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JWU Integrates Events Into Its Marketing Mix and Boosted Traffic by 196%
JWU leveraged Localist’s SEO- and mobile-friendly event calendar software to increase organic traffic
University students rely on their mobile devices for everything – from keeping up with their classes to finding out what’s happening on campus.
Five years ago, Johnson & Wales (JWU) embarked on a mobile implementation to meet the needs of its always-connected students.
Ed wanted to streamline JWU’s events calendar, minimize data entry and make it easier for users to find out what was happening on campus.
Johnson & Wales learned about Localist at a higher education conference and saw that other schools, such as the University of Rhode Island, were using it.
“For us, it was a big deal that Localist focuses on higher education,” said Ed. “They knew our pain points and had lots of customers that we could look to for inspiration.”
JWU also wanted to customize its events calendar and access event data via Localist’s API.
The IT Digital Services Group rolled out Localist four years ago.
“Since Localist is an online, SaaS platform, we didn’t need to install any software or hardware,” said Ed. “This made the implementation go quickly.”
Ed didn’t run into any major roadblocks during the implementation, but when he did have a question, Localist’s support team was right there to help.
Localist offers JWU a lot of flexibility in how it groups and displays events. JWU can now tag events by campus, department or student group. Then, the events automatically appear on relevant feeds throughout JWU’s website and mobile app.
“We were pleasantly surprised by how we could leverage Localist’s API,” said Ed. “Our custom widgets get the right events in front of the right people. This makes it easier for people to find and register for events.”
After the initial launch, the IT Digital Services Group developed training materials and rolled out Localist to more departments and student groups.
“We were able to start small with Localist and then grow it organically. This was a big plus, as large projects tend to stall and take a while for people to jump on board and adapt."
Here’s how Localist has helped JWU engage more current and prospective students while spending less time on event management:
1. IMPROVED JWU’S SEO
Localist integrates with Google Analytics, so JWU can see how its events calendar is impacting its SEO.
Although the old events calendar didn’t attract much organic traffic, Localist changed that by making JWU's event postings more search engine friendly. Over this past year, Localist brought JWU 163,481 new visitors and 128,292 returning visitors.
“We’ve used Localist to create lots of quality content that’s getting picked up on social media,” said Ed. “These high-quality links, along with linking between our sites, has really helped with our SEO.”
In the past year alone, JWU has seen the organic traffic for its events increase by 196.13%. JWU’s event widgets and social channels are also driving more traffic to the university.
2. ALLOW MARKETING TO ENGAGE, TRACK, AND CONVERT MORE PROSPECTS
Events are a critical part of JWU’s marketing plan. JWU’s day school, online school and continuing education program all run events for specific prospects.
JWU’s marketing team can put campaign codes into Localist and send prospects emails with these codes. Then, Marketing can track clicks and open rates. Once a prospect gets to the Localist event listing, Marketing can see campaign conversion rates through Google Analytics.
Localist also helps the JWU community engage in word-of-mouth promotion. When users share and talk about events, they become an extension of JWU’s Marketing team, expanding the reach of their programs.
3. STREAMLINE EVENT MANAGEMENT
Localist has allowed the IT Digital Services Group to build a consistent process for posting events.
“Localist has streamlined our jobs,” said Ed. “We used to guess where to post events. Now we have a centralized process that makes uploading events quick and easy in one place.”
JWU is currently planning a website redesign. The university will continue to use Localist’s API to display relevant events on department, student group and campus web pages.