Small Changes Make a Big Difference: A Website Transformation for Pincushion Hill Montessori
- Website Audit
- Montessori Website Re-Design
- Purposeful Content
- Community Feedback
- Website Support
The online presence of Montessori schools plays a pivotal role in attracting prospective families and effectively growing enrollment by engaging mission-aligned families. By implementing subtle changes and leveraging automations, a website transformation can not only enhance a school's digital footprint but also contribute significantly to conversions and growth.
About Pincushion Hill Montessori School
Pincushion Hill Montessori School was established on September 6, 1962, on an acre of organic farmland in Green St. Ashland Massachusetts. Pincushion Hill Montessori School is a diverse community of teachers, parents, and children working together for the education of the child, using the authentic Montessori method. They serve children ages 18 months through 6 years, providing a rich learning environment based on the belief that all children can reach their personal and academic potential.
Pincushion Hill Montessori School educates children using the authentic Montessori approach which is a multi-sensory curriculum that allows for individualized teaching and for students to learn and be challenged at their own pace as they develop academically. They are a community that fosters self-confidence, leadership, diversity, and respect for self and others. Pincushion Hill encourages students to grow as self-motivated, intellectually engaged learners who will serve their larger communities as both accomplished students and ambassadors of peace. Their students develop strong connections to gardening and nature. This important understanding and connection to nature, wonder, and beauty are integrated into the outdoor classroom.
Since opening their doors in 1962, Pincushion Hill has become a pillar of their local community providing families with a quality Montessori foundation for life. To run their programs to the best capacity, they were hoping to attract more mission-aligned prospective families in order to fill their programs and build a stronger and more connected community. They began their partnership with Nido Marketing in November of 2023 in hopes of transforming their website into an admissions powerhouse.
Strategy and Planning: Before the Work Begins
Comprehensive Montessori Website Audit
Our partnership with Pinchusion Hill Montessori kicked off with a thorough audit of their existing website. The audit focused on user experience, content relevance, and overall design aesthetics. This evaluation identified areas for improvement and set the stage for a strategic redesign.
During this process, our team of Montessori marketing experts and web developers can work together to identify some re-design opportunities. We also worked closely with the leadership team at Pincushion Hill Montessori to ensure that the re-design would be aligned with their vision and school identity. Here is what we evaluated during the website auditing process:
User-Centric Design: Understanding that the website is often the first point of contact for prospective families, the design team focused on creating a user-centric experience. A clean, intuitive design was implemented, ensuring easy navigation and quick access to essential information such as programs, admissions, and the Montessori philosophy. We also felt that Pincushion Hill's original website should have been easier to navigate on a smartphone as many families and prospective families are now using phones and tablets for web searches.
Storytelling Through Imagery and Content: Engaging storytelling was woven into the fabric of the website. Pincushion Hill had a lot of "text" content on their website which was highly informative to families... but the overall layout made the website feel text-heavy. High-quality images capturing real moments within the classrooms are sometimes more effective when it comes to storytelling. We wanted to include more high-quality imagery coupled with compelling content on their new website to convey the unique atmosphere and educational experience that they were offering. The goal was to evoke emotions and provide an authentic glimpse into the school's culture.
Automation: When a website has automation, it means that it can work on admissions 24/7. We felt that adding automated tour scheduling would help Pincushion Hill make conversions directly on their website more consistently. On their original website, they had a "learn more" button... but we felt there needed to be more CTA's and more opportunities for visitors to engage with the content on their website.
Montessori Website Re-Design
After meeting with the Pincushion Hill leadership team to discuss these areas of opportunity, we got to work on their website re-design process. Here's the transformation:
On the original homepage, visitors would have to scroll to see the first CTA which was a "learn more" button, followed by a "contact us" to schedule a tour. A CTA should always be front and center on a school website so that visitors can be directed to engage. There were large walls of text and some outdated graphics and images. Parents would also have to email or contact the school directly to schedule the tour. This creates an additional obstacle for families, especially for ones that might not have the ability to contact the school during hours of operation.
On the new homepage for Pincushion Hill, we made sure to include a CTA front and center so it is one of the first things a visitor notices when visiting the website. They are invited to "schedule a tour" on the homepage, or from the navigation bar. When families schedule a tour, they will receive personalized communication from the school automatically. Tailoring interactions based on user behavior not only increased engagement but also built a more meaningful connection with prospective families. We also opted for updated images and graphics and made sure the brand colors were consistent throughout the homepage and website.
On the new homepage, we made sure to include the following content to inform visitors about the unique benefits of Montessori and what the Pincushion community had to offer:
- About Us: It's great to state your mission front and center to connect with mission-aligned families from the start.
- Program Overview: It's great to give a summary and breakdown of the programs you offer at your Montessori school so parents can see if you provide the necessary services for them.
- Why Montessori: Parents should learn from you directly why Montessori is so beneficial and the right choice for several families.
- Testimonials: It's important to share social proof and success stories directly on your website so that prospective families can see what your community has done to others.
- Admissions Process Overview: It's nice to include a breakdown of the application process so that parents know what to expect and don't feel overwhelmed.
- Blog: Show off your blog section on your homepage so that parents can engage with your parent ed content and learn more about the Montessori approach and the lasting benefits of a Montessori education directly from your school website.
- Lead Generator: It's great to include a fun and informative lead generator as a way to engage families, offer value, build trust, and gain important contact information from interested prospective families.
