Champlain College (Computer Forensics)

Execution

We started by solving a significant problem related to the serving environment hosting the college’s website. The old servers were on-campus, had not been properly maintained or updated. For the back-end of the site, the first thing was to set up a new server that allowed control over caching and compression to speed up the delivery of files to visitors, as well as more memory to cover the increasing traffic we were expecting from the ad campaigns and eventual organic traffic. We then set up the foundation for the new site on a platform that allowed us to perform customizations to further our goals of speed and SEO optimization. The new platform would also allow us to integrate with the CRM system in place at the school, and therefore track ROI from the ad a visitor first clicked on down to the enrollment.

We enhanced the user experience (UX) by updating the navigation to allow visitors to navigate the site with less clicks and reach the enrollment stage more quickly. As part of our re-education efforts within the college, we identified the need for consistent content generation in order to sustain high levels of organic traffic to the website. We enlisted the help of those individuals who are responsible for making Champlain College so well respected in the nation for its Computer Forensics programs: the students and faculty. Students were enlisted to post case studies they created for class onto the micro-site’s blog. This tactic ensured that the content being generated was unique, authoritative and in many cases, the first of its kind. Some of the students were performing forensics work with their professors on devices that had only been publicly available for weeks or months and they were often the first to suggest ways to use these devices during forensics investigations. One particular post on forensics on the newly released Kindle became a popular destination within the professional forensics community. We encouraged the creation of unique forensics content, and helped the college produce a “blood splatter video” that also received significant viral traffic.

We also realized the importance of the synonymity of web page content to our paid search campaigns, carefully orchestrating content and keywords as well as compelling content to maximize search optimization. In many cases, we were able to create unique landing pages optimized for the paid search and paid social campaigns we were running in the market.

Results

The results were immediate and dramatic. Within the first four months of our efforts, keywords most related to Champlain College’s online forensics programs shot up to the first page. Within another month, we had displaced our national competition, and have essentially owned the top two results in Google for the past year and a half. This, from a broader marketing perspective, has been extremely profitable for the college. Overall traffic increased by 42%, while out-of-state inquiries rose by over 208%. See the above screen captures, which illustrate the degree to which our SEO efforts have allowed Champlain to dominate nearly all relevant key search terms related to computer forensics and digital investigation.

 

Champlain College SEO

Champlain retained our services after a three agency pitch.  Their challenge: to reverse a five year decline in enrollments.  We've been working with them to refine their positioning in the market, enhance the effectiveness of their media planning, and completely overhaul their website with an eye towards increased conversions and orchestrated on-line prospecting.  Critical to the approach was parsing the available marketing funding in a responsible way across the organization's matrixed needs;  to address both local and national targets, to support both broad awareness while building segment-specific communications, and to increase support across what we call their "key feeders":  military, alumni and Community College of Vermont.

Our efforts, helped increase visits by 256%.

Audubon Guides SEO

Situation Analysis

Green Mountain Digital (GMD) created the Audubon Guides iPhone apps, a collection of programs for the iPhone and iPod Touch that help users identify flora and fauna throughout North America. GMD came to Brandthropology with a problem: They had a great product, but needed a cost effective way to garner attention for their apps in Apple’s iTunes Store, a significant undertaking considering the store has more than 100,000 applications and is dominated by Apple’s closed-marketing system. Additionally, the app was released with a meager marketing budget during the high-stakes 4th quarter, when many competitors increase their marketing budgets.

Strategy/Methodology

Brandthropology determined that the most cost-efficient marketing strategy was to segment out the different marketing targets and create tailored marketing communications customized for each segment. We identified 8 in total: birders, wildflowers, trees, mammals, educators, conservationists, outdoor recreationist, and iPhone users. For each market segment, we developed a unique message and identified nodes, or places of online congregation for each market segment. Since we were operating under a limited budget, we decided to focus our efforts in paid online advertising and public relations, where we saw that we could get the most return on our marketing dollars.

