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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!

[Bite-Sized Big Ideas] A Peek Around The Corner

Get the big ideas we at Enrollment Resources believe leaders in the Education space should be thinking about in a bite-sized article or audio clip.

2 minute read

Audio available

The US has ratified a travel ban on several countries and it appears, by extension, to be making it tougher for students from other countries to feel welcome in the US. For example, the emerging trade war with China: Chinese authorities are publicly considering popping tariffs on students who want to study in the United States. Also, it appears the denial of US postgraduate Working Visas are making it tougher for grads to stay on and work at externships.

If there indeed is a contraction of international students, how will this play out? Listen or read after the jump! Read more

Stop advertising by accident with Scientific Advertising

A note from our Co-founder I’m sure you’ve been exposed to a number of Marketing books over the years. A couple of excellent books come to mind such as ‘Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind‘ by Trout and Ries and ‘Ogilvy on Advertising‘ by David Ogilvy, both great reads for anyone studying the art of […]

Enrollment Resources Partners with Compliance Powerhouse NCG

 

Jennifer Flood, compliance expert and CEO of National Compliance Group

Jennifer Flood, J.D., CEO National Compliance Group

Enrollment Resources has chosen National Compliance Group (NCG) as its premier compliance partner for higher education marketing. Since 2003, Enrollment Resources has focused on admissions performance and digital marketing services for the education industry

“We have always considered NCG the gold standard for compliance in education and we are very fortunate to have their expertise available for our clients,” says Shane Sparks, COO of Enrollment Resources.

At the head of National Compliance Group is CEO Jennifer Flood, a nationally recognized compliance resource for private and career education providers.  Read more

Scott Spitolnick joins Enrollment Resources as VP, Admissions Systems

Scott SpitolnickEnrollment Resources is pleased to announce that Scott Spitolnick has joined our team effective immediately. Scott has over 30 years’ experience in Career Education Enrollment Management. Working successfully in several roles on the school and vendor side, Scott has managed lead generation campaigns, PR/branding campaigns, call centers, as well as both strategic and tactical admissions management. Enrollment Resources’ mission statement is to simply “pursue the truth.” Scott also holds the same core values.

In his role as VP, Admissions Systems, Scott will be working with Career Schools to adopt our Virtual Adviser Suite of Software. Virtual Adviser, when put to use, significantly increases revenues for Career Schools without them having to buy advertising, hire staff or engage with sales trainers.  Read more

Is Your Marketing Information Selfish or Empathetic?

Is your marketing information selfish or empathetic?

Is your promotional information written in selfish ‘feature language’? Consumers are like selfish six-year-old kids and hate reading other people’s selfish language. It’s all about what’s in it for the consumer when parting with their dollars.

Tip:

Write in benefit language, become an empathetic organization.

Podcast

Podcast: The ROI Of Split Testing

Enrollment Management Round Table with Enrollment Resources

In this episode of the Enrollment Management Round Table, Gregg Meiklejohn and Tom King discuss how your school can capture the benefits of split testing. Learn how to test your way into impressive conversion breakthroughs in your enrollment management process and start enjoying the ROI of split testing at your school! 

Read the transcript here. 

Subscribe to our free Training Library to stream this podcast.

Podcast #6: 2012 – A Look into the Future of Education Marketing

2012 – A SWOT Analysis Looking into the Future of Education Marketing

An audio recording and notes as presented from our Webinar Presented on January 5th, 2012 by Gregg Meiklejohn of Enrollment Resources Inc. Read more

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