Date: October 2008
Scope: SEO/Social Media
Overview: ”These are the folks you want alongside you to build a solid web strategy,” says Pete Berol, Director of Marketing for Eastern University. “We saw a significant difference in our bottom line.”
Chalking Up Success: Dinkum Interactive Increases Enrollments at Eastern University
Creating effective web strategies and Internet marketing for Universities is challenging. Multiple courses available to a wide array of students mean a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work. Not only that, students are net savvy and make decisions about which school to attend based on their experience of a website. In fact, one survey found a quarter of prospective students decided not to apply to a college because of a bad website experience. This is the environment Dinkum Interactive stepped into when working with Eastern University.
Doing the Homework: Dinkum goes back to school
Eastern University is a co-educational, comprehensive Christian university with 4,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, Seminary and accelerated adult programs. It approached Dinkum to create a micro-site for a graduate degree program in non-profit management. Pete Berol, director of Marketing at Eastern University says, “Dinkum came in, asked lots of great questions about who we are, what we do, who our target audience was. They tore into the meat and bones of what we do.” Dinkum decided to begin its campaign with a series of micro-sites, including an admissions website, so it could control key design and operation decisions – thereby overcoming one of the hurdles of working with a big institution. To this day, www.easterngetthere.com enjoys strong visibility and is a valuable referral tool. Other smaller websites such as www.ngoleader.org and www.eubusinessdegree.com also assisted in generating increased traffic. The main game for Dinkum, though, was the primary website www.eastern.edu.
Making the Grade
Dinkum made a conscious decision to learn and understand this complex environment before implementing its strategy. While it slowed the process down, it also meant a more targeted and incisive approach. The site needed to attract prospective students and convert them to enrollments – not an easy task in a competitive environment. In order to make informed decisions about future strategy, key analytics needed to be implemented from the beginning. The extra time taken to create the best site possible was worth it.
Exam Time: the results
One year after SEO implementation, the amount of search traffic to the website increased by an impressive 54%.Undergraduate applications by those who found the site through search engines more than doubled. The Alexa ranking that gauges the popularity of a site compared with competitors increased by 14% while all recognized competitors dropped between 33% and 100%. Incoming links increased by 38%. The number of page 1 search results increased by 700% on Google.
“These are the folks you want alongside you to build a solid web strategy,” adds Pete Berol. “We saw a significant difference in our bottom line.” Eastern University continues to see excellent search visibility. Many of the program searches hit page 1 rankings including PhD Organizational Leadership and Masters in Urban Studies. General targeted phrases such as “Christian College pa”, “Pennsylvania Christian University” and “Philadelphia Christian College” saw top rankings over most competitors. The very valuable “Christian university” yielded some referrals towards the end of the campaign. With increased conversions from non-branded phrases, As always, Dinkum was extremely pleased with the overall results. Class dismissed.