Trump University’s Secrets to Online Success
Trump University, the online education company owned and founded by real estate tycoon Donald Trump, is on a roll.
The New York-based company, which is a division of The Trump Organization and offers education courses in real estate, management, negotiation, entrepreneurship and wealth creation, has seen a 15 percent increase in new members this year.
The university, which does not offer college credits or degrees, offers live training, one-to-one training, home study, online courses, packaged audio courses featuring CDs and links to online materials, and teleconferences. The company also has a Web site, www.trumpuniversity.com, the Trump Blog and an e-newsletter titled Inside Trump Tower, which is sent to all opt-in Trump University members.
To learn more about Trump University -- and its secret to online success -- eM+C spoke with Josef Katz, its vice president of marketing. Katz's role at the organization is twofold: attracting new customers and retaining current ones. Here are some highlights from the
eM+C: I understand Trump University has had some success with multivariate testing. Can you offer some details around this?
Josef Katz: Our live events are a large part of how we acquire new customers. These events drive a lot of traffic to our registration page, so we decided that we needed to optimize those pages to capture as many people as possible. In the spring of 2008, we began running a multivariate test on the registration page with a third-party solution provider. We tested what elements on the Web page affect conversion, and then we ran an optimal landing page with those elements against our current page. With multivariate testing, we found that bulleted text -- compared to long copy -- influences conversion by more than 16 percent. In addition, placement of our registration form below the fold -- which allows visitors to read more about an online course before signing up -- influences conversion by 75 percent, because visitors want to read more about specific courses before signing up for an event.
eM+C: I also understand that your company uses behavioral retargeting. Can you offer some examples of how you use this type of marketing and its effect?
JK: When someone comes to our site and then leaves it without registering, for example, we use behavioral retargeting to dynamically serve these people ads across a network of sites to try to get them to come back. So, for example, if they were on a page that was about a live event and they leave that site and go to another site, we can show them a Trump banner ad on that site [that] mentions a live Trump event in their area. Just to clarify: There is no personal information being stored or shared here. This type of behavioral retargeting has contributed an incremental 6 percent in total conversions.
eM+C: It seems as though Trump University believes in using Web 2.0/social marketing techniques as part of its marketing mix. Can you discuss any specific programs you are working on?
JK: I personally participate for Trump U. professionally on a number of niche-oriented social media sites, such as real estate-specific sites, since one of our biggest areas of concentration is real estate at Trump U. We also have our blogs, our discussion boards, our community within Trump U., and we also have some podcasts. We are constantly looking to expand upon that.
eM+C: Can you offer our readers any tips/best practices in terms of social media marketing in general?
JK: Explore what is out there, and then register and spend some time with niche social networking sites that relate to your business. Then, participate in these sites regularly, but don't try to sell; don't be a salesperson. Contribute, add value, make new contacts and connections, and people will find you over time.