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We Won a Davey!


Last year, GRAYBOX partnered with the Portland English Language Academy (PELA). They were looking to increase the numbers of applications from prospective students. We dove deep for them and not only increased their applications, but increased their site traffic, conversion rate and mobile traffic. For our efforts, the project was recognized with a Davey Award.


PELA is a school that offers short-term (6-12 week) programs that instruct international students in the English language. Their website and online presence are essential to their success as most students enroll without ever visiting the school. The challenge for GRAYBOX was several fold. Not only were we working to attract non-English speakers, but we were trying to increase awareness in multiple foreign countries while competing with schools in much bigger cities and updating an outdated site.

The Approach

GRAYBOX tackled this challenge three ways. First, we addressed the brand and design of the website and logo so that they aligned with who PELA is. Then, we built a responsive, multi-lingual website that was easily consumed on mobile devices in many languages. Finally, we utilized our marketing team to produce results using digital advertising campaigns.


PELA now has an image that matches their brand. Their new logo is fresh, exciting, welcoming and collaborative. Their WordPress site is responsive and easily consumed on mobile. The site’s imagery displays the culture of Portland and the copywriting re-emphasizes this.

From a traffic perspective, the website achieved:

  • 30% more site visits
  • 629% more mobile traffic
  • 107% Increase in number of applications
  • 147% increase in rate of converting visitors into applicants

The Davey Awards honor the best small agencies for their work in Web, Design, Advertising, Video, Mobile and Social. GRAYBOX and PELA were honored in the Websites-Education category for the excellent uptick in applications, conversion rate and mobile traffic.

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