As the state’s premier urban research university, IUPUI offers more than 200-degree programs from two of the state’s top universities. To better serve the needs of today’s evolving student demographic, IUPUI created a Degree Completion Office to assist adult students in their journey to finish or start a degree program. SmallBox partnered with this initiative to help reach a new audience through their own voice, while still maintaining the greater university’s brand.
When many folks think of a college student, they picture the traditional, 18-year-old recent high school graduate; someone who’s probably leaving home for the first time. Since its accreditation in 1969, IUPUI has strived to provide an elite, traditional experience for undergraduate students—the keyword being traditional.
The true challenge for the Degree Completion Office was to engage and gain awareness of today’s changing student demographic without undoing the university’s intentional efforts in providing a traditional experience, while also providing a nurturing, supportive entry point for the new, nontraditional audience.
The process with SmallBox really helped us define who our customer is, and then share the benefits of completing a degree at IUPUI. [They] helped us get the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
– ERIC SICKELS, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND DIGITAL STRATEGY
After our in-depth discovery centered on understanding target students, we planned for a new Degree Completion Office website—a hub within the larger IUPUI ecosystem that would cater to the needs of new and returning learners, many of whom haven’t stepped foot in a classroom in decades.
The goal of the website was two-fold: to create an intuitive experience that would act as an effortless entry point for a potential student to connect with the Degree Completion Office.
To emphasize the office’s commitment to personalized support for returning students, we included short biographies and photos of each success coach and career consultant. Two of those team members wrote resources with real examples and advice from their years of working with returning students. To drive it all home, we highlighted three unique stories of IUPUI adult students.
And to draw in potential students, we focused digital advertising on Google, Bing, and Facebook with a slew of targeting mechanisms. Our adult student, geo-targeted campaign was the first of its kind for the Degree Completion Office, and for IUPUI.
In a little less than a year’s time, our combined efforts have brought in 165+ potential leads through the website form alone. According to Eric, IUPUI and IU have been impressed with the initiative’s success. “Our site traffic and conversions are through the roof and our student success coaches are working with students they would have otherwise never met,” he says. “We’ve also been able to better define our office and process to students and stakeholders alike.”