How A/B Testing Failures Reveal Bigger Opportunities

Failing Forward: Unlock Hidden Insights

As marketers we are always pushing to grow, break new ground, and stay ahead of our competition. We may test a new advertising approach, a different angle on a value proposition, build channel partnerships, or realign our marketing for performance and growth.

An area perhaps less explored is when bright ideas fail to live up to expectations. Testing is a science but mostly it’s trial and error where breakthroughs come by being curious around the why-of-things, especially when results flop.

Understanding your prospects at their level and being able to communicate to their needs and aspirations is the foundation of all great breakthroughs

In a recent landing page test for Google Ads, we started to notice some common trends for expensive to market programs that had commonality among competition. Most schools were running these programs, Google search advertising was expensive and cost per leads were higher than we wanted for our clients. We were having some breakthrough success across other program landing page tests, improving conversion rates by 30% on average, so we adopted a similar approach to what we’ve called our “problem programs.” Think teenage angst.

Pages were built with a new design, rewritten, and expectations were high. To our surprise and disappointment, the tests dropped performance and increased cost per lead so we stopped the test to protect ROI.

You can go two ways with a situation like this:

  1. Determine that the control is the better version and carry on to a new test
  2. Question why performance went in the opposite direction we wanted

In many ways, conversion rate optimization analysts will forgo the failure and move on to something new. The tendency is to seek the win, which is great, but often that win or insight can be hidden in the failure.

We tend to lean in on curiosity.

Since Virtual Advisor encapsulates the stories behind a prospects’ journey, we started to dig into the data we had on those programs. We also questioned if the program value proposition wasn’t aligned with where the prospect was in their journey.

Were they already invested in the career? Were they just starting their research? Why are they inquiring now? To help answer these questions, we decided to use our form technology to trigger a seamless survey on a second step form. We then combined that data with Virtual Advisor’s quantitative and qualitative data on these programs and started to uncover some blind spots in our copywriting.

In most instances, our prospects had been thinking about the career for some time, in many cases years. The pandemic has been an interesting catalyst for many folks looking to explore a different path in their lives. The knowledge that the career path is not new to them and they have done their research prompted us to reframe how we spoke to them in our copy.

We’re currently on iteration #3 for this test and will likely have results in the new year but the point is not necessarily about the end result in this case. It got our wheels turning around leveraging our form technology and aligning Virtual Advisor user data to improve your school’s conversion rates in other ways we hadn’t thought of before exploring why our tests had failed.

Understanding your prospects at their level and being able to communicate to their needs and aspirations is the foundation of all great breakthroughs.

Any insights you can attain to further your understanding and have more meaningful conversations, online and offline, is a recipe for great things. Combine that with seamless technology to foster a supportive user experience, it begins to get really interesting.

This will be one of the sessions at our 3rd Enrollment Builder Best-Practice Virtual Conference – we would love to see you there!

[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.

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[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.

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“35% Growth In Enrollments And Millions Saved In Advertising”

"We recently experienced a 35% growth in enrollments in our last start over the same period last year. Lead flow from our website and Google Ad campaigns are at an all-time high and lead quality has dramatically improved." - Shaun Daggett, Director of Marketing at IntelliTec College, speaking about his experience with Enrollment Resources

Would you say this about your current marketing partners? If not, we should talk.

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The Hidden Motivations Of Your Prospective Students

Enrollment Resources recently compiled data from over 125,000 prospective students who had completed a detailed online survey delving into their goals, frustrations, motivations and current life/work situations. We call this the “Career Training Readiness Quiz” (powered by our Virtual Adviser software). It is designed to do two things: Engage prospective students on the school’s website to help generate additional leads – typically a 30 percent bump in website generated lead flow – and help the prospective student understand if they are a fit for vocational education. Roughly 2.2 percent of unique visitors to a typical school’s website will engage with this survey.

The sample represented about 90 school systems across the U.S. and Canada with a wide variety of programs, including both male- and female-dominated programs.

Our analysis of the results has uncovered fascinating insights into career education prospective students, including where they are in their buying process, their dominant personality styles and how to communicate with them effectively, and the number one motivating trigger driving their buying decisions. Read more

Why SIS gets a failing grade in Enrollment Management

By Martin Lind, Velocify Inc.

According to a recent New York Times article, enrollment numbers for 2012-2013 dropped 2% from the previous year, the first significant decrease since the 1990s. Though those declining numbers will not likely affect top tier schools, less popular traditional schools may soon be forced into the unfamiliar position of competing for students. A number of potential pitfalls await traditional schools being pushed into this unfamiliar territory. This is especially true when it comes to the enrollment management tools required to compete effectively.

For many schools, the default tool is their Student Information System (SIS), a common catch-all for everything.

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[Case Study] Federico Beauty Institute – Enrollment Management

Partnership with Enrollment Resources Brings Beauty School Reduced Costs & Increased Enrollment

logoFederico Beauty Institute is a third-generation, family-owned and operated beauty institution that has taught Cosmetology, Esthetics and Barbering in California for over 60 years. Tired of having their advertising leads siphoned by large schools with higher ad budgets and more brand presence, the team at Federico reached out to an agency.

With the agency’s assistance the school established some online presence including pay-per-click advertising. The agency helped the school get into online marketing, but they also owned everything – from landing pages to Google Adwords campaigns. Read more