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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 Enrollment Builder Best-Practice Virtual Conference Summer Summit

Join us on August 10th for what we think will be the most useful and comprehensive Enrollment Management conference you’ve ever attended.

The Enrollment Builder Best-Practice Virtual Conference

Summer Summit

August 10th from 10 am to 12:30 pm PST

Save The Date!

It’s totally free — our Semi-Annual Conference is upon us. Save the date and enjoy some top notch content and masterminding.

Send your team to the breakout rooms that matter to them the most. Admissions, Lead Gen Marketing, and a new track we’re calling Spitballing, where we’ll talk about testing and paid search.. 

We intend to offer you more value than any other Enrollment Management conference you’ve experienced. You’ll take reams of notes. We want to send you back to your School with quality thought-starters you can put to work immediately, without the help of gurus or hotshot consultants.

There is a finite amount of space for participants, so share this link now with whom you feel should attend, then sign up right away. We will share the full agenda within a week so that you can organize your team’s “Insight Plan of Attack.” 

 

Register Now!

Here’s a peek at some of the sessions planned for you:

  • Our Newest Split Testing Reveals
  • Where Marketing Ends and Admissions Begins
  • How To Strive to be like Elton Musk or Steve Jobs
  • Paid Search – Apples and Elephants

Remember, forward this invitation to those within your School whom you think could benefit from smart conversations on how to build Enrollments in troubled times and beyond.

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 […]

January Mastermind For ER Clients And Friends

Our next Mastermind for ER Clients and Friends will be held on Thursday, January 28th, at 11 am PST / 2 pm EST. Join Tom King, SVP of Strategic Initiatives, to learn how to incorporate four essential best practices for virtual admissions into your Virtual Admissions Pathway presentation.

Takeaways include:

  • How to avoid the pitfalls of the Excessive Content Rule.
  • How to frame yourself on camera to influence your audience’s opinion of you including the six frames that create a negative impression!
  • What Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule has to do with virtual communications.
  • How Cognitive Load is negatively affecting both your virtual and in-person sales.

The Mastermind for ER Clients and Friends is a chance to have your questions answered, share your success stories, and learn from others. Send any questions you have ahead of time to your ER Rep, and we will make sure to address them on the call.

If you are close to becoming even a small-purchase client, you can access this training series for free. Check your email for the login information or reach out to your ER Rep.

The Enrollment Builder Best-Practice Virtual Conference

The Enrollment Builder Best-Practice Virtual ConferenceWe’re wrapping this year up with what we think will be the most useful and comprehensive Enrollment Management conference you’ve ever attended.

What: The Enrollment Builder Best-Practice Virtual Conference
When: December 15th from from 10 am to 1:30 pm PST
Cost: Free
Register Here

Read more

November Mastermind For ER Clients And Friends

Our next Mastermind for ER Clients and Friends will be held on Tuesday, November 24th at 11 am PST / 2 pm EST. Join Tammy Miles, our Director of Paid Search Marketing, and me to explore YOUR landing pages for lessons in how to apply the latest in industry best practices.

Takeaways include:

  1. The 5 keys to creating landing pages that convert
  2. Specific ways to improve your copy
  3. The best practice landing page tools you need to increase your conversion rates

The Mastermind for ER Clients and Friends is a chance to have your questions answered, share your success stories, and learn from others. Send any questions you have ahead of time to your ER Rep, and we will make sure to address them on the call.

If you are close to becoming even a small-purchase client, you can access this training series for free. Check your email for the login information or reach out to your ER Rep.

Now What? Enrollment Management Lessons (So Far) [Panel]

Now What? Enrollment Management Lessons (So Far) - A webinar from Enrollment Resources

The pandemic has significantly disrupted the Enrollment Management Process. In this new world, very few Marketing, Admissions, and Retention best practices still hold up without innovative modifications.

At the start of this crisis, most schools needed a way to survive; concrete ways to keep Admissions staff connected and efficient in this brand new, often piecemeal, remote environment.

Six months into this upheaval, schools now need to position themselves to weather the next storm — whatever that may be.

Now What? Enrollment Management Lessons (So Far)
Date: Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Time: 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST
Presenters: Gregg Meiklejohn, Shane Sparks, and Tom King

Register Now!

Our April webinar prepared you to organize an immediate and effective Remote Admissions Program. In Thursday’s discussion, we share the Enrollment Management lessons we’ve learned so far through supporting our clients these past several challenging months. We’ll also explore what may come next and how schools can prepare.

Takeaways include:

  • Real-world results. What did the last six months look like for schools that took advantage of the Remote Admissions Pathway in Virtual Adviser?
  • Research. The key elements helping schools through the mess in terms of Marketing, Admissions, and Retention.
  • What worked and what didn’t. What we think will work for the next six months – and what to avoid.
  • Looking ahead. Positioning for the next wave of COVID, price destruction via online education, the U.S. elections, and more.
  • Tips and ideas. Enough to save or lift revenues a combined 20% right after you leave the webinar.

Have questions you’d like covered by the panel? Please include them in your registration. We will ensure the panel spends time on them!

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