College for Creative Studies
MFA Online Marketing
Three integrated online marketing tactics were used to generate interest in CCS's MFA programs. ddm delivered more than five times the expected applications.
College for Creative Studies : MFA Online Marketing
Online Marketing Surpasses Expectations
College for Creative Studies (CCS; www.collegeforcreativestudies.edu) has a rich history of education through their undergraduate Fine Arts programs. CCS has a well-established brand in the undergraduate market garnering respect as one of the leading design schools in the nation.
In the fall of 2009 CCS started their Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program (http://ccsmfa.com/). In an effort to develop the program organically they began with 20 applicants and hoped to add an additional 25 students per year for the first four years. In January 2010 they came to ddm asking for assistance to reach their goal of 25 new applications by the May 2010 enrollment deadline for the second year of the MFA program.
CCS also requested that these efforts be made on an international scale. CCS has had previous success as well as brand recognition in India and desired to expand upon that reach.
ddm launched a multi-tiered approach online including Conversion Optimization, Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, and an improved social media presence.
The original CCS MFA site had a top bar calling for users to apply, but throughout the site there were minimal calls to apply (Call to Action or CTA).
ddm added a red tab to the main navigation, drawing more attention to the “Apply” CTA while maintaining the color scheme of the site. ddm also ensured that the text and the sidebars had “Apply Now” CTAs where appropriate.
ddm developed, deployed and managed targeted international Pay Per Click campaigns on the top two traffic-generating websites, Google and Facebook. These ads connected with students in the initial stages of their search and directed potential MFA students to the CCS MFA website.
Improved Social Media Presence
CCS already understood the power of social media and had well-established presences for their undergraduate programs. ddm built a blog and established Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook presences for the CCS MFA program. Content from the blog drove and seeded conversations via Twitter and Facebook.
All three solutions were put in place at the same time. This effective combination resulted in more than 130 qualified applications in a three-month period. The applicants were from over 20 countries. Six applications were from Turkey which had little to no penetration of the CCS brand prior to this campaign.
Stats for the three-month program
- 130 applications completed
- 55% of website traffic was driven by Facebook ads
- 93% of traffic from PPC ads were new visitors
- Facebook connections increased from 89 fans to 360 fans
- Visitors from Turkey increased from zero to 450 (with six applications)
Countries from which students applied
- United States
- And more
Of the three efforts performed (Conversion Optimization, PPC and Social Media), only the PPC ads had an end date. The changes made to the site to improve conversions, combined with the increase in Facebook fans and blog subscribers, however, has led to a continuation of returns for CCS as visitors from Facebook continue to return to the MFA site to perform additional research and complete applications, increasing the total number of conversions. In the month following this three-month campaign an additional seven applications were completed.
Tuition for the MFA program is over $16,000 per semester for a two-year (four-semester) program. Each student represents a potential of $64,000 in revenue for the college. Assuming CCS accepts 25 of the applicants, they will have secured far more ROI than needed to call this integrated online marketing effort a huge success.