University of Illinois Gies College of Business
Gies Online’s digital ecosystem comprised six different web properties belonging to the University of Illinois, as well as 3rd-party domains powered by Thinkific, SamCart, and Coursera. Programs and courses were spread between all of these properties as well as through downloadable PDFs. In order to consolidate the content into one overarching hub, 829 first needed to conduct an in-depth audit of all existing content to understand what assets Gies already had.
As part of this discovery phase, 829 conducted multiple in-depth interviews with stakeholders ranging from marketing managers, to educational content professionals, to project coordinators, to developers.
As an educational institute with so many different learning tracks, it was also very important to understand the various audiences to which each track was designed. To learn more about our audience, 829 conducted in-depth interviews with Gies’ marketing and sales teams as well as a deep dive into the various Gies Google Analytics dashboards. The result? Our three personas:
Reoccurring feedback included users:
The team conducted usability testing whereby we analyzed the results and made strategic updates based on the findings. 829 focused our efforts on high-profile pages that would work towards accomplishing the goals of the organization, and of course, the navigation. These pages included the homepage, degree pages, course catalog, Why Gies, and lead-generation forms.
Gies Online’s new site boldly communicates the organization’s unique flexible product offering while ensuring users can easily digest, filter through, and ask questions about the offering, as well as take the various necessary next steps towards enrolling.
Following the initial roadmap of keyword research as well as copy, technical, and search engine tag optimizations, 829 saw a 20% increase on average in year-over-year organic visitation. In addition, 829 found that each of our conversion metrics multiplied for college course applications. Both 829 and Gies developed a pattern of decision-making based on actionable reporting from Google Data Studio and SEMrush. This allowed 829 to work on additional optimizations justified by opportunities to win in the search engine results pages.