Execution

For the paid portion of our execution we tapped into multiple online advertising venues to maximize product awareness. We used Google AdWords to build a list of over 10,000 keywords, dived into 8 campaigns based on our strategic segmentation, further divided into 144 ad groups to ensure that we constructed the most targeted, efficient Google AdWords effort possible. We constantly reviewed our efforts on a macro-marketing and micro-marketing basis to ensure that we were balancing a low cost-per-click (CPC) with a high click-through-rate (CTR), all while staying under our established budget. Our Facebook marketing effort was similarly segmented into 8 campaigns, each with 7-10 multivariate ads that we optimized for efficiency. We created AdGroups that were targeted by the Facebook user’s interests, location, age, and other profile variables that we tested to ensure we were delivering the most efficient ads possible. Understanding that our product was limited to the iPhone, we identified resources that would allow us to advertise exclusively on iPhones, giving us 100% efficiency. Through usage of AdMob and NYTimes Mobile, we created targeted mobile ads that would lead the user to a custom mobile landing page, allowing iPhone users to get an optimum user experience. We also ran banner ads on sites we identified as nodes, or where our market segments congregated. Many of these targeted sites were significantly cheaper and more efficient than blindly buying web real estate, allowing us to speak to a captive audience. Our other approach was through public relations efforts. We developed a segmented PR plan to target influential media outlets in print, radio, television, and online media. To achieve this, we created custom press releases, fact sheets, post cards, and informational packets for each app with thematic language that spoke directly to the intended constituency. After mailing the information, we followed up with over 500 phone calls to high influence individuals and 20,000+ emails to ensure our message was not overlooked.

Results/Evaluation

From paid interactive marketing efforts, we generated more than 86 million impressions and 140,000 clicks to the landing page for Audubon Guides. That’s a lot of eyes. On the PR side, we built an online presence with over 50,000 Google results for the search “Audubon Guides Go Mobile.” Additionally, we generated more than 100,000 impressions through our PR and BusinessWire efforts. Our phone calls led us to coverage in publishing in the L.A. Times Tech blog, Chicago Tribune, Tech Republic, USA Today, iPhone Buzz, CNBC, Technorati, and CNET. Most importantly, though, our paid marketing and PR efforts led to the Audubon Guides apps landing at #1 and #2 in the app store reference section.

Northwestern Medical Center SEO

Our goal with Northwestern Medical Center was to increase traffic to their website.  We did this by both making the site more relevant to its community, and by orchestrating multiple online touch points feeding traffic onto the sites.

Our strategy was to reshape the site from a “let me tell you about me” site, to a “who are you, and how can I serve you” site.  To do this, we then created sub-branded websites that provided more relevant information to the hospital’s core constituencies (consumers, physicians, legislators, etc.) 

After restructuring the website presences, we devised and implemented strategies to drive more people to their sites.  One key element was to create social media properties for both the base brand and the recruitment side of the business, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The result has been a nearly 50% increase in overall unique user volume across an expanding number of client directed sites...  and an increased ability of the hospital to serve its community.

Alpine Ski Shop

We were asked to help increase sales and web traffic for the Alpine Shop’s e-commerce presence, AlpineSportingGoods.com.  Over the past three years, we’ve been doing this handsomely, with a mix of search engine optimization, shopping aggregator linkages and organic and paid search strategies.

After the Alpine Shop had made a sizeable purchase of Volkl ski inventory, we came to them with the recommendation to develop a site that would focus solely on their Volkl inventory.  We felt this would allow us to craft a coordinated set of domain, URL and key-word strategies that would optimize their organic search results.  As part of this process, we analyzed key words for the category and saw that  “Volkl sale” was being underutilized/overlooked by the sizable national online players.  Armed with this insight, we created Volklsale.com.

Our search engine optimization strategy placed AlpineSportinggoods.com and Volklsale.com on the first page of Google for over 121,000 searches during this year’s ski season. Our search engine marketing strategy had a CTR of between 6% and 9%, well above the industry standard of 2%. Overall, Traffic to AlpineSportingGoods.com has increased 40.34% compared to the pre-optimization baseline and traffic to VolklSale.com has resulted in brisk sales.  Don’t believe us?  Check it out yourself; pop in “Volkl” and “Sale” into Google and you’ll find us with two of the top 10 results.  Now that’s how you increase traffic and generate sales!