number gets big… fast! And that’s just one lost student’s financial footprint. What about the other students you lost to an outdated website? Now you can see the enormous cost of having a bad website.. the price of a missed opportunity.
Your website is the most important communication vehicle for recruiting students (as well as recruiting good qualified teachers) and it is the very first, critical visit to your school during which subconscious pre-qualification of your school takes place. It is unequivocally worth the investment.
It’s Worse than You Think: The All-Important First Impression
You only have seconds to make a great impression on your prospective parents and students. A vibrant, attractive, informative website that’s also mobile-friendly and encourages social interaction is vital to your school’s continuing success. Make sure your website makes that all- important first impression is a great one. If not, the ultimate price may be worse than you think.