Testing Well: Engaging Remote Learners While Piloting a New CRM

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY is a distinguished private university situated in Washington, DC. Founded in 1893, its most notable programs include political science, international relations, journalism, law, public policy, and business. It has a strong international reputation for academic programs, research, and a commitment to addressing global issues as well as preparing students to be leaders in their communities. The university's School of International Service is one of the largest and most highly ranked international affairs schools in the country. American University’s faculty includes Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Scholars, MacArthur Fellows, and other widely recognized experts.

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Lineout case study showing SEM, web design, and SEO results for American University.
Section //Scope


  • Google Ads

  • Landing Page Development

  • Site Speed Optimization


  • Improve lead generation for online and on-campus programs

  • Stand up HubSpot CRM integration and gather clean data to assess its potential value

Section //Overview


To market a new online learning program at American University, the client required technical marketing expertise in two key areas: paid search and CRM data management.

The client’s marketing agency for on-campus-student lead generation lacked the knowhow to effectively target audiences at the scale required for online-program recruitment.

Furthermore, the university wanted to pilot a strategic investment into HubSpot, a customer relationship management CRM tool, for data sharing across the institution’s recruitment teams. The CRM’s seamless deployment and integration with marketing data sources was critical to the success of the pilot.

American University SEM, web design and SEO results from Lineout.
Section //Execution


  • Manage Google Ads account strategy

  • Develop new branded landing pages optimized for conversion efficiency

  • Implement HubSpot forms and tracking

  • Overhaul Google Analytics tracking


We conducted a thorough review of the Google Ads account to identify relevant data that could inform our strategic rebuild. We also researched keyword volume and audience interests, and analyzed similar programs offered at other Northeastern universities in order to strategically position our client’s programs.

Using this research, we optimized landing pages, program pages, forms, and copy throughout.

To improve load time performance, we quickly rebuilt landing pages using a dedicated landing page platform. New quick-loading pages immediately improved conversion rates when coupled with design strategies that Lineout proved effective with other higher education clients.

Throughout the project, we collaborated closely with the client's recruitment team to gauge lead quality on a monthly basis. This enabled us to enhance our optimization efforts on the Google Ads account, landing pages, forms, and site speed.

AU graph


Over the first six months of our partnership, we achieved a 95% reduction in average lead cost, decreasing from $541.65 to $23.15, while simultaneously increasing lead volume by 541%. These significant improvements in cost reduction and lead volume had a positive impact on ad-spend efficiency and student enrollments.

Additionally, we increased conversion rates by 350% (increasing from 0.70% to 3.15%) during this same period. This was largely attributed to our design, intake form, and site speed optimizations for landing pages, which played a central role in reducing costs and increasing lead volume.

The client expressed satisfaction with the smooth integration of HubSpot with all internal systems, which facilitated a successful pilot and a university-wide rollout of the recruitment-data systems.

  • 95%Reduction in average lead cost
  • 541%Increased lead volume
  • 350%Increased conversion rates