Transforming a Face-to-Face Program to a Virtual Setup
TrendUp was an all-in-person program providing 3-day intensive training sessions at various Universities across the globe. While the program was extremely successful, it did not provide an online presence. This lack of an online presence ultimately led to an inability to scale. Like countless other businesses around the globe, once COVID-19 hit TrendUp was forced to rethink its own business and customer acquisition approach. Ultimately, this would mean a shift towards an online platform as well as a reshaping of its business model.
Our team took on the challenge to digitize TrendUp in under two months so we could pilot test an online curriculum. Having an accelerated timeline, we worked closely with the Founder of TrendUp in three core areas intended to establish the online platform. The first being a brand strategy that focused on creating a clear brand identity and positioning for TrendUp that would resonate with ambitious students in Finance from all backgrounds.
The second being a responsive website that is mobile optimized (mobile accounts for over 50% of web traffic), instills trust in current and future customers with strong brand messaging, and which allows new visitors to understand TrendUp’s value propositions in a simple way.
Lastly, the third being a PR Strategy to get features on leading finance publications in the United States primarily targeting Yahoo Finance, Marketwatch, Investorplace, and Star Tribune.
Our journey with TrendUp started off by holding stakeholder meetings with everyone on the TrendUp team and digging deep into what their ethos is as well as who they believed their target audience was. Our goal with this was to get a solid understanding of who they were as well as what their impact had been within their industry.
It was during this discovery phase that the world seemed to go on pause. As we were preparing to launch an in-person cohort of students in April and May of 2020, COVID-19 hit. This led the leadership at TrendUp to halt any further developments for the foreseeable future. Knowing that our team had the capabilities to design, create and launch a digital-first program – we brought the idea to them. The team at TrendUp agreed and our team at Free Logic got to work on transforming what was once a face-to-face company into an online capable one in under two months.
Our Core Pillars for The TrendUp Now Digital Transformation
- Create an online learning platform with ease of use and user retention in mind.
- Take in as much feedback from stakeholders and users as possible.
- Ensure continued success and outreach with whoever has interacted with TrendUp Now.
Understanding the Real ROI of Taking Your Program Online
One of the biggest obstacles TrendUp Now was facing was putting in the time to build out its online course and presence.
These initial steps were the toughest as there was no precedent within the TrendUp team for the time it would take to take the materials they had for their in-person courses. It would be our team’s job to work with them hand-in-hand to ensure what they were creating would not only translate well as an online course but would act as an always accessible and relevant resource pool. In many ways, this was a task that would have had to have happened eventually.
By enabling the TrendUp Now team to think about their courses with an online mentality, we have shifted how they can be leveraged. Ultimately leading to their course having a greater reach and widening their user and student base into a global cohort.
Building a Win-Win Model with Student Success In Mind
As we started to think about what an online platform would look like we quickly came to the realization that we should subsidize the program and reduce the price of enrollment. This was our way of ensuring the program would be more accessible to students during Covid-19. Our intent was to enable more people to break into finance roles especially with Covid-19 imposing a tight job market. The program provides students with the skills, experience, and network to break into the finance industry during such a tight job market.
Along with that came the development of branding strategy including naming, messaging, and visual branding of the online program. All of this while ensuring our target demographic was at top of mind along each step of development.
Developing a Brand & Website as Forward Thinking as Its Students & Users
Once we knew everything we could about TrendUp we began to start a brand awareness push for the new online courses while also starting the website development. We started off by designing and developing a minimal viable product for the TrendUp website. This site would still include an application as well as a payment portal so we could begin the process of enrolling students into the online cohort.
All the while the Free Logic team was designing and developing marketing materials that included flyers, paid ads, search engine marketing, and email marketing. Our email marketing efforts led us to reach over 1200 current students who fell right into our target demographic for this initial pilot program. Along with that, we set up direct marketing campaigns and email automation that would nurture current sign-ups as well as allow for scalable growth and management for future sign-ups.
Finished Does Not Mean Final
After we finished our first online cohort and pilot test, we quickly went back to the drawing board to see how we can improve on it. There was no room for us to rest on our laurels.
We continuously strategize marketing, automation, and overall business growth with TrendUp Now. This led to us conducting post-program user interviews with all program alumni to improve both the program and website experience. Along with that we also conducted customer discovery interviews with prospective program participants to refine TrendUp’s target audience, and clearly identify market needs and pain points. Based on that research and data we mapped out an updated target audience, customer journey, and user experience that further solidified our branding strategy and messaging.
Scope of Work
Full-Service Website Development
Wireframes & High-Fidelity Mockups
Data Analytics & Tracking
Interviews & Surveys
Build Target Audience
Business Model & Growth Strategy
Brand Awareness & Growth
Affiliate & Recruiting
Brand Style Guide