Google tricks: How Beckfield College got better bang for its marketing buck

InfoTrust steers clients through Google world

FLORENCE, Ky. - Beckfield College is spending 30 percent less to find needles in the haystack.

The Florence-based private college hired the web analytics firm, InfoTrust LLC, to refine its online marketing approach several months ago. While its overall marketing budget didn’t change, Beckfield saw a 30 percent decrease in its “cost per lead,” or the amount it spends for every prospective students that fills out its online application forms.

“You can’t put all the darts out there and hope they just hit,” said Suzanne Deatherage, vice president of Marketing for Beckfield. “They really make you feel like there is science behind everything that happens and it allows for better decision making. You’re paying for ways to use the web that generate results. It’s not a hope and a prayer any more.”

InfoTrust is an 11-employee firm in Blue Ash that designs web sites and advises companies on how to use Google products to reach potential customers. InfoTrust is a Google Adwords Certified Partner and a Google Analytics Premium Reseller.

"You don't have to be a Fortune 500 company to benefit from web analytics," said InfoTrust President Alex Yastrebenetsky. "Even small businesses, where every dollar counts can significantly benefit from (the) ability to measure where visitors are coming from and reallocate marketing dollars accordingly."

Beckfield is a for-profit career college with degree programs in health, business, technology and nursing. It has 739 students at its Florence campus, 551 in Tri-County and 74 online.  Deatherage hired InfoTrust because she thought she needed a consultant who could help her navigate the many changes happening in digital advertising. She’s very happy with her choice.

“They’re constantly showing me data,” she said. “There’s no one thing that drove this increase. It was a myriad of things.”

One key discovery for Beckfield was that 45 percent of its web site visitors were using smart phones. So, InfoTrust built new landing pages to make the site easier to navigate for mobile and tablet users.

It also developed an online-only application process to promote a new program that helps registered nurses obtain their bachelors degree through online classes.

“Most of what we have on our web site invites people onto our campus,” Deatherage said. “Because it was an online student, we put everything on the web.”

Every month, InfoTrust Digital Marketing Strategist James Love delivers reports to Deatherage showing web site visitors “broken down by the source of the visit, whether it is organic search, paid search (advertising) campaign URLs, as well as visits by web site, mobile phone or tablets.”

That allows Beckfield to determine which of its marketing messages are most effective. While it’s collecting data on its web site visitors, it does not collect information on individuals without their permission.

“When we get detailed demographics from general searching none of that is coming with specific names unless somebody has submitted a form fill,” said Deatherage. “And then all permission has been granted. We don’t mess around with that. Compliance is a high priority in our marketing.”

InfoTrust Vice President Michael Loban said people don’t like it when advertisers gather personal information without permission, so it’s not good marketing.

“I need to understand what makes this group unique and tailor my marketing to this group, not to find one person and identify everything about them. That’s getting too much,” he said.

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