Ad Campaign Landing Page for Clover Park Technical College

February 28, 2015

The lead-generation page for CPTC's spring ad campaign. Check out the site for yourself

Layer 1

This page was built as the lead-generation page for our spring 2015 advertising campaign at Clover Park Technical College. The URLs we used on our various ads — billboards, bus panels, radio spots, coffee sleeves, Adwords and Bingwords — redirect to this page. The goal is to get people to select the programs they’re interested in and give us their email address so we can help connect them with the best educational resources to enrich their lives and careers, i.e., so we can market all over them.

Quick Interpolation Regarding URLs on Advertising

Right now in our marketing budget we have enough money to do one of the following two things: 1) advertise or 2) measure how effective our advertising is. Since we couldn’t afford a true measure of how effective our advertising is — which would involve either a huge structural overhaul of how the college collects data or an expensive community survey on general awareness of our college — I thought I’d at least be able to get some info on the effectiveness of our advertising by putting a different URL on each type of ad (e.g., cptc.edu/spring on billboards, cptc.edu/start on bus ads) and then tracking how often each URL was used.

Guess what: very few people see an advertisement and enter the exact URL. So this page is basically functioning as our online-advertising landing page. Which is totally fine.

Why Make a Special Lead-Generation Page?

For previous ad campaigns, we just directed our online advertising to our homepage or to the specific program being advertised. But our homepage has so many different audiences — current students, prospective students, staff, the community, competitors hate-visiting our site — that it’s just not possible to have a clear, single call to action, which is what a good marketing site should have.

If a visitor comes to our site from our ad campaign, we know that they’re a prospective student. Actually: we don’t know who they are, but we only care about them if they’re a prospective student. If they’re a staff person or a current student or a competitor clicking on our ads just so Google will charge us: this site is not for them. Knowing that, we can design a site aimed only at prospective students. We can basically say: here’s what we offer, if you like it, give us your email address. Don’t want to give us your email address? Are you sure? Fine. Go to our website and check out our programs.

It turns out that directing users to a page specifically designed to do nothing except generate leads is roughly ten times more effective than directing them to our homepage. That is, for every 100 visitors we get to this page, we get ten leads, whereas before we would get just the one. If you are a Washington State taxpayer, you can send me a thank you card for optimizing the use of your tax dollars.

Why a Javascript MVC Framework?

This site is built with Ember.js, a javascript MVC framework. If you couldn’t get through that sentence without dying of boredom, you can stop reading this post right now. It gets a little bit technical from here on out. Go outside and feed some birds in the park. You deserve it. They deserve it.

As it stands, everything on this site could’ve been done with plain old javascript. We’re just using this to collect basic information — name, email, and program interest — to put in our marketing system. But I wanted to leave room to turn this very simple app into a full intake system. We could use it to guide people through the admissions process, or to set up a checklist of what they need to do to get enrolled, or simply to collect further information from them beyond just their name and email. I’m not sure what exactly it’d look like, but I knew that any of those functions would be much easier with a javascript framework.

A Quick Note on Accessibility and Speed

One of the big criticisms of javascript MVC frameworks — like Ember and Angular — are that they’re terrible for accessibility and are pretty slow. I’m not going to argue with that. For most things I build, speed and accessibility are two of the top five priorities. But a lead-generation page has just one priority: generating leads. There’s no essential content here, so if a user turns away because the page takes too long or it doesn’t display correctly in their browser it doesn’t harm anyone but us.

So a page like this is one of the few cases where design considerations are purely a business decision. And the business decision I made was that we would ultimately get more leads by using a javascript framework that would make the page look modern and high-tech than we would by making something that worked on 100% of browsers and devices.

Technology Used