[Case Study] How This 4 Campus College Saved 43% On Their Lead Generation And Increased Inquiries By 109%

The Managing Partner of a four-campus Career College in British Columbia, Canada, wanted to increase the volume and quality of leads generated through digital advertising. This Case Study shows what happened with their first agency, then looks at the results after the Enrollment Resources Conversion Team took control.

After taking over the account, the Enrollment Resources Conversion Team increased conversions by 197% while decreasing cost per conversion by 43% in 6 months. With A/B testing, the Team continues to increase inquiries and find growth opportunities.

After taking over the account, the Enrollment Resources Conversion Team increased conversions by 197% while decreasing cost per conversion by 43% in 6 months. With A/B testing, the Team continues to find growth opportunities.

Goals

  • Increase inquiries and lead quality generated through digital advertising.
  • Increase landing page conversion rate without increasing budget.  

Approach

  • Created new landing pages aligned by geography and keyword.
  • Built a Google Ads keyword framework to leverage Google’s AI and Machine Learning for better traffic flow and relevance to the College’s programs. 
  • Adjusted campaigns to align with the needs of each campus.
  • A/B tested advertising copy, creative, and landing page elements, including headlines.

Results Within 6 Months

  • Click to lead conversion rate increased 197% in Google Search and Search Partner Networks.
  • Leads increased by 109%.
  • Cost per conversion dropped 43%.

Results 1 Year Later

  • 260% increase in leads on search to lead inquiries.
  • Cost per lead dropped 50.56%.
  • 12% lead to enrollment rate in the second quarter of 2020 — their best yet.
  • The College exceeded all lead goals, including the prior agency’s estimations, for the first time in their account.

The Situation

The first agency hired to manage the College’s Google Ads account included estimates for lead generation in their proposal that far exceeded estimates in other proposals by a significant margin, including Enrollment Resources’. Within three months, it became clear that the agency would not deliver anywhere near the number or quality of leads they promised.

After six months, monthly review meetings became a point of frustration. Lead reports provided by the agency did not match the information recorded in the College’s CRM, and communications between the College and the agency became defensive and unproductive.  

The College could see that inquiries recorded through phone calls were incredibly high compared to those through online forms. The agency claimed this indicated increased lead volume through phone calls. However, few leads were found to be qualified after phone-tracked leads were validated.

The Admissions Team had to self-generate leads to keep busy. Instead of a steady flow of qualified inquiries through Google Ads, reports showed that searches directly for the college’s brand generated most of the leads.

After twelve months of steady decline in lead quality and conversions, the Managing Partner of the College pushed for an alternative solution and convinced the stakeholders to make a change. The Enrollment Resources Conversion Team took over the account.  

The Approach – A Strong Keyword Foundation Is Key To Machine Learning Performance

The Conversion Team at Enrollment Resources — leaders in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Higher Education Search Marketing — had always been the Marketing Partner’s top choice. The Team began by performing a marketing conversion audit to uncover opportunities in the College’s website conversion rates, SEO impact, paid search performance, and landing page performance. They compared the College’s performance against the best practices Enrollment Resources has developed over a decade of testing and research innovation in the EDU space.

Audit results showed that the campaigns set up by the previous agency were loosely structured with broad keywords, and that most were built on a single keyword with poor quality scores. While the account structure drove traffic, that traffic didn’t convert into qualified leads. In addition, the majority of leads generated from search campaigns came from searches of the college’s brand name instead of expanding awareness for qualified inquiries through Google Ads. Not an effective growth strategy.

To increase traffic flow and relevance to the College’s programs, the Conversion Team built out a brand new keyword framework inside Google Ads that leveraged Google’s AI and Machine Learning. To further increase conversions, the team also built new landing pages aligned by geography and keyword for each ad.

The relationship between the Conversion Team and the College was one of collaboration. The Team worked closely with the Managing Partner to adjust campaigns to align with the needs of each campus while continuing to build traffic and lead flow consistency.

The Results – 109% Increase In Leads And 43% Reduction In Cost Per Lead

Within the first six months of Enrollment Resources taking over Google Ads management, the College saw drastic improvements in their digital marketing lead generation.

  • Click to lead conversion rate increased by 197% in Google Search and Search Partner Networks.
  • Leads increased by 109%.
  • Cost per conversion dropped 43%.

The primary driver of these results is the consistent iterative A/B testing done by the Conversion Team. Using insights and performance data from Google Ads and our landing pages, the team tests as rapidly as possible, immediately applying new best practices to every client account.

Continued Growth With Virtual Adviser Landing Pages

Over the past year, the Enrollment Resources Conversion Team also upgraded the College’s account to our new Virtual Adviser Landing Page Module. The Landing Page module seamlessly connects the best-practice landing pages we’ve developed with all Pay Per Click (PPC) data points and technological advancements within Virtual Adviser, including increased page usability, speed scores, user engagement tools, and multiple pathways to inquiry. 

The combination of the new Virtual Adviser Landing Pages, the Conversion Team’s ongoing Google Ads management, and the collaborative relationship has continued to drive growth for the College. They have exceeded all lead goals — including the prior agency’s ambitious estimations — and reached a lead to enrollment rate of 12% in the second quarter of 2020. That’s the College’s best enrollment rate yet!

  • 260% increase in leads on search to lead inquiries.
  • Cost per lead dropped 50.56%.
  • 12% lead to enrollment rate in the second quarter of 2020 — their best yet.
  • The College exceeded all lead goals, including the prior agency’s estimations, for the first time in their account.

Learn How To Increase Lead Quality And Prospective Inquiries With Landing Page Testing

The average performance of Google Ad groups across our client base showed a 25% to 30% increase in leads and a similar or better decrease in cost per lead after upgrading Google Ads with our new Virtual Adviser Landing Pages. 

Learn more about how the new Virtual Adviser Landing Pages can help your school reach your enrollment goals.