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Case Study: How Stick Shift Driving Academy Increased Traffic 72% and Inbound calls 120%

5 min read

Stick Shift Driving Academy relies on inbound marketing to reach their audience and needs a high volume of quality content. The marketing team wanted to grow search rankings, increase their publishing cadence and reduce feedback loops.

So they partnered with MarketMuse to speed up their publication cadence and improve content quality with objective measures. MarketMuse enabled the Stick Shift Driving Academy team to publish more content, faster while building true topical authority with high-quality content optimized for search.

Stick shift driving academy achieved a 72% organic traffic increase 110% form completion increase and 120% increase in inbound calls.

The Company

Stick Shift Driving Academy teaches people how to drive manual transmission vehicles with instructors located across the United States.

Given their unique niche, the driving school knew organic search could be a key to unlocking exponential growth. That meant producing high-quality content — and lots of it — to meet their potential customers in their moment of need.

That’s why Stick Shift Driving Academy partnered with MarketMuse to discover content opportunities and gaps and increase output cadence by utilizing guided content briefs for better communication with writers so they could do more, faster.

The Challenge

“I can’t really do any push,” Founder Giuseppe Frustaci spoke candidly about the challenges of marketing in the industry. “With outbound marketing, there’s no way for me to target people who need to learn to drive a manual transmission this week. And, if you don’t need it, seeing an ad isn’t going to change your mind.”

Learning to drive a manual transmission is a need usually triggered by a specific event, like buying a new car or getting a job that requires it. Understandably