Gragg Advertising has been viewed as an expert in the EDU space. By using memorable creative to drive measurable results, Gragg has the unique ability to prove its expertise through proven data and metrics. This is why Gragg Advertising values and creates our webinars and white papers, to demonstrate how meaningful data can be used to improve revenue and market share. Gragg aims to prove to each client, both current and potential, how their marketing dollars will be measured, tracked and improved upon month-over-month, year-over-year until we find the optimal marketing recipe. One Gragg client is a shining example of how an agency can truly partner with a client to achieve exceptional results, and in less than two years.
When this EDU client came to Gragg, its overall internet paid lead to enrollment conversion rate was 2.1%. Internet paid, for this study, is a combination of pay-per-lead (affiliate/PPL) and search engine marketing (pay-per-click) leads. Gragg measures industry standard conversion rates for PPL at 3-5% and 6-11% for SEM, which means that this client was well below industry standards on both media types.
For the four quarters that Gragg has been working with this client, there was a 2.1% increase in lead to enrollment conversion rate to a 5.5%, or a 150% improvement. Total enrollments increased 238% while total spending decreased by 66%.
Based on the size of the client, Gragg looked at many variables that could affect advertising and lead generation. Direct response is not just about having someone respond to advertising and submit their information or call. It is about making the offline conversion-to-start, sale, application, etc. that drives revenue and success.
This client has campuses in many different markets: from densely populated major metropolitan markets to rural towns. Understanding what works in one market does not necessarily help in another is a good start. Gragg worked directly with our client through daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly, to analyze trends and provide recommendations. The success of Gragg’s client can be attributed to a cohesive strategy, discussion and planning by both parties.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Driving exclusive SEM leads for schools is becoming more difficult as more schools shift to gather unique leads through their website and search engine marketing: both SEO and SEM, also known as pay-per-click or PPC. Cost-per-lead has increased for most schools due to increased competition in paid search. Gragg’s SEM program has nearly quadrupled in volume in 12 months and continues to grow quickly. With over a 90% retention rate and clients adding to existing budget, SEM has been an extremely effective solution at driving leads, revenue and expanding market share.
For this client, Gragg applied many unique tactics and strategies to maximize the efficiency of the campaign. Constant A/B testing, “going mobile” and other initiatives initiated by Gragg’s SEM team contributed to the increase in lead flow, decrease in spend and overall increase in enrollment revenue. By partnering with our client and communicating internally, we were able to shift funds, run tests and increase the performance of all internet leads and maximize the budget allocated.
The biggest success was the ability to test and improve campaign features by working with the client and using data to make decisions. Gragg compiled multiple in-depth analysis projects ranging from programs enrolled, to opportunities for PPL and SEM. This maximized lead flow for under-performing programs and helped minimize missed opportunities.
PPL (Pay Per Lead)
When Gragg first began working with this client, delivering leads evenly throughout the month for all campuses posed a problem for the PPL department. Since then, Gragg has cut back on the amount of vendors and allocated more leads to vendors with higher conversion rates. Receiving the raw lead and start data from the client allowed Gragg to pass that data to our vendors, who then optimized their campaigns for the client, displaying the importance of data sharing.
The most recent recruitment term, May 2011 to September 2011, consisted of internal communication between SEM and PPL. Together, we strategically shifted budget between campaigns to achieve optimal results. This strategy produced the highest converting term for the client for PPL at 4.37%.
Data analysis is an integral part of Gragg’s service to its clients. Clients love research, and Gragg focuses on taking data and turning it into useful information that can assist in making key marketing decisions. Through partnering with clients to acquire raw marketing data, Gragg was able to take an in-depth analysis on the correlation between traditional media and internet leads. The focus of the study was to understand and analyze the correlation between these two categories to determine if efficiencies within television advertising could be partnered with paid search impressions to increase program revenue. By layering TV spot times with paid search impressions, Gragg was able to develop correlations between TV and online lead flow. Gragg was able to see there was a direct correlation between online lead flow and TV spots; this was drawn by looking at both week day and/or spot time.
With this information, Gragg was able to suggest areas in which to capitalize on more efficient marketing mixes: from what programs to focus on TV, what keywords we can better monitor and where leads are coming from and how to maximize volume by program for increased enrollments,
This is just one of the many analysis projects Gragg has been able to provide to clients this year. Competitive market research, focusing on interactive and traditional media, is one of many additional reports Gragg Advertising continually suggests and delivers to its clients. These analysis opportunities help provide insight into what is occurring within each client’s market. Reports on industry standard marketing mixes, and where our client falls within these, are also provided on a quarterly basis to benchmark overall performance for Gragg, as well as the college as a whole.
Gragg Ancillary Products
In order to better serve our clients and help them to maximize their marketing spend, Gragg has developed a series of tools in order to increase conversions and streamline the lead flow process for admissions representatives or sales staff. Based on the strengths and weaknesses of different clients, we implement these tools in order to resolve the weaknesses in the process.
While schools strive to work leads to their full potential, some students may not be ready to enroll at the time they are calling in and as we know lead to start time varies by program, school awareness and even time of year. LeadBridge optimizes this by reaching out to prospects through a multi-touch strategy. Because this client had been seeing poor conversions rates, LeadBridge was a sensible product offering to optimize return.
By contacting interested students through email, direct mail, social media, out bound calling and texting we were able to reach more students than a busy admissions team may be able to. Through this analysis, we saw 21 percent of converted leads were treated by LeadBridge. Those conversions were not likely to occur if not for LeadBridge and the additional contact provided. In this case, the client was only running some elements of LeadBridge. Fully integrating recirculated leads into LeadBridge will garner an even higher conversion rate. By allowing students to have a continued awareness of the school at hand, they are able to communicate with the school through their preferred method of communication and enroll in school when the time was right for them.
As part of LeadBridge, Gragg Advertising offers Internet2Phone, a product offering hot lead transfers from online lead forms to admission representatives. Internet2Phone allows you to streamline the process of first contact with your hot prospect by getting them on the phone as soon as possible. This automated system puts interested students in touch with admissions representatives immediately, preventing them from continuing their online research. Gragg saw this as an area of opportunity and began running Internet2Phone with two campuses, allowing for an increased conversion rate of 4.7 percent. Calls lasting more than two minutes converted at 6.8 percent. In this case, over 50 percent of the calls lasted longer than two minutes, meaning they were nearly 60 percent more likely to convert than those leads that had not been contacted early. After the client saw successes, it began running I2P with its remaining campuses.
Implementing auxiliary tools allow our clients to achieve better results with their existing lead flow. Streamlining the process of first contact with your prospects allows your team to be more successful with little to no extra work.
The positive results of this client can be attributed to both the direct media services and ancillary products Gragg suggested. In order to accomplish the most effective media mix and propose product suggestions, clients need to partner with their agency. This client was extremely open to suggestions and our recommendations, allowing Gragg to strategize proactively. A three to six month plan was in place but a partnership allowed both companies to work together to shift budgets throughout based on the results and maximize outcomes. Planning ahead of time allows Gragg to achieve optimum placement and the best results for clients.
In conclusion, Gragg was able to work with its client over the last four quarters to optimize the media mix using strategic analysis projects, shifting the media mix and incorporating ancillary products as recommended by Gragg to further increase enrollments. This process has been extremely successful for this client and is always the ultimate goal for clients to see successes like this. By using data and lead refinement products to improve clients’ bottom line and provide the recommendations Gragg Advertising is able to ensure the most efficient use of clients marketing budget.