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Education website doubles online revenue.
Pays for itself in only 3 months!

The Challenge

As a distance education provider, Cengage Education depends heavily on web marketing for its new business, which is why it's Australia's largest online advertiser in the education vertical.*

In 2009, Cengage commissioned a new website for the Australian College of Journalism (ACJ) to increase brand appeal and online revenue for its editing, journalism and writing courses.

The objective was to engage students and build purchase intent across its entire course range, positioning the ACJ as a progressive and contemporary educator in an increasingly competitive market.

Design should be user-centric and extensible to manage enhancements and extend the life of the site. Non-technical staff at Cengage should be able to update content easily as business needs change, managing split tests, sales promotions and a changing portfolio of courses and marketing literature.

The Solution

Soda followed a proven Agile approach refined over 10 years, inviting client feedback as work progessed so all changing requirements could be included.

Involving client stakeholders early, Soda was able to analyse the sales environment for a clear picture of user behaviour, drawing on its own e-business expertise and historical site data supplied by Cengage.

Core business requirements were scoped to document essential functionality required upfront and build a site with high useability meeting recognised web standards.

With an eye on budget, visual designers reworked affordable stock images for an inspiring new look that considers the market's interest in traditional media and now defines the ACJ brand in course and print advertising material – a low-cost alternative to re-branding.

The site has modular navigation and is built in a Content Management System (CMS) that integrates with mainstream software for added longevity and business reponsiveness. High value is extracted from web traffic through a series of custom e-business applications that can capture customer details, no matter where visitors sit in the sales cycle for further call-centre marketing or payment processing.

Soda also helped deploy a reporting system including web-tracking and analytics to provide detailed marketing information for future site and online campaign optimisation.

The Results

The project was completed within a tight four-week build-cycle as requested by Cengage Marketing Manager, Amanda Wood.

"Soda showed they get the education space and our online needs. It's the small things like being able to add a new menu tab easily or update course prices that make the difference."

The site is SEO-compliant with a layout that encourages students to take the next step towards enrolment.

"We've revitalised our journalism faculty and had a complete return on investment in only three months with higher conversion rates. Leads have doubled and we get more value from all site visitors – it's a big improvement on the old site," says Wood.

On the back of this success, Wood invited Soda to manage the creative side of a digital brand campaign promoting the site.

"Rich media was executed for an education campaign supporting offline advertising run in tandem. It was an advantage having a single supplier with competency across digital media. We were able to put an effective campaign together quickly. The advertising ran on major digital networks including Adconian with high click-through rates and traffic."