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. ;)

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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Google’s Mission: Content vs. User Context

Content vs. User Context - The Main Takeaways Of Google Marketing Live, 2019Tammy Miles is the Director of Paid Search Marketing at Enrollment Resources. She recently attended the 2019 Google Marketing Live Conference in San Francisco. The event attracted over 5000 participants from 68 Countries, with most of the buzz focused around Google’s new ad features and artificial intelligence (AI) technology innovations. This is her summary of the main takeaways for schools looking to reach their EDU prospects.

Do You Know Your Prospect? Google Does

Google reiterated their mission: to deliver content that is useful, helpful, and transparent to their users while creating personalized and meaningful experiences that respect the privacy of those same users. To that end, Google advertising is heading beyond content and creative to the vast universe of user context.

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[Podcast] How 1% Improvements Can Translate Into Millions Of Dollars

Enrollment Management Round Table with Enrollment ResourcesIt’s shocking how little effort it actually takes to be more successful than your competition. In this episode, Gregg, Shane, and Tom of Enrollment Resources are joined by special guest Brian Willett to show you how your school can catapult over your rivals through strategic and compounding one percent improvements!

Takeaways include:

  • The unfortunate reason why second best is actually the first loser
  • How to start making 1% improvements by rethinking the habits you take for granted
  • The specific, easy and immediate ways your school can make 1% improvements to increase your conversion rates TODAY

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How 1% Improvements Can Translate Into Millions Of Dollars

Enrollment Resources illustrates how little effort it actually takes to be more successful than your competition

Original Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

I have a story about ‘1%’ and how it can be the difference between mediocrity and excellence for a school.

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[Podcast] Enrollment During High Employment Conditions

Enrollment Management Round Table with Enrollment ResourcesYour pool of leads could be shrinking, and fast. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States unemployment was just 3.9% in April. If your marketing is focused on people looking for work, then you need to take another look at today’s education market.

In this episode, the Enrollment Resources Panel explores alternative ways to fill your Career School’s lead funnel when it seems like everyone already has a job. Click to listen to Enrollment During High Employment Conditions: How to adapt to today’s education market. Read more