How a Top 10 University Doubled Its Online Student Conversion in 20 Days

When Bentley University’s marketing team set out to launch a major admissions campaign for undergraduate and graduate students, they were looking at a wide open road, with a lot of potential opportunity.

They knew what they wanted: to deliver double-digit uplift in new student applications. But in order to achieve this, Bentley would need to gain deep insights into the factors that motivate prospective students and understand how to connect to them on both an emotional and rational level—to cut through the noise and start a value-based dialogue with prospective students.

They knew what they didn’t want: data without context. As a dynamic learning organization, not knowing the “why” behind audience decisions is almost as bad as doing no testing at all.

And that’s why A/B testing wasn’t the ideal solution. Successful institutions like Bentley don’t want to just get one-time answers. They want actionable data and insight that helps the entire organization get smarter and better at what they do, in the least amount of time possible.

So when they heard about the insights they could get with WEVO in only 20 days, they knew they had to give it a try.

Getting a deeper dive

Bentley presented their landing page, and the WEVO team went to work. But instead of only delivering insights, WEVO delivered a new landing page based on customer insights that was guaranteed to boost conversion, ready for immediate implementation.

Those insights “helped us get to the heads and hearts of our target audiences,” the Bentley team said. “The quotes and the insights on what was appealing or not appealing really helped us to target our audiences.”

For instance, the alumni stories that were included as part of Bentley’s testing concept resounded very highly with potential students—revealing that they “were connecting themselves to these stories and seeing themselves on this career progression.” But this wasn’t enough. It was vital for prospects to understand exactly how a Bentley education helped them further their career, not just that they attended the school.

“We wouldn’t have known the “why” with other tools. WEVO provided quotes that helped us significantly refine our personas and get a deeper understanding our customers,” they said. It was this creation of a quick feedback loop that helped move Bentley one step closer to being a more effective learning organization.

In addition to the customer insights and a new landing page, WEVO also provided a prediction of conversion increase.

Objective feedback helps deliver stakeholder buy-in

Bentley’s Marketing team supports many external initiatives and programs—which means they’re responsible to many stakeholders. There is a lot of anticipation and stress around results. Seasoned marketers know that approvals can take months.

But that didn’t happen with the WEVO engagement. “Having the data and comments from customers took out the internal back and forth ‘I think/you think’ debate. It became a customer-driven decision instead of a rank-driven one,” dictated by the top person in the room, they said.

As a result, the stakeholders were able to reach consensus quickly, and move confidently into market with a proven recruitment asset that would be able to deliver the results they sought.

The results were certainly impressive.

And that’s just the beginning

In the first Wevo, Bentley saw a 151% improvement in conversion rate. That would have been nearly impossible to achieve with standard methods like A/B testing.

“A/B testing is a tactical tool, not a strategic one like WEVO,” Bentley’s team said. “There are many split-level and multi-variant tests out there – but none can help leapfrog to a high performing creative like this can.”

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