UW-Madison Engineering Professional Development

Continuing Ed Goes E-Commerce

Helping the nation’s working engineers get ahead is hard to do with a website and media strategy that’ve fallen behind the times. Engineering Professional Development needed a serious update.

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Site unseen

For years, UW-Madison College of Engineering’s Department of Engineering Professional Development (EPD) relied on brochures and postcards to promote its top-ranked short courses, certificates and degrees. Now those mailing lists were drying up, and EPD’s long-neglected website was struggling to fill the gap.

Too few working engineers ever made it to the site; despite a stellar reputation as one of the nation's oldest and largest continuing education programs for professional engineers, EPD didn’t make the first page of Google search results. And those who did make it to epd.wisc.edu faced a different kind of search problem. Because finding what you needed was hard, whether engineers went hunting for a single class, course details or a new educational path based on their interests and career goals.

EPD didn’t just need to reach new learners. They needed a site that could move engineers from curiosity to enrollment. KW2 implemented the best practices in e-commerce—for site and search—to get it done.

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Store or explore

User research made it clear: EPD’s redesigned site would need to serve two very different kinds of visitors.

So we developed new landing pages for practice areas like Energy, Infrastructure and Management to invite career-minded visitors to browse broad areas of study. KW2 also connected individual short courses to related programs and degrees, allowing EPD to cross-sell new possibilities.

Of course, some working engineers just want to update their credentials. That’s why KW2’s content strategists and designers radically restructured the site’s course descriptions—increasing conversions with prominent search tools, at-a-glance logistics and an easy enrollment process.

The result was a modern, mobile-friendly site designed to convert, smoothly pairing goal-oriented e-commerce with interest-driven exploration. And to make sure it got the traffic it deserved, we provided on-going SEO and analytics analysis while developing the organization’s first-ever digital media strategy.

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"Our redesigned website advances our brand, serves our customer community, and ultimately helps us achieve our mission. Within one week of site launch, Engineering Professional Development had more warm leads submitted through the website than the previous 4 months. We had 45 leads within two days."

Carl Vieth, Director, Engineering Professional Development

KW2’s digital media strategy delivered, earning EPD $3 in new revenue for $1 in paid media they invest. But that’s not all. Because, working together, KW2 and EPD built an award-winning site that gets stronger with every visit. Fresh insights from Google Analytics are helping Engineering Professional Development optimize their course offerings and online experience from month to month, and see their user engagement and conversion rates steadily climb.

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