How we grew prospective student leads by 158% for Joyce University.

Since 1979, Joyce University (formerly Ameritech College of Healthcare) has been one of Utah’s leading nursing schools—offering accelerated Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs. With ambitious growth goals, student enrollment is always a priority and they sought a new agency partner to substantially improve their existing paid search, search engine optimization, and website optimization efforts.

Within the first year of working together, we more than doubled their lead flow — increasing it by 111%. In the second year, we grew it even further, resulting in a total 158% increase in annual leads.

Nursing schools increasingly compete for market share.

Although nursing is an increasingly in-demand profession, even reputable institutions like Joyce University have to compete for students in a crowded marketplace and within a limited geographical region. Most prospective students look for local options to avoid relocating and some continue to work at their existing jobs while they pursue their nursing degrees.

Joyce’s student outcomes have always been exceptional with some of the highest NCLEX exam pass rates (the RN certification exam) in the state, and over the past 41 years, they’ve earned a well-deserved reputation as one of Utah’s best allied health schools. Aligning their marketing efforts with their positioning as a leader in nursing education would be key.


Integrating PPC, SEO, and CRO added up to more than the sum of their parts.

An audit of Joyce University’s paid search campaigns revealed opportunities to narrow keyword targeting, reallocate budget to top performing campaigns, and expand visibility via new keyword research —all focusing on increasing efficiency while increasing lead flow to the programs that needed it the most.

Search Engine Optimization
Similarly, the approach to SEO on the site would need a complete overhaul with particular attention to on-page optimization. That kicked off a gradual, steady rise in organic traffic and leads that would continue quarter-after-quarter for the past two-and-a-half years.

Conversion Rate Optimization
Reevaluating user experiences across the site combined with extensive customer research formed the basis of a conversion rate optimization campaign that led to what was effectively a redesign of the entire site, followed by incremental, ongoing A/B testing.

The result? 158% more leads year-over-year.

In the first year, prospective student leads more than doubled (a 111% year-over-year increase), while advertising budgets either stayed the same or in some cases, decreased. After early, big wins in the first year, focus shifted towards making incremental improvements to traffic quality and conversion rates.

Since then, we’ve helped Ameritech set new records for leads generated while streamlining spend and reducing cost per lead. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this upward trend has continued to this day. In fact, the pandemic saw some of the best months in Joyce’s history as far as lead flow, bringing that increase up to 158% compared to the year before Decoder was brought on board.

“Decoder is the real deal. They’ve been a great partner and I have no doubt that they can help other businesses the same way they’ve helped ours.”

Josh Knotts, VP of Strategy & Marketing

These results are no accident.

Over the past 12 years, we’ve helped hundreds of clients of all shapes and sizes transform their businesses. From rapidly growing start-ups to Fortune 500s to hundred year old businesses embracing new digital channels, we’ve seen it all. Here’s what we were able to accomplish for some of our other clients:


Powells Logo

Additional annual sales for the world’s largest independent bookstore



Higher leadflow for a healthcare college in the first year



Increase in users for an online business mentoring network

Ready to be our next case study?

Book a free strategy session with our CEO and we’ll give you a candid assessment of your most promising opportunities for growth as well as whether or not we’re a good fit for your needs.

    Benjamin Wills

    Portland, OR

    Ben will get back to you within 24 hours.