With an online course booking website, you can take course bookings around the clock but how many visitors are converting into paying customers? According to the Conversion Benchmark Report by Unbounce, the average conversion rate for companies in the education field is 5.8%, which means 94% of visitors coming to your website never complete a booking.

Those aren’t great numbers when you’re investing good money into marketing strategies designed to bring business opportunities to your website. In this article, we look at seven ways you can optimise your site to increase online course booking conversions.

#1: Use a quality online course booking system

The first thing you need to maximise conversions is a quality online course booking system on your website. User experience is crucial here and you want a system that integrates with your site seamlessly – one that makes it easy for visitors to complete bookings and payments.

You want a checkout process that looks feels like a native part of your website, allowing visitors to book multiple courses and review their cart before completing the purchase.

An example of customised shopping cart using Dante's course booking system

Make sure you have a booking system that supports payments gateways so you can accept card payments online. Currently, Dante supports Worldpay and Opayo with support for Stripe coming soon, which covers you for just about every card and online payment solution – so customers can book with their preferred payment method.

#2: Make your forms shorter

As a training provider, capturing customer information is a crucial part of securing bookings and managing accounts. Unfortunately, filling out online forms is a pain for users and long forms can introduce friction that forces many users to give up before they complete the booking.

Try to keep your forms as short as possible for the initial booking and request additional information once the booking is complete. You can capture all of the data you need through automated follow-up emails, meaning your team doesn’t need to get involved in chasing up information. This leaves you with a fast, easy booking process without any compromises on the data you’re able to capture and use.

When taking online payments, please remember to check with your payment merchant to ensure you meet the guidelines as the majority will require certain pieces of information such as address or email as standard.

#3: Show accurate, up-to-date course information

The whole point of an online booking system is to allow coordinators and delegates to book courses instantly. So you need to provide up-to-date information on each course so they can make an informed decision and click the book button. If you’ve got prospects calling up to check whether places are still available on a course, your booking system is falling short.

Always show accurate information for course dates, times, locations and availability so people know they can complete the booking right away.

You need a system that automatically updates this information so that, as places are booked up, the number of available places is shown on each course page. In Dante’s Delegate Planner, we offer a wide variety of APIs and plugins for displaying course information so visitors always know what they’re booking.

#4: Track drop-offs with Google Analytics

In Google Analytics, you can create Custom Funnels to analyse the customer journey and the performance of your online booking system. Crucially, you can use this tool to track drop-offs along the funnel (instances where users who start who booking process quit before completing the booking) and optimise your system to improve performance.

For example, you can compare the number of users who start filling out your forms vs the number of users who successfully complete them to determine whether they need improving, as we suggested above.

Here are some other common drop-offs you may detect in Google Analytics:

  • Course pages: A low percentage of CTA button clicks on course pages suggests you need to improve the content, provide more information and/or optimise your CTAs.
  • Checkout process: Drop-offs here could result from poor UX, additional costs, or a lack of trust signals building confidence.
  • Payments: Low-quality gateways, security concerns, lacking payment support, poor integration with your website and a range of factors can cause drop-offs at the crucial payment stage.

With Google Analytics, you can identify gaps in your funnel and the causes of drop-offs at each stage of the booking process. This data tells you what you need to test/optimise to close the gaps in your funnel and increase the percentage of prospects who successfully book a course.

#5: Optimise loading times

Website loading times are one of the biggest influences upon conversion rates across all industries with some studies showing conversion rates drop by more than 4% with every second it takes for a page to load. Loading times are important throughout the course booking process – from the time it tasks for the initial course page to load, to the speed of the checkout and payment systems that follow.

Any holdups throughout these stages of the booking process will have a negative impact on your conversion rates.

Here are some of the most important steps you can take to optimise loading times:

  • Use a fast, secure hosting service
  • Minimise server requests
  • Minify website files (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.)
  • Optimise media files (images, video, etc.)
  • Enable caching
  • Use JavaScript sparingly
  • Test plugins and integrations (eg: payment gateways)

Fats page speeds will increase the percentage of users who successfully complete each stage of the booking process and they’ll also help you capture more leads, to begin with. Google prioritises fast websites in search and its most recent Core Web Vitals and page experience updates mean loading times (and the responsiveness of page elements) are more important than ever.

#6: Help prospects book courses

All of the tips we’ve looked at in this article broadly focus on making it easier for visitors to book courses on your website. You can take this even further by implementing tools that address the more unique needs of individual prospects.

For example, one visitor could be a delegate who attended a course with a different provider but moved before they were able to pass the theory and practical test. This individual is probably wondering whether they need to start again with a new provider or if they can jump right to the theory and practical, having already completed the same or similar course.

If you understand the most common questions your target audience has, you can answer them with on-page FAQ sections – and these are great tools for addressing key points that help people make booking decisions. However, it’s impossible to answer every question on one page so you might want to explore live chat and chatbot systems that allow prospects to ask any questions they have and allow you to address their concerns without losing potential leads.

A great one we’ve used that offers a free service for up to 3 sales reps and even an app on your phone to pick up messages is Tidio.

#7: Nurture leads & repeat bookings

If you’ve followed all of the steps we’ve looked at in this article so far, you should be in a good position to maximise online bookings. Now, you’re getting to the point where your website is at peak performance but you have to deal with the fact that not everyone is ready to make the booking right away – no matter how easy you make it for them.

You need to have strategies in place to keep the connection alive with these prospects so you can nurture their interests and encourage them to book at a later date.

PPC is an effective channel for this because you can use remarketing campaigns to target previous visitors – both from your paid ads and organic search. This allows you to show ads to previous visitors and tempt them back, such as promotional ads for specific course pages they visited.

You can also use a combination of content marketing and email marketing to capture signups from lead generation content (blogs, guides, downloads, etc.) and deliver automated email campaigns to nurture their interest. For example, you might capture leads with advice on how to cut recruitment costs, retain talent or increase training pass rates. All of these topics are relevant to training and your services – to varying degrees – meaning every email signup has the potential to book training courses in the future.

With Dante’s Training CRM and built-in email system, you can nurture high volumes of leads into potential customers, even if they’re not ready to make the booking today.

If you wish to know more?

Contact Dante Systems to find out how we can make a noticeable difference to the way you add convenience and revenue to your course booking system. Request your free trial with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Telephone: 0117 405 8158. Email: enquiries@dante.co.uk