University of San Diego
A Fast-growing Higher Ed Brand Gets a New Website that Can Keep Up
University of San Diego Online offers online masters degree programs to adult and non-traditional learners looking to advance their careers. Their existing website wasn’t equipped to keep up with their rapid growth. As a long-time client, they turned to Vital for fresh branding, new functionality, and a new site that would make it easy for them to scale and launch new programs.
A Focus on the Journey to Enrollment
Our experience with higher education brands has taught us that traditional approaches to generating web leads for enrollment marketing miss the mark. Focusing primarily on calls to action (CTAs) to apply or request more information leaves out the vast majority of potential students who aren’t yet ready to take that step. For this new site, we designed CTAs that connect with students at an earlier stage in the journey, encouraging them to engage with USD Online by exploring programs and degrees first — and offering application-focused information and CTAs later.
Addressing the Concerns of Today’s Students
As colleges and universities around the country struggle to fill their enrollment funnels, USD Online has seen tremendous success by focusing on the career and economic concerns facing today’s learners. The new site delivers clear, impactful messages about the value of a USD Online degree — including the university’s top-notch academic reputation, along with career advancement, a clear return on investment, and the freedom to balance school, work, and life.
Built for Long-term Success
Over the course of their relationship with Vital, USD Online has successfully overcome the challenges facing many colleges and universities during the ongoing enrollment crunch, both increasing their student population in existing programs and adding new programs to keep up with demand. In fact, they’ve been so successful that their website wasn’t able to keep up. The new site adds a ton of functionality on the front-end — and, just as importantly, it makes it easy for their marketing team to add new programs, new pages, and new content to support continuing growth.
Mobile-first for Tomorrow’s Students
We knew making the site mobile-friendly would be a priority for the new site build, and our research confirmed it. After diving into analytics, interaction tracking, heat maps, and insights from Nielson Norman Group and Learning House, we saw huge spikes in USD Online’s mobile usage. So we designed the site for tomorrow’s mobile-first users. The site doesn’t just look great on mobile — it also delivers an easy, intuitive mobile user experience to ensure high engagement and conversion rates for the growing numbers of students who prefer to use their phones to go online.
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