Marketing is a philosophy not a department. Never stray from this question: “How can we create a world class offering?”

Greener pastures

I saw in the news that a former client just closed their school. And though it’s been several years since we worked with them, I can’t help thinking it was all preventable…

During our tenure, we were generating about 120 inquiries a month from their website and paid search campaign. But management got dissatisfied and felt like they could do better, so we got fired and a new marketing vendor — let’s call them the fictitious Moxy Media — was brought in. Under Moxy’s stewardship they dropped down to 30 leads or so inquiries per month. Enrollments tanked and heads started to roll.

It would have been saveable, and we would have happily worked with them again, but the people we had relationships with were now gone.

I heard they’d tried a few other vendors, but couldn’t right the ship quick enough, and now they are out of business.

Another former client just reached out with a similar story:

They had moved on to greener pastures which had not worked out. Tried yet another vendor, which made things worse, and are now back with us, in a full on enrollment crisis and we are trying to salvage things.

There’s a lesson:

Services are not the same as products. They are not interchangeable — one company’s team and performance is not the same as another company’s team or performance. And change has consequences. Relationships and trust take time to form on both ends, and there are very meaningful differences in business practices between service providers.

For example, we have NEVER owned the Google Ads accounts of our clients. This is a red line, do not cross, flashing lights kind of deal for us. Yet it’s still common practice for marketing vendors to own their clients’ Google Ads accounts. They argue that their campaigns are proprietary, and thus they want to control the platform as some sort of IP protection.

Obviously it’s complete BS, and done simply to create dependency and leverage. Neither of which are good foundations for trusting, productive relationships.

Beware of greener pastures. Oh, and trust your friends at Enrollment Resources. ;)

Do You Need a New Website?

How to know when it’s time to replace or repair

I was recently involved in a small fender bender. Thankfully no one was injured, but there was some damage to my car. What to me seemed like a minor dent and busted light, to my mechanic was a reason to write off the car. I opted to have the car fixed, but this question of “repair or replace” is a common one these days, whether it’s a vehicle, furniture or appliance.

But what about your website?

A new website can seem enticing, especially if you feel like your marketing has plateaued and you want to jumpstart lead generation. There are certainly a lot of marketing companies that just so happen to sell websites to tell you you need to buy one. But how do you know when a “repair” will do, ie. update photos, clean up SEO elements, add testimonials and other best practice elements and when you’re better to start fresh?

If you’ve looked into assistance with marketing your school, you’ve likely been pitched on buying a new website. But is it necessary?

We recently shared a pair of articles with tips on how to evaluate your existing website, including:

If you know that your website hosting is up-to-date and functioning properly, page load times are good and you’re not having technical issues like dropping offline periodically, it’s possible you may be able to save yourself a significant amount of time and money with improvements to your existing website.

5 Elements to Improve Conversion Without Buying a New Website

5 Elements to Improve Conversion WITHOUT Buying a New Website

  1. Photos – Do the photos on your website resonate with your prospects? Do they see themselves reflected? Do you use all stock photos or do you have authentic shots of the school, staff and potentially even students? Your website may be a prospect’s first impression of your school. It is worth investing in high-quality professional photos of your facilities, staff and community in order to showcase your school in an authentic way.
  2. Clarity – Does your homepage clearly express the following:
    – Who you are?
    – What a prospect can DO on your site? Are there clear calls-to-action, i.e. “sign up for more information”?
    – WHY a prospect should engage with your school?
  3. Contact Forms – Do you have clear, compelling contact forms on all major pages of your website? A quality contact form can be an incredible way to boost website conversion. Some people don’t like the look of a contact form on every page or think it feels “too salesy.” While overall look is a consideration, the purpose of your site isn’t to be good looking. It’s about providing a simple way for prospective students to take action and move forward with their pursuit of career training with your help.
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but it can often seem vague. Most simply, SEO is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of your web page in organic search results. Some key metrics of SEO include the quality of internal links, i.e. links to pages within your website, and external links to pages on other sites. Other SEO elements include things like photo tags and captions, keywords and more.
  5. Compelling Copy – Does your website engage visitors? Is a reader drawn into your story and compelled to read on? When a prospect gets to a program page, is there enough information on that page to pique their interest and provide answers to some of their questions? Website copy can be easy to overlook in favor of design elements, but ultimately a prospective student considering a life decision like potentially going back to school is typically invested enough to spend some time reading copy that is relevant to them and their goals.

Have an Expert Review Your Website

If you’re curious about the performance of your website and how it measures up against today’s best practices for lead generation and conversion, Enrollment Resources can help. Schedule a free website audit with an EDU conversion expert.

Click Here to Request Your Website Audit

How to Check Your Website’s Foundation

Does the backend of your website make the grade or is it time to upgrade?

