When your mission is "to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems," what can be more effective than a webpage of video "profiles" of schools that have benefited from your program? I clicked on Marlboro, N.J., a town next to where I grew up, and watched a 1:46 minute testimonial of school officials praising MIND Research Institute's ST Math Program.
ST Math "provides the ability to have students progress through the station rotation model both independently and in a small group," says the principal, while footage of young students learning fills the screen.
"Before the summer of 2017, all information about ST Math was housed on mindresearch.org," wrote Kelsey Skaggs, engagement specialist for MIND Research Institute, in her 2018 SIPAwards entry for Best New or Relaunched Website (which won second place). "As the program grew, a better and more efficient way of communicating product information to potential users was needed. Therefore, stmath.com was created. MIND's new product website explains how ST Math works, details its impact, and provides resources, training and support."
Since launching, site traffic has increased by 84%—143,000 average monthly visitors in Q1 and Q2 of fiscal year 2018, compared to 77,500 average monthly visitors in fiscal year 2017. Organic traffic alone has increased by 43%—a 53,000/month average up from a 37,000/month average in fiscal year 2017. This accounts for 37% of overall web traffic.
Here are more keys to the success of MIND's new website:
Create better SEO. With the new product pages, MIND is able to compete for more non-branded keywords in Google search results, such as "math program" (increased from page 5 to page 1), "elementary math software" (increased from page 3 to page 1), and many more.
Reduce the clutter. The creation of a dedicated product site, stmath.com, helped to separate ST Math from the revamp of the organizational site, mindresearch.org. This helped the organization develop a stronger and clearer brand identity.
Spotlight more content. Click on the "blog" and you're taken to a page filled with articles and Inside Our MIND podcast episodes (14 in all so far of about 20 minutes each). The most recent post asks you to join the ST Math Winter Break Challenge. Another post tells How Coding Supports the Mathematical Practices, and a timely one offers Holiday Gift Ideas that Give Back to MIND.
Constantly update pages. Scheduled edits/additions to stmath.com are continually being made to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of education. Notable additions include a new parent resource page, information around professional development offerings, and new pages focusing on their newest WestEd study and data methodology.
Use gamification. One page offers sample math game puzzles to play. "In ST Math, action is critical and mistakes are the perfect opportunity for learning. Animated immediate feedback offers an intrinsically motivating learning experience that shows students the mathematical consequences of each answer."
Sell. The first question on the FAQ page asks, "How Do I Buy ST Math?"
Offer a trial. "Experience the power of visual learning with a free, 30-day ST Math® trial."
List resources. There are self-guided online courses, webinars, personalized learning, student engagement, parent resources, customized training and Math Rigor.
Use original photos. The pictures that the MIND Research Institute uses with kids learning are engaging and authentic. There also headshots of their six developers that are nicely done.
Use more video. Another video talks about the professional development that is provided to the school personnel. Again, it's well-done and enticing to a school concerned about the support they would receive.
"This site has changed the way viewers see math and has allowed us to reach and support more educators, parents and students than ever before," Skaggs wrote. In less than a year, stmath.com generated nearly 3 million views.
Previous 2018 SIPAward Winner Profiles:
Money-Media - Best Lead Generation/Nurturing Campaign
January Spring – Best Editorial and Marketing Collaboration
EB Medicine – Best Use of Video
AAA Northeast – Best Product Launch
Access Intelligence - Best Conference Marketing
Behr's Verlag – Best Video Product
Cynopsis – Best Awards Program Marketing
Simplify Compliance - Best Lead Generation/Nurturing Campaign
OPIS – Social Media Marketing Campaign
Education Week – Best Success Story