We’ve talked previously about the rise in mature students in the past 18 months, and as a group, they’re beginning to get more of the attention they deserve. The UK government has recently pledged to increase adult skills funding, and the Office for Students is promising to drive greater flexibility and choice for mature students. So, with renewed focus on adult learning, how do you better engage prospective mature students from the offset?
Here’s 5 things to consider adopting for your website…
1. Be relevant - don’t alienate
Okay, we’ll say it… that’s no surprise. But, what we’re actually referring to is delivering a tailored content journey for your site users before you’ve had to clear the hurdle of gaining their contact details (so think tailored, relevant content at the top end of the funnel).
One way of doing this is by using subtle prompts across your website, to find out about a particular user as they’re browsing – without asking for a form completion. These prompts (that we like to call "cues") can enable a user browsing your site to make it known that they’re an adult learner, meaning you can then guide them towards content that’s highly relevant for mature students. In the same vein, you can also strip out any irrelevant content from their journey through your site.
2. Show flexibility
If a user indicates they’re an adult learner and you’ve guided them towards top-level mature student content, then think about what content will be most appropriate next. Mature students often have bigger responsibilities and multiple commitments, so ask them what kind of flexibility they need, e.g., part-time study options, and then respond accordingly by sharing information about flexible study.
3. Get practical
So, a user’s let you know they’re an adult learner and they need to study flexibly. Now, you know more about them, you can begin showing them the content that will help them really make it happen. Using cues, you can ask quick and simple questions about what practical support they might need, e.g., if they’ll need on-campus childcare. And as you get the answers, you can narrow down the focus of content, which in this instance would be guiding them towards your childcare content.
4. Be understanding
It’s important to be aware of the different motivators and feelings for mature students in comparison to students entering higher education at 18 years old. Some may have never been encouraged to consider higher education in their younger years, and others might have had personal circumstances that didn’t allow them to pursue it. Whatever the factors, you need to be supportive and encouraging.
Our ‘snippets’ tool is designed to subtly pop-up messaging from within a content-heavy web page, as a way of reinforcing key points and adding a more interactive feel to the browsing experience. Because snippets respond to a user’s behaviour and interaction with your content, they provide a personal ‘in the moment’ feel, almost as though someone is there with you.
So, in this scenario they could be a great way to affirm a tentative adult learner. For example, if you know a user is a prospective mature student and they’re browsing content all about part-time study, you could flash up a snippet to simply say, ‘Lots of our mature students opt for part-time study, it’s a great way to balance everything.’ This kind of nurturing technique is great for adding a human touch and showing ‘in the moment’ empathy with your audience.
5. Respect a busy schedule
Enable prospective mature students to save time and pick up where they last left off on your site. This means using what they’ve indicated in the past to strip out irrelevant content as soon as they land on your site. It positions them further along your content journey and continually offers more value with each site visit. For example, if a user has previously indicated their expected year of entry, make sure the content they’re served is filtered to match that year.
Interested in using cues on your website? Contact us today!