Sep, 24 2015

SMFA at Tufts – Digital Marketing

Challenge

When Blayzer’s online marketing department first took on the task of online marketing for SMFA, our specialists got started by analyzing the school’s prior efforts to set benchmarks, leverage past success, and identify areas for improvement. Through this process we discovered that while previous AdWords pay-per-click search marketing (PPC) campaigns were drawing a large volume of traffic to the website, the quality of the traffic was low. SMFA’s ad-driven visitors showed a higher than average bounce rate, a low number of page views per visit, and weren’t spending much time on the site overall.

Strategy

Because the paid search and ad markets for higher education are quite competitive, every click cost the school valuable marketing dollars, and we had just launched SMFA’s brand new custom website, Blayzer became concerned that SMFA was not getting the maximum return on its online marketing investment. Our marketing strategists consulted with SMFA to educate them about the problems and develop a practical solution. Based on our analysis, we agreed on a three-fold approach to improve audience targeting, overall effectiveness, and visitor engagement:

  1. Evaluate paid search keywords, audience targeting, and ad placement
  2. Review, revise, and continually test ad and paid search listing content
  3. Optimize landing page linking to maximize engagement and conversions

Solutions

Upon reviewing SMFA’s PPC keyword targeting strategy, we discovered that they were not utilizing negative keywords. These are search terms that you may designate to omit your listing from certain types of searches. Our team also performed new research to build an up-to-date list of desired keywords and search queries.

On the display advertising side, our analysis showed that the bulk of low-quality ad traffic was coming from ads placed on the Google Display Network (GDN). We found that the ads were simply being displayed too broadly and were appearing on sites that aren’t really relevant to the types of traffic SMFA was looking for. By temporarily halting SMFA’s GDN advertising campaign, Blayzer saw an immediate significant impact on visitor analytics. We are currently developing a new GDN ad targeting plan that will deliver SMFA’s ads to a more focused audience of prospective students.

Next, we turned our attention to SMFA’s online marketing content. Content optimization is a highly analytical process that demands continual testing, tweaking, and measuring. To keep our client’s internal communications team from getting overloaded, Blayzer built and now manages an optimization plan that includes copywriting and testing multiple search listing and ad content variations, ongoing evaluation, and monthly results reporting.

The final step in Blayzer’s strategy for SMFA was to review and optimize the school’s PPC and display ad linking strategy to ensure maximum levels of engagement and lead conversion. Rather than linking PPC listings and display ads to general, top-level pages on the SMFA website, we linked them to internal pages that are more specifically relevant to the PPC listings and display ads. The next step in our plan will be to develop custom landing pages for these visitors to even further boost conversion rates.

Results

All together, Blayzer’s online marketing efforts have completely changed SMFA’s PPC and display advertising experiences. Now a web user searching for painting classes around Boston will see a targeted, relevant search listing that leads them straight to a webpage that talks specifically about SMFA’s painting courses.

While the improved visitor experience is certainly important, the most impressive results of Blayzer’s online marketing efforts for SMFA can be seen in the numbers:

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