Evidence-Based Innovation Blog

Is Your MBA Website A Haunted House?

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 8:30:00 AM

haunted house   web blogWith Halloween fast approaching, it’s that time of year when thrill seekers get their adrenaline pumping at haunted houses throughout the country. And, if there was ever any question about the best places to get spooked, haunted attractions have joined business schools, consumer goods, and celebrities as yet another subject of media rankings.  From Screamworld in Houston to The House of Horrors in Buffalo, Reader’s Digest has it all covered in the 11 Best Haunted Houses Across the Country.

While these scary attractions are great fun at Halloween, there are far too many websites that resemble haunted houses all year long.  To ensure that your business school website doesn’t frighten off candidates, here are four seasonal tips to bewitch prospects with the magic of your program:

1. Is your Website a Labyrinth?

Haunted houses are famous for winding corridors, twists and turns.  However, don’t lead MBA prospects down secret passageways to hidden doors.  Make sure that your website is easy to navigate.  Prospective business school students are busy professionals and they have a lot of choices for graduate education.  Make sure it is convenient for them to get the information they need and move them promptly to a call to action whether it is registering for an information session or completing an application.  

Also, mobile web traffic is expected to be five times the volume of desktop web traffic within the next few years.  Make sure your website is mobile friendly and regularly check your web analytics to see how many people are using mobile devices.  Content should present well on smartphones and tablets.  Be clear and concise.  Make each word count.

 2. Does your Content Turn Visitors into Zombies?

From admissions requirements to curriculum, there is a lot of information to get across on a business school website, but it doesn’t need to be boring.  Make sure that the content is interesting and considers the perspective of the prospective MBA student.  In other words, think of how your program can solve their problem whether it is advancing their career, transitioning to a new industry, or developing leadership skills and financial acumen.  Show that you understand their needs and goals.  

Also, present the benefits of your programs as well as the features.  Costumes are fun for Halloween, but don't disguise the advantages of your business school. Answer these questions:  

1) Why is it important to pursue an MBA right now? 

2) What will happen if a prospect doesn't attend your program? 

3) What is the unique value proposition of your business school? 

Throughout the website, use persuasive content that propels candidates through the admissions pipeline and creates a sense of urgency.  Above all, you want to craft messaging that casts a spell on candidates to turn them into applicants.   

3. Does Your Design Have Strobe Lights & Fog Machines?

The reason people go to haunted houses is because they are exciting and entertaining.  The best ones have special effects and thrills around every corner.  Make sure your website is fun and engaging with plenty of visuals.  Don't cloak it in darkness.  Incorporate colorful photos and captivating images throughout the website.  Include video testimonials and other interactive features.  Have state of the art calls to action for Skype sessions and online chats with MBA Admissions officers.  Use animation to capture the attention of visitors and bring your program to life. 

4. Are Your Prospects Greeted by Ghosts?

Instead of a generic contact address like admissions@businessschool.com, make sure your website has phone numbers and email addresses of key members of the recruitment team.  Imagine you are a prospective student searching business schools and one program has the names, photos, and contact details of their admissions team and the other one doesn’t.  Which school appears more personable and welcoming?  Think about how your business school website looks compared to your competitors.  Also, consider putting profiles of key recruitment personnel on the site with biographies and interests to make a personal connection.  Check out this great example.  

During this Halloween season, review your business school website to see if it is handing out more tricks-or-treats to MBA prospects all year round.


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Barbara Coward, author of this article, is a marketing communications consultant at Percept Research.  Barbara welcomes your questions and comments.

Topics: Barbara Coward, Admissions, Marketing Strategy