Are you keeping score? Goals to Conversions

by Scot Rutledge
Community College of Beaver County
Monaca, PA

It’s the end of the fall semester, classes are winding down and grades are being submitted. At the Community College of Beaver County, we tend to see a natural flow of students coming and going. Typically, during financial down turns, the college sees a great return of students. This is due to the low cost of tuition and because of the many articulation agreements we have with four-year universities.

However, summer has always been a pain point for us. Despite the fact we offer courses at a lower cost with a great value, students still avoid taking summer classes. It was marketing’s job to close the gap and draw as many students in as possible to gain enrollment. But, we needed a method to capture conversions so we could report the return on investment.

We started by creating a landing page with a clear call to action on getting users to give us simple information, creating a pipeline of possible students for admissions to reach out to. The landing page was tethered to a goal set in google analytics. If anyone submitted our form we would see the conversion within our goal. Within the dashboard, users can set up an array of custom goals by accessing the admin panel. These goals can track URL destinations, visit durations, page/visit, and events. You also can access the goal funnel and assign a goal value. We knew a student is potentially worth $3,000 dollars if signing up for a full course load, so we are able to assign this value to our goal.

This simple campaign used UTM tracking to find where our demographic was most likely to interact with our brand and complete our goal of a submission. At the start of our campaign, our page performed poorly.  We were able to tell there was a large disconnection between the text and call to action. Users would land on the page and very few would complete the goal. Our abandonment rate was hovering around 90% and our goal conversions were not giving us a return we needed. By reviewing the analytics, we could see we had major issues with content and positioning of our call to action. By making smaller adjustments to the landing page itself and pulling ad campaigns that were not working we were able to maximize our goal conversion and drop our abandonment rate to 0%. Knowing how our new users, returning users and our referral traffic stacked up with the goal, we can see areas that may need more attention or content edits to match the consumer’s needs.

It is vital to move past basic reporting to see how you are stacking up against your outcomes and to give a solid report on your return on investment. Goal conversions can increase your pipeline of consumers or show you if your content is working for your site or against your site. If your site is generating leads or tracking engagement on a blog, it is imperative you track your goals.

Scot Rutledge is the director of marketing and media services at the Community College of Beaver County in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

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