We operate differently

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Image courtesy of Athabasca University. (Click to see the whole thing.)

Athabasca University pioneered distance education in Canada in the 1970s. Today, it uses landing pages to boost its online enrolment initiatives, including this example representing its 14 certificate programs. It’s a smart choice since landing pages allow AU to focus a visitor’s attention on a particular slice of its many online program offerings.

Industry: Education

Why it inspires…

  • Smart copy: It might be worth testing out a more direct headline, but the copy here matches the school’s other branding initiatives elsewhere. It’s also very sharp. The target is clear: people who might further their education but don’t feel they have time to pursue it. This landing page says otherwise (in words and in its hero image).
  • You-oriented copy: This page is all about me (or, uh, “you”) and not about the “Great and Powerful” Athabasca University. Marketers working in education understand the need to appeal to self-interest better than many of their counterparts in other industries, who can slip into bragging. I’m not sure what part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs calls for tech bro flexing, but AU does better by appealing to a desire for self-actualization.
  • Testimonials: A little bit of inspiration never hurts. Here, the social proof shows pathways to personal success before people make a significant investment. I’d test to see if doubling down doesn’t produce even better results here. Giving each testimonial more visibility and offering a smidge more biography—along with portraits to humanize them—might provide a little boost. (Of course, it might not. But that’s why we test!)
  • Z-pattern: This page is a classic example of a Z-pattern at work. That is—its visual hierarchy takes advantage of the way people typically scan a webpage. In this case, the eye is encouraged to travel from the Athabasca University logo to their tagline (“Open. Flexible. Everywhere.”), then diagonally across the heading to the supporting copy, and then finally right to the call to action. (Pow!) Other visual queues also encourage the eye to move down (including, cleverly, the pointed tip of Athabasca crest).

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