A fashion institute based in Delhi that began operations in 2014.
Brand Building and Conversions.
The brand was a newcomer into an area dominated by well-established institutes with years of operations, including some who had very good digital presence.
The peak admission season was over 6 months away, and there was ample time and scope to get the basics right, before focusing on conversions and numbers.
1) Identifying the Brand Tone
The first thing to do for every digital marketing project, and one that’s highly neglected in the Indian market, is to clearly establish the Brand Tone. We have an internal questionnaire which we used for this purpose (inspired by the ebook Watch your tone) which goes sequentially, by first spelling out the values that the brand wishes to represent, and then identifying the right form of communication and conversation that would be consistent with how the brand wishes to project itself.
With that completed, we began with the basics – focusing on both on-page and off-page SEO.
For SEO, our primary focus was very much on quality content. Descriptions all over the website were updated and presented in a manner friendly to both users and search engines. Blogging became a regular process, which we complemented further with submissions to article directories and other channels.
We also added information that we felt was necessary for our website visitors, including a ‘virtual campus tour’ on both our Facebook page and the website. Google Analytics Data indicated that this page was a very useful part of the overall process for the client.
We can see how well this has paid off.
Traffic before December 2014 was negligible. It steadily increased till reaching a peak during the most important months of admissions, i.e, July and August, before slowly declining to pre- June levels, after we stopped our paid advertisements.
As you can see, almost a quarter of these were entirely the result of organic search. As such visitors tend to stay for longer and have a lower bounce rate they improve your overall SEO rankings. This is thus a cycle that feeds itself once it starts.
I would also like to emphasize that while content is king, the technical aspects of SEO remain extremely important (asexplained in this video by the wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin). We experienced this first hand by noticing that several of the images used on the website appeared on the first page of a Google image search. This was achieved by painstakingly using the correct alt tags and URL structures for each image.
3) Social Media
Simultaneously, we had been slowly and diligently building up a social media presence. We used Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, but our best results came from Facebook and Instagram. For the former, we combined genuinely interesting content related to fashion with Page Like Ads, until we felt we had reached a critical mass of page likes. We also maintained a 6 hour response time on all our social handles.
At the beginning of January, we felt there was a need to increase both social engagement and reach. Hence, the twitter contest titled “#CareerinFashion. It was a three-day contest with two phases- follow and win, followed by the best tweet wins.
The results of the contest can be seen below.
A lot of digital marketers take issue with ‘Follow and Win’ contests, because they feel that the followers gained are not of any real value in the long term. However in our experience, acquiring followers becomes easier when you cross a critical mass of followers, as it tends to build up social proof, and that was the purpose behind the ‘follow and win’ part of the contest. While the picture does not capture our increase in followers, we found the pace increase by a significant amount after the contest.
Remember, this was in January, much before twitter ads began in India. We pulled of this contest through a mixture ofinfluencers and the correct use of hashtags, as well as personally engaging with users.
The contest helped us establish a presence on social media and we have built on since then. Combining this with personal engagement with twitter as a platform really paid off. For instance, here’s a retweet from our account by a fashion designer with over 305k followers.
4) Whatsapp & Facebook Campaign
It’s no secret that Whatsapp is ubiquitous on Indian smartphones, with over 70 Million Users. To capitalize on that, we ran a Facebook campaign asking users to Whatsapp us to initiate a discussion on career choices.
This was a bit of an experiment for us, we weren’t sure what to expect. However, the campaign ended up generating over 100 queries at the advertised Whatsapp number against a spend of just Rs 2000 (or about $30) in addition to a large amount of engagement on our Facebook page. Although very few of those leads led to actual conversions, the experiment turned out to be significant in getting brand recognition for an institute which was only admitting its second batch of students.
Here’s the difference in reach before and after the campaign.
5) Conversion Advertisements
We had started our advertisements way back in February. In March, we built separate landing pages for each course. We also went through each page of the website, and added CTA’s at the appropriate locations.
We found the conversions increased by 60%
In June, armed with a credible online budget, we pumped in some serious marketing efforts, spending our advertising budget on Facebook and Google Search, Display and Remarketing Ads
Google Advertisements were quite simply, a spectacular success for us. As the image shows, we gathered approximately conversions at an extremely reasonable rate. Search ads and re-marketing ads were the most successful.
The budget allotment for Facebook was far lower than Google, while it understandably had fewer conversions than Google, it did have a CPA that was almost half of Google’s.
How did we achieve those results? Good ad copy and creatives, constant optimization and monitoring the data. For instance, we noticed in our results that mobile was a much better platform for Google, and upon adjusting the ad placements, our numbers boosted significantly.
- 4x increase in admissions
- An impressive brand image has been built, especially online, as testified by two awards- Brand Achievers and Hues Republic. Since the institute did very little offline marketing, it is safe to say that much of the credit goes to digital marketing.
- SEO efforts have led to a consistent stream of organic trafficConclusion: There will be several times of the year when your digital marketing efforts resemble a 100 metre dash, however, Digital Marketing is a marathon! Make sure you’re in it for the long – haul, and educate your clients not to expect instant results.
As an inbound marketer for Dignitas Digital, a full-service Digital Agency, Fateh Mann combines his love for Writing and Startups. Follow him on Twitter @fatehsmann