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Online Project Wins 'Crystal Award'

June 4, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Story By: Elliott Cochran

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Crystal award winners posing with their award
SHSU's Jeff Olsen, Mary Pascarella, Diane McCormick, Elisa Crossland, Jessica Tackett, Lauren Sears, Eric Odom, and Derrick Alexander accepted their Crystal Award at the Houston Chapter of the American Marketing Association's awards gala on May 29. —Submitted photo

Sam Houston State University made an impression at the 28th Annual Crystal Awards, winning the Online Marketing Campaign—Business to Consumer award.

The award honored SHSU for the first year of its online marketing campaign, a component of the web optimization project, a cross-divisional collaboration between SHSU Online, Enrollment Management and Academic Affairs. Web optimization refers to the procedures used to help a website rank well in search engines when searching a subject.

“We are privileged to accept this award and view the result as a testament to both the relationship between Enrollment Management and SHSU Online and the continued support of the Web Optimization Project Advisory Committee,” said Diane McCormick, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management.

The awards, hosted May 29 by the Houston Chapter of the American Marketing Association, were open to member non-profit and private businesses from across the greater Houston area.

With a goal of increasing online and graduate programs, SHSU’s campaign utilizes Google and Bing search engine and display advertising, retargeting and a comprehensive microsite to generate leads, which are imported into the Hobsons Customer Relationship Management tool. The university also contracted with Hobsons Education Solutions Company to manage the logistics of advertising placement, reporting, and strategy development.

The web optimization project was established in spring 2012 and is led by Elisa Crossland, director of online programs and communication for SHSU Online, and McCormick. Supported by staff from SHSU Online and Enrollment Management, the project is also guided by a campus-wide advisory committee.

To date, the campaign has exceeded all performance goals, generating 924 total new student leads (115 percent of the projected lead volume), garnering 66 percent (or 611 leads) expressing interest in a graduate or online undergraduate program, and converting 17 percent (or 160 of those leads) into applications for enrollment.

“It is an achievement for Sam Houston State University to be acknowledged amongst a distinguished group of organizations; the result of the Crystal Awards exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to another exciting year of the campaign,” Crossland said.

The award intersects the one-year mark of the online marketing campaign, which has been approved for another year.

For more information on the web optimization project, visit shsu.edu/web-optimization.




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