The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) consists of eleven members who utilize the advice of consistent groups of the community college system to establish policies for state statutes. Their goal is to nurture a pipeline of talented professionals by expanding their presence in 48 local communities and assessments. They wanted to create a digital marketing toolkit to better perform their duties and provide services to the communities they represent.

Customized IT Apprenticeship programs have been embraced by many based on recognized needs, and the ICCB was looking to reevaluate the program and its student outreach. The ICCB wanted to gain student interest in the apprenticeship programs and to connect with IT employers.

Pace Creative partnered with Business Builders Marketing, a women-owned, BEP and HubSpot certified marketing agency in Illinois to work on large contracts in higher education. Our teams worked with ICCB to develop a digital marketing toolkit aimed at increasing engagement with students in Illinois. Working alongside ICCB, Pace Creative’s content strategy and SEO expertise to make the apprenticeship program campaign a success for the long-term and getting predictable results.


leads in a single month


conversion rate across community colleges


traffic from branding initiatives


Due to the complexity of tracking user journeys across ad channels, the website, and print materials, ICCB had little data on lead conversion, applications and registrations of the IT and therefore no way to guide decision making. This is why a digital marketing toolkit was the best starting point.

  • What specific assets and streams needed to be accounted for in this strategic digital marketing toolkit?
  • How to develop a promotional strategy to attract students to enroll in the IT apprenticeship program?
  • How to implement a campaign that resonates with students?
  • How to provide supporting campaign assets for colleges in Illinois to repurpose?
  • How to implement an SEO strategy to rank online for IT program searches in Illinois?


Content Marketing Strategy

Pace Creative created a content marketing strategy as a foundation strategy to better understand the user journeys for both the students and IT employers. The personas are different and so the customer journey is unique to each.

As part of the content marketing strategy, we developed a tailored report for ICCB that included:

  1. primary and secondary industry research
  2. the buyer personas;
  3. outline each customer journey;
  4. initial content topics (based on keyword research and an SEO strategy);
  5. editorial calendar.

The goal is to identify the right message to the right audience at the right time in the decision-making process.

Campaign Strategy

To increase brand awareness across local markets and drive conversions of prospective learners from organic leads, we developed a campaign strategy to include a marketing toolkit for colleges in Illinois to repurpose. To promote the toolkit to colleges, we developed a promotional strategy to cover various marketing channels – traditional and non-traditional.

Part of the campaign strategy we identified tools and their implementation – so that we can track performance. Each tool is intended to track student engagement and brand awareness of the apprenticeship program.

Digital Marketing Toolkit Construction

Pace Creative and Business Builders Marketing developed a marketing toolkit for any college in Illinois to customize for their own use and promotion to students. The toolkit has been developed using a content strategy approach – we use behavioral psychology and followed the purchased decision-making process to craft the content to make sure it resonates with each audience type.

The tool kit includes a campaign activation plan, list of assets to repurpose and rebrand such as unique landing pages, digital and social media ads, social media posts, and educational videos to promote the program. Within each asset, we developed talking points for colleges to increase student interest in the IT apprenticeship program. We provided sales letters that would engage IT employers with program administrators. We created strategic content for various marketing materials for colleges to implement, intending to invite organic leads and convert these leads, which may entail students or IT employers participating in the program.

We provided these tools and the strategy for implementation to ensure the success of the apprenticeship program.

Creating Strategic Social Media Content

To ensure the right messaging resonated with our student audience, we created a strategic social media content plan that was aligned with our SEO strategy. This enabled us to effectively share engaging posts and motivate them to take further steps in their journey.

Educational Brand Video Content

Business Builders Marketing and Pace Creative joined forces to craft educational brand videos that delivered top-notch credibility to make the apprenticeship program popular amongst IT students. By leveraging Business Builders Marketing’s live video expertise with Pace Creative’s powerful messaging strategy to tailor each script, students were able to access high-quality content leading to increased viewership and desired engagement outcomes.

SEO Strategy for Organic Traffic

Pace Creative revolutionized the online presence of renowned universities, providing them with a cutting-edge SEO strategy. Conducting exceptional keyword research and intelligent application of terms across marketing material resulted in notably high website rankings that facilitated students to apply easily and IT employers to join forces to make the program a long-term success.

Tracking Performance

To ensure campaign success, we meticulously identified KPIs and devised means to measure them. We then created a detailed plan of action, allowing us to monitor the results from all channels as well as calculate each’s influence on revenue and the impact on enrollment.


  • ICCB saw a vast increase in leads of over 5000 per month across colleges in the state
  • Each community college achieved a 5% conversion rate of students signing up for the program
  • The social media strategy was a success, with social media engagement ranging from 2-5% for colleges
  • SEO strategy resulted in a range of 800-1,000 organic traffic for colleges each month

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