What was the problem?
In 2018, the Museum of Life and Science doesn’t have the built in capabilities to sell camps and classes with their current POS software. They utilize an outside service. The Museum also uses a proprietary CMS that restricts access to certain functions behind a paywall. Last year’s Summer Camp website was bloated, text heavy, and frequently lost customers before a conversion could be made. To add on to the Education team’s frustrations: the proprietary CMS and outside camp selling software don’t play nice together — tracking a sale from tip to tail and determining conversion points was almost impossible for the 2017 camp year!
With the opening of a larger Chapel Hill campus, and a streamlined camp offering, what could we do to make our camp buying experience enjoyable?
What was the solution?
Knowing the limitations of the current CMS of choice for the Museum, as well as the limitations of the camp sales software, the solution was clear. I needed to move the summer camp webpage to it’s own subdomain, and use a different CMS. It’s possible to track Google Analytics through subdomains, so I made sure that our metrics would be track-able with no down time.
Last year’s site was text heavy and bloated. How could we cut through that and show people what they actually wanted to see? Utilizing WordPress, plug-ins, and hand-coded edits, I found a grid system that took end-users to a custom post type that would explain each camp in detail. On the homepage, that grid system would showcase a tile with an interesting image, the camp name, and the grades it was best suited for.
Working with R+M (the Museum’s brand experience agency) and Centro (the Museum’s ad buying agency), I created custom HTML classes that would allow the ad agency to better track registrations clicks, which we’d use as conversion points. With the help of our brand agency, I implemented SEO optimizations with customized meta descriptions and titles, to make the most out of the search engine ads we were placing.
This website exists in such a way that, if you wanted to, you could hit “register” straight from the homepage and never look back! If you’re a Museum member who consistently purchases camps and classes from us, we made sure to give you an easy button. But we also made sure to create a space where parents who wanted to plan more, and learn every detail, could do so without getting lost.
What role did I play?
I met with account stakeholders (the Education team) to determine their needs for the upcoming year. I also facilitated activities with them to help better understand what worked, what didn’t work, and what they wanted to see different. Those activities included finding design references and thinking about end-user roles.
After the initial discovery phase, I researched what our options were, and which would fit our organization. I presented these options to the Education team along with initial timelines, price considerations, and the pros and cons of going with each suggestion. I made sure to show what our current CMS could do, versus what other CMS could do.
After the decision was reached I worked with outside agencies to create our subdomain and get our new mini-site hosted. I also created working prototypes that I took to R+M for further development. With the help of their designers, we created a layout and template for three pages (home page, detailed down page, camp entry page) that could be scaled to fit as much information as the Education team would need.
I was responsible for implementation, creation, and entry of all information, and taking the steps needed to ensure our Google Analytics would match with our current website. The site launched on schedule, on budget, and has seen massive improvements over last year!
What was the outcome?
The Museum’s website was a big hit! As of our Summer Camp midpoint meeting, our metrics looked like this:
- Time spent on their website was almost doubled
- Organic search was up
- 2,000 registration clicks
- Unique traffic that led to a lead 52% of the time → From that lead a sale occurs 70% of the time.
- The total conversion rate is 38%
The website, with minor updates, is still in use for the 2019 camp year.
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