Program Information Page
Before their website transformation, the Pincushion Hill Montessori website program page had little information for parents who were curious about their programs. Here are some things we noticed about their program page that needed some improvement:
- Large walls of text: There was not a lot of imagery on this page, and the text formatting felt intimidating. It's best to use subheadings and graphics to break up large bodies of text to make the content more approachable.
- Lack of quality content: The content on the page left a lot to be answered and did not break down the program to parents who might not be familiar with Montessori. It's important to provide purposeful content on program information pages and keep in mind that many visitors are new to the Montessori approach and will need some more background information. There was no information about the days of the week and times that the program was available for either.
- There was no social proof: It's always important to offer some social proof or testimonials that can connect to each program. Prospective families want to know that this program was beneficial to other children and families.
On the new program information page, we made sure to include more dynamic imagery and to format the content so that it had an effective and approachable flow for website visitors. Here are the changes we made:
- Page formatting: We made sure to break up the text into sections so that parents felt invited to learn about the perks of the program. It's important to explain what the program entails as well as the unique benefits that it offers students. Subheadings and sectioning can make a huge difference when it comes to a website's layout and usability across devices.
- Purposeful content: On the new program information page, parents can get a lot of their burning questions about the program answered as well as gain new insights into the Montessori approach.
- Social Proof: Pincushion Hill had many great reviews and success stories to share. We made sure to include this in every program information page.
Pincushion's original website had the tuition and fees listed directly on the admissions page. As marketing experts, we actually advise schools to gate their tuition instead of listing it directly on their tuition page. This is because tuition is usually the piece of information that prospective parents want to know most, so it can be used as a great lead generator. When we re-designed Pincushion's new tuition page, we decided to gate it and make it one of their biggest lead generators.
On Pincushion's new website, we created a landing page full of content to help families understand the value of Montessori and how that justifies the cost of the programs. It's important to lead with what families will be receiving from your school community and what they will be missing out on if they choose a different path. Once parents read through the information we curated, they will be led to fill out a contact form to automatically receive a tuition overview with the pricing of each program. In return, Pincushion gets the contact information of interested families so that they can reach out to them and follow up with an invitation to schedule a tour. This is a great way to grow their email list and collect valuable lead data.
On Pincushion's original website, the admissions page had a lot of text without a purposeful design. There was also the use of stock photography that did not connect to the Montessori brand. When large walls of text are used without the use of graphics, subheadings, and text blocking, the page can be tricky to navigate on smartphones and tablets. This can be an issue for prospective families visiting from those devices.
One of the critical aspects addressed on the new website was the admissions process. Recognizing that parents often find this journey daunting, the website incorporated an easy-to-navigate admissions section. On the new admissions page, we made sure to create a layout that made the text and content on the page approachable to visitors. The branding is consistent throughout the new website, this page included. At a glance, a prospective family can learn what to expect from each stage of the admissions process. They will also be able to schedule a tour directly from the school website.
Results and Impact
Positive User Feedback
The revamped website received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both current and prospective families. Users appreciated the intuitive design, informative content, and the ease with which they could navigate through various sections. Here's what the team at Pincushion Hill had to say:
"Our new website is so easy to navigate. Prospective parents can easily schedule a tour from our website. The new website has improved our admissions process. The Nido team was wonderful to work with. They listened to our needs and met them. I would recommend Nido to any Montessori school looking to improve their website or admissions process."
- Alison Petersen, Administrative Coordinator at Pincushion Hill Montessori School
Efficient Admissions Process
The implementation of the online application form and virtual tour scheduling feature streamlined the admissions process. This efficiency not only saved time for prospective families but also allowed the admissions team to focus on building meaningful connections with applicants.
Improved Community Engagement
The integration of social media platforms facilitated improved community engagement. Parents and staff could easily share updates, achievements, and event highlights, creating a sense of involvement and community spirit.
Increased Lead Generation & Enrollment Growth
With the implementation of automations and several forms throughout the Pincushion website, they have been able to generate more leads and increase engagement on their website. This will help them transform their marketing strategy and continue to grow their enrollment in the future.
Website & Client Support
We make sure to offer one-on-one guidance and a smooth onboarding process to all of our website and CRM clients. Our goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible. We understand that your school website is an extension of your school and mission, so it is crucial to work with someone who understands the needs of your unique community. We will answer all your questions and offer support when needed. The Pincushion team worked closely with one of our talented Client Success Managers, Paula Arcila. By working with Paula, the Pincushion team will always have a point of contact that understands their case and needs. Here's what Paula had to say about working with the Pincushion team:
"Alison and Christine collaborated closely with the CRM setup, their enthusiasm in helping with the setup of both the CRM and the website played a key role in accelerating our progress in launching the website. Working closely with them has been a pleasure as their kindness and support was evident at every stage. Additionally, it was incredibly gratifying to see their satisfaction with the website and I am delighted to continue working with them as Client Manager!"
- Paula Arcila, Nido Marketing Client Success Manager
A Lasting Partnership
We are thrilled that Pincushion has a website that reflects the amazing quality of their Montessori programs. We feel confident that with their new website, Pincushion Hill Montessori School will be able to grow its admissions and create a stronger community. We hope to continue partnering with Pincushion as they grow and expand their school programs and look forward to the possibility of offering more of our digital marketing services to their community.
Thank you to Pincushion Hill Montessori School for all that you do for your community and future generations!