Brescia University (Brescia) is a Canadian Women’s University, affiliated with Western University. Brescia offers a distinctive education and empowering environment with limitless opportunities to encourage their students to learn how to become leaders. Brescia values their students’ unique experiences and appreciates diversity on campus. Brescia celebrates students from all backgrounds and faiths.
In the highly competitive educational arena (especially a declining enrollment in the all-female school space) they lacked a strong digital media strategy to increase student engagement and applications and turned to Shout to develop a plan that would make it easy for Brescia to increase overall applications both for domestic and international students.
Journey to Enrollment
Our experience with higher education brands has taught us that traditional marketing approaches only to generating student enrollment leads miss the mark. For our work with Brescia, Shout focused on educating women on the benefits of an all-female educational institution through engaging copy, design and interactive content that increased engagement, CTR and overall applications. We also overhauled and updated the website and developed engaging landing pages to create the ultimate student journey experience.
Overview of Project Management Process
Shout provided excellent client onboarding documentation, a thorough Scope of Work, and structured change order documentation. This documentation and process resulted in educating the Brescia team on all the required logins and assets. It also provided an understanding of the terms and approach so that the Brescia team could collaborate with the Shout team and make informed decisions.
When developing the marketing plan for Brescia, it was first essential to assess the existing data, evaluate internal research documents, and conduct research on similar universities and the winning tactics they were using. Shout also used Brescia’s internal five-year strategic plan as a guideline. It was essential to understand the University brand when developing briefs and determining goals.
Throughout the project, Shout utilized a phased management approach that included research, strategy development, project management tasks, milestones, client surveys, team responsibilities, schedules, content calendars, software integrations, web edits, creative storyboards and collaboration. Briefs and roadmaps were completed outlining monthly tasks so that Brescia was always aware of the status of tasks and milestones
Ads That Work and Convert
Shout developed a thorough campaign strategy that focused first on awareness, then engagement, and finally conversion. A high level digital ad campaign was developed for Meta platforms (Facebook and Instagram), TikTok, Google (Youtube), and Spotify. Our marketing management included ads management, video editing, copywriting, animations, design, email funnel development, goal setting and reporting on analytics for all of the above.
Shout built out innovative and industry leading creative and copy that increased post secondary intake and maximized conversions into acceptance, including different messaging for different target audiences both domestic and international.
Strategic and Marketing Plan
When developing the marketing plan for Brescia, it was first essential to assess the existing data, evaluate internal research documents, and conduct research on similar universities and their winning tactics. Shout also used Brescia’s internal five-year strategic plan as a guideline. It was essential to understand the University brand when developing briefs and determining goals.
The marketing plan was developed by providing innovative solutions and the best use of the budget. A complete re-design of all images and messaging took place. Brescia traditionally used basic imagery showing little diversity and non-existent design or graphic elements. Shout completely re-visited the art direction and updated the brand voice to resonate with newer and younger audiences.
Shout also introduced Brescia to new online platforms but still balanced and supported some traditional marketing, like ongoing events at the university and traditional viewbooks, ensuring that marketing materials could be used for both digital and traditional purposes. In our research, we determined several primary and secondary audiences. Students were our primary with several segments, including high school, returning to education and mature students with a domestic and international division. Our secondary audience consisted mainly of parents.
Highlights of this strategy included:
- Student Journey Mapping
- Persona & Audience Development
- Location Targets
- Competitor Analysis
- Brand Guideline & Brand Voice edits
- Design and Content Direction
- Web Edits (AODA, form edits, first-party data, content development, landing page development)
- Platforms and Media Buy
Our approach was to develop content to attract cold and warm traffic on various platforms, including:
- Google search, display and video
- YouTube pre-roll ads using animations and shorts
- Cold and retargeting ads on both Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram
- Email funnels
- Theater ads
The content was the key to the success of the campaign, with promoted user-generated content, stories, reels, animations, videos, shorts, and carousel posts targeted to various audiences. We also worked with the Brescia team to ensure the content calendar demonstrated when Shout would post and when Brescia would post to create a fluid social media presence for users and avoid overlap.
We also realized that organic search result rankings required substantial improvement and launched a very detailed SEO strategy. Our approach was on and off-page SEO throughout the project.
- Competitors’ analysis & keyword research
- Content development targeting the right keywords
- Optimize existing content on the site
- Creating a consistent link-building campaign
The improved keyword rankings were another successful result of the campaign.
The approach for the digital and social campaigns also included ensuring all contentwas branded consistently, and a/b testing occurred continually. The media buy, and ad management was adjusted daily to maximize ad spending and minimise click-through costs. The marketing and advertising plan was flexible. Data was key, and ads that didn’t obtain results were turned off or edited. The budget was often shifted to ensure ads obtained the highest possible return on investment (ROI) or return on ad spend (ROAS).
The ultimate goal was to increase applicants; the call-to-action was actual applicant form completions.
Visibility growth (2 to 8%) in the last 90 days
Increase in Ontario applicants compared to the year prior
Unique CTR increased over one quarter
Multiple keywords jumped from lower pages (5th, 6th) to 1st page
Shout produced all assets in-house, including graphic design, copywriting, video editing, and animation. Shout also managed the media buy and all ads internally and developed all email funnels in-house. Shout did source out voice-over and provided creative direction to Brescia for photography. Our marketing management included analysis, goal setting and reporting and analytics for all of the above.
Shout built out innovative and industry-leading creative and copy that increased post-secondary intake and maximized conversions into acceptance, including different messaging for different target audiences, both domestic and international.
Project management and reporting tools we used were:
- Asana for project management
- Loomly for proofing and scheduling
- Slack and Google Docs for client communication
- Ahrefs and SemRush for ongoing page health and keyword analysis
- Klavyio for email funnels
- Google Analytics 4 and Facebook Pixel and Ads Manager data
- Whatagraph for reporting
Addressing the Concerns of Today’s Students
Brescia has seen tremendous success by focusing on solutions to the career and economic concerns facing today’s learners. The digital strategy and website updates deliver clear, impactful messages about the value of a Brescia degree — including the university’s top-notch academic reputation, along with career advancement, a focus on leadership, and the freedom to balance school, work, and life in a safe, secure environment.
Campaigns Built for Long-Term Success
Over the course of their relationship with Shout, Brescia has successfully overcome the challenges facing many colleges and universities during the ongoing enrollment crunch, both increasing their student population in existing programs and educating the audiences on the benefits of a Brescia education. The strong branding, messaging, varied audience development and dialed-in ads management has resulted in a strong social and digital presence that will continue through for the 2023 academic year.