Lead generation is often top of mind when businesses are looking for an inbound marketing agency. Achieve Test Prep was no exception when they approached us in 2012. We immediately saw the value in their message and offerings. So despite the company’s B2C business model (our expertise is in B2B marketing services), we assured them PMG was up to the challenge…
Achieve Test Prep offers credit-by-examination prep programs to reduce the cost of a college degree and shorten the path to graduation. Students take a series of 4-week courses that prepare them to “test-out” of required college classes and still receive full credit. (Originally targeting nursing degree candidates only, the company expanded in 2014 to support students in all academic majors.) Classes are offered at 69 locations throughout the country and online.
In 2012, Achieve had a strong business model and aggressive growth goals. They had just begun experimenting with blogging and social media. They needed an inbound marketing team to help drive strategy and implement consistent marketing activity.
Solution: Lead Gen 101
We began implementing an inbound strategy that included keyword research, website optimization, content marketing, email marketing, PPC, PR, and social media. Here’s a quick look at some of those components in detail:
Ongoing keyword strategy—research, monitoring, and implementing updates—has been key to continuous improvement in organic results. Keyword research has driven our content efforts—including blogging, social media, and gated offer creation. Achieve now ranks among the top 10 search results for over 600 keywords.
As their followers consumed our content, we stayed top of mind with email marketing, which informed their leads and drove them through the buying cycle. To date, we have built a database of over 43,000 contacts, purely through inbound marketing. Across a variety of lead nurturing campaigns, our email open rates average over 28 percent, with an average click-through rate of over 8 percent.
Pay-per-click has been another strategic tool on this account—specifically when tasked with turning up lead generation in areas that needed a boost at any given time. For example, Achieve’s offerings are more relevant in some parts of the country than in others. Our PPC campaigns have been able to target leads by location, in order to boost business in those geographic areas.
Social media has been a key channel for spreading Achieve Test Prep’s message regarding cost-efficient, alternative college options. Because Achieve is a B2C company, Facebook has been the primary source of social traffic and conversions. We created two active Facebook pages for Achieve: one for nursing programs and one for general education programs. Nursing now has nearly 2,000 followers, and general education has over 700 followers—primarily amassed organically, though we have done some social advertising.
When PMG began working with Achieve, they had 6,000 monthly visitors and weren’t tracking any conversions. Four years later, monthly traffic is averaging 26,000, with a visitor-to-lead rate of 2 percent, and a lead-to-conversion rate of 8.6 percent. And leading the charge in visits and conversions is organic traffic. In 2015, 42 percent of leads and 46 percent of customers came through organic search.
The most amazing part about content marketing? How it continues to pay for itself. Achieve Test Prep’s content is a great example of this principle. Over the years, we’ve built an arsenal of helpful, evergreen content—all well-trafficked by Achieve’s growing audience of fans and followers. With modest updates, these blogs and resources continue to bring in returns, year after year. In 2015, Achieve content had garnered 38,689 views, with total conversions of 6,510.
As Achieve Test Prep has grown, they have added an internal marketing team, and PMG’s role as their inbound marketing agency has evolved. Flexibility has been pivotal to our success. We have taken a backseat where internal team members have shined, and found additional ways to offer the marketing help they needed to grow. We are thrilled to enjoy this long-term partnership and continue to help drive lead generation, provide strategy, and be a part of their marketing team.