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Portland English Language Academy: Logo Redesign & Multilingual Website 

Port­land Eng­lish Lan­guage Acad­e­my worked with GRAYBOX to improve their mar­ket­ing efforts. This includ­ed hav­ing an improved logo design and a site bet­ter opti­mized for mar­ket­ing. GRAYBOX worked with PELA as their dig­i­tal part­ner to improve their brand, their social pres­ence, their web traf­fic and more through cre­ative strate­gies and close engage­ment with the PELA team.

Overall Outcome

GRAYBOX worked with PELA to under­stand their needs and opti­mize mar­ket­ing for long-term success.

The Results

PELA has since had a grow­ing social pres­ence and sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er and sus­tain­able web engagement.

  • 514%
    More Website Sessions
  • 266%
    More Applications
  • 609%
    Increase in SEO visitors

The Overall Problem

Portland English Language Academy (PELA) is a school where international students come to the US to study English on a short-term basis (generally about 6-12 weeks). To capture the interest of international students, PELA needed to communicate why their school and the city of Portland were superior choices for the audience as opposed to other schools.

PELA came to GRAYBOX with a 5+ year old WordPress website and a desire to more closely align their digital presence with their brand. The bulk of PELA’s target audience were accessing the site on the go from their phones and their existing site was not optimized for mobile.

Work­ing with GRAYBOX has been a great expe­ri­ence for us. The advice and infor­ma­tion we receive from them is always thought­ful and effec­tive. It has been a great team effort in that they lis­ten to us and act upon what we need them to do while also tak­ing the lead and guid­ing us when that is what is need­ed. Our web traf­fic and the appli­ca­tions we have received has more than dou­bled over last year. GRAYBOX has also giv­en us great direc­tion and assis­tance on grow­ing our social media pres­ence. More­over, the logo they cre­at­ed for us has real­ly been a home-run. We have been able to use it in a lot of cre­ative ways around our school and in our mar­ket­ing. I am very excit­ed about the future of our school thanks to GRAY­BOX’s efforts.

D’Arcy Owen, Owner, PELA

Our Solution

1. Brand Definition

GRAYBOX dove deep into PELA’s brand to identify the school’s unique selling points and understand the audience’s decision-making process. One of PELA’s biggest challenges is to convince their prospective students to come to Portland to study when there were so many other schools in big cities like New York City or Los Angeles. Once it became clear how the existing visual expression of the brand was incongruous with who PELA is, our strategists and designers got to work redesigning the logo and overhauling the website.

2. Wireframing & Design of Multi-Lingual Website

Largely consumed on mobile, the website needed to be intuitive, welcoming, and feel fresh and fun. The user insights uncovered in our brand definition phase directly informed the structure and content types for the website. Through wireframing we were able to work closely with the client to craft a digital experience that told the story of the school and highlighted top selling points for the company and city of Portland.

We wanted the website to be flexible and evolve with the school as they grew. GRAYBOX created a modular structure for the site that is based on content types such as testimonials and teacher bios. This enabled us to easily shuffle content placement and presentation to craft a compelling user experience. The new website also integrates new student applications with digital databases at PELA, helping to streamline the intake process.

3. Marketing

Once the brand and website were dialed in, they needed traffic. PELA engaged GRAYBOX to help them reach enrollment and sales goals through strategic marketing. We developed a marketing plan built around their budget and designed to focus on the school’s growth goals. Tactics included SEO and digital advertising campaigns, measuring results, adjusting efforts, and repeating to continuously improve conversion rates and ROI.

The client wanted to focus on recruiting students from countries that speak Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Spanish. We ran multi-language ads to reach out to these audiences. Drip email marketing was implemented to follow up on initial contacts made by prospective students. Through examining traffic metrics we found a large and growing percentage of referral traffic was coming from Facebook. We crafted a multi-language campaign on Facebook, sponsored posts of English lessons, and launched a content-driven campaign to saturate their Facebook feed with enticing and community-building content. Whenever possible we conducted A/B testing to continuously refine and improve our creative.

PELA is one of the best posi­tioned Eng­lish lan­guage schools in the region, and they offer their stu­dents an expe­ri­ence that few com­peti­tors can match. The prob­lem they faced was that their web­site — which was one of their pri­ma­ry tools for reach­ing prospec­tive stu­dents — did not match the feel of the expe­ri­ence stu­dents could expect when they arrived in Port­land. GRAYBOX helped PELA to revamp their logo and brand guide­lines to mod­ern­ize their appear­ance, and build a web­site as a plat­form to bet­ter reach and com­mu­ni­cate with prospec­tive, cur­rent, and past students.

Jon Love, Principal / Director of Sales at GRAYBOX

Our Results

PELA's partnership with GRAYBOX over the last six years has meaningful contributed to their online marketing efforts

PELA has seen a massive, 260% increase in online student applications over the years as we've continually driven PPC and SEO traffic to the new site (which we also redesigned) — this 500%+ increase in traffic has been a major driver in their online success.

  • 514%
    More Website Sessions
  • 266%
    More Applications
  • 609%
    Increase in SEO visitors