In this piece, we’ll share a few important things to check in order to assess whether the backend of your website is up-to-date and functioning optimally. This is particularly relevant if you want to generate more organic leads and/or are considering a new website.

The backend of your website is like the foundation of a house. If “the bones” of your site are good, you can potentially improve performance through design elements and the use of best practice conversion elements, rather than a complete (and often costly) rebuild or redesign. To continue the house metaphor however, if the foundation is rotted it will likely save you in the long run to fix it before you invest in design.

How to Evaluate Your Site’s Overall Foundation

Do you have access to your website’s Google Analytics? If so, take a look at the analytics for the following things:

  1. Does your website traffic drop off completely at any point?
    This can be an indicator that the website is inaccessible at times.
  2. Is your page load time 3 seconds or less?
    Google recommends a page load time of 3 seconds or (ideally) less. According to Google, 53% of mobile site visitors will abandon your page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  3. Do you know your website conversion rate? Is it trending down?
    Your website conversion rate can be measured by the number goals achieved, in this case the “goal” is any time a prospect took action to contact your school, divided by the number of unique website visitors, multiplied by 100. For example, if your website receives 2,000 unique visitors per month and generates 50 leads, your website conversion rate is 2.5%.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…
This can be a sign that your website hosting may potentially be out of date or otherwise providing below optimal function. If this is the case, it could potentially be time to invest in an upgrade.

If you answered “I’m not sure” to any of these questions…
If you aren’t sure the answer to any of the questions above, it’s worth a conversation with your web developer or anyone knowledgeable in Google Analytics who can walk you through it.

If you answered “no” to these questions…
That’s good news! If the basic foundations of your website are sound, that could mean you do not need to invest in a foundational upgrade. That also means you can potentially boost your website’s performance through less costly improvements such as copy, improved calls-to-action, more authentic photos and other best practices.

What About Mobile?
For a quick way to test your website’s performance on mobile, click here to check out this blog post from last week.

Want Help to Assess Your Website?

If you’re curious about the performance of your website and how it measures up against today’s best practices for lead generation and conversion, Enrollment Resources can help. Schedule a free website audit with an EDU conversion expert.

Click Here to Request Your Website Audit

New Video in the Library: High School Marketing 101 with Lee Doubleday of Imagine America Foundation

We have something exciting for you!

We have a video and transcript available of our latest EDU marketing insights webinar to share with you. On March 17th 2022, as part of Enrollment Resources’ Partner Webinar Series, Lee Doubleday, Director of Operations at the Imagine America Foundation, gave an insightful look into why post-secondary schools need to maximize their marketing and recruitment efforts in the high school market.

He touched on the best practices to help get a campaign started, what it requires, and how having a scholarship program helps separate your school from others.

It was an amazing session, full of ideas and insights.

You’ll learn:

  • Who the high school student is and how they’re influenced
  • Why you should care about high school recruiting
  • How to create a 5-step strategy for high school recruitment

Watch the video and read the summary here:

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!

The Key to Successful Enrollment Marketing is Understanding Student Intent


All enrollment marketing, regardless of the type of school, is a response to prospective student intent.

Every prospective student is on a buying continuum: Some are very close to enrolling — they’ve done their research, view your brand favourable, or have some connection to your school. Others are at the very beginning of their journey — they are researching you, your competitors, different program paths, and even whether they want to go to school.

The job of enrollment marketing is to offer choices that are meaningful to where your prospect is in his or her journey.

Think of it as a concentric circle around intent to enroll. Inbound calls and application forms are high intent (but lower volume). An inquiry form is moderate intent — it represents someone sufficiently interested willing to reach out but not ready to apply. Quizzes, downloads, etc are lower intent (but higher volume). As the circle expands volume increases as there are more prospects on the outer edges, than in the middle.

Most schools are way too timid in how they market. They’ve got an inquiry form, which attracts a very specific person at a very specific point in their journey. And maybe some links to their social media accounts. But that’s it.

It’s much better offering too many ways to connect than not enough. Some of your colleagues may perceive it as too “pitchy” but what you are really doing is respecting where your prospect is at in their journey.

Here’s some examples, from high to low intent:

  • Enrollment form
  • Application form
  • Phone number
  • Inquiry form
  • Career Quiz
  • Live Chat / Chatbot
  • School Readiness Quiz
  • Career exploration kit
  • Registration for a Salary Calculator
  • Webinar registration
  • Information Session registration
  • Downloadable White Paper
  • Opt-in to email information
  • Social media follow buttons
  • Links to social media posts

Our Saas tool Virtual Adviser features an awesome tool kit of lead boosting tools for your schools website.

Recent Changes In The Paid Search Environment And How They Can Affect Your School [VIDEO]

There are even more changes to the digital marketing environment coming in 2021, and at least five of those developments are likely to affect your school. In this video, Tammy […]