[Case Study] How A Colorado College Drastically Reduced Their Marketing Budgets And Grew Enrollment By 35%

The marketing budget of a multi-campus Colorado Technical College had grown over six figures invested into both traditional media and digital marketing channels. The Managing Directors wanted to increase inquiries and lead quality generated through their website and digital advertising and decrease their reliance on pay per lead providers. This Case Study shows what happened with their first agency, then looks at the results after Enrollment Resources Paid Search Team took control.

Goals

  • Increase inquiries and lead quality generated through their website and digital advertising.
  • Decrease their reliance on pay per lead providers.

Approach

  • After taking over the Google ads management from their prior agency, the Enrollment Resources Paid Search Team refocused the College’s budgets on high ROI traffic.
  • Created new landing pages with content focused on the prospective student and providing multiple conversion pathways to assist the prospects’ journey.
  • Restructured the College’s Google Ad account so that 80% of the budget now supports a high search intent strategy.

Results

  • Within one month of taking over the Google ads management from their prior agency, the Enrollment Resources Paid Search Team increased Google Search Network inquiries by 16% and dropped their cost per lead by 8%.
  • After three months, leads were up 191%, with a 7% reduction in cost per lead. Admissions staff were excited by the increase in lead quality, and enrollments began to rise.
  • In 6 months, the College exceeded enrollment goals with a 35% increase in starts, leads from program related Google search were up by 337% over the previous period, and cost per lead dropped 23%.
After taking over the account in April 2019, the Enrollment Resources PPC Team increased conversions by 191% in 6 months, and with A/B testing, continue to find growth opportunities.

After taking over the account in April 2019, the Enrollment Resources PPC Team increased conversions by 191% in 6 months, and with A/B testing, continue to find growth opportunities.

The Situation – A Website Redesign With A Host Of New Problems

The College underwent a new website redesign expecting to see more inquiries for their admissions teams. Their agency at the time was running brand awareness campaigns through both traditional media and paid digital channels but the College was still dependent on pay per lead providers to keep their admissions teams busy.

With high expectations, the new website went live, and the agency expanded upon the existing traditional and digital campaigns to broaden awareness. Within a few weeks, it was clear something was wrong because website leads were in a steady decline. The College’s Marketing Director had to scramble to provide leads to their admissions team by purchasing more from paid lead providers until the problem could be identified and corrected.

Month over month, their website leads continued to drop steadily and their SEO rankings took a hit. The returns on the branding campaigns were dismal as well: the Cost Per Lead (CPL) on their Google Ad account was increasing, but lead inquiries were not. Costs were rising and the ROI was not supporting the investment. They needed a solution and fast!

A Fresh Approach, Some New Eyes, And A Measuring Stick

The College’s Managing Directors reached out to the Conversion Team at Enrollment Resources — leaders in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Education Search Marketing. Our Conversion Team performed 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 we have developed over a decade of testing and research innovation in the EDU space.

The audit revealed gaps in the College’s search marketing strategy, highlighting missing low-funnel traffic, which directly impacts Lead To Enrollment. Audit results showed that most of the traffic funneled through their Google Ad account was mid- and top-funnel brand awareness campaign traffic.

The landing pages created by their previous agency were typical of most agencies with copy focused heavily on the College’s attributes. The prospective student was left out of the conversation.

After analyzing the results of the audit, our Conversion Team developed a new strategy to refocus the College’s budgets on high ROI traffic. They created new landing pages with content focused on the prospective student and included multiple conversion pathways to assist the prospects’ journey. Next, they restructured the College’s Google Ad account so that 80% of the budget now supports a high search intent strategy.

Confident in the new data-based strategy, the College’s Managing Directors went all-in, cutting investment from all traditional media and funneling their marketing dollars into the newly managed Google Ad account.

The Result – 35% Increase In Enrollment In The First 6 Months

After moving to Enrollment Resources, the College was able to cut their traditional media advertising budget by millions of dollars and were able to not only maintain their lead flow but also grew prospect inquiries month over month. They experienced a 35% growth in enrollments in the last start over the same period the previous year. Lead flow from both the website and Google Ad campaigns increased, and lead quality dramatically improved.

The Enrollment Resources PPC Team increased Google Ads lead inquiries 63% in the first 6 months.

The Enrollment Resources PPC Team increased Google Ads lead inquiries 63% in the first 6 months.

  • Within one month of taking over the Google ads management from their prior agency, the Enrollment Resources paid search team increased Google Search Network inquiries by 16% and dropped their cost per lead by 8%.
  • After three months, leads were up 191%, with a 7% reduction in cost per lead. Admissions staff were excited by the increase in lead quality, and enrollments began to rise.
  • In 6 months, the College exceeded enrollment goals with a 35% increase in starts, leads from non-branded Google searches were up by 337% over the previous period, and cost per lead dropped 23%.

The College’s Director of Marketing attributed their success and rapid turnaround to the responsiveness and agile mindset of the Conversion Team at Enrollment Resources. The Team nimbly leveraged best practice EDU campaigns, collaborated closely with the College in weekly performance discussions, and empowered the College’s marketing and admissions for success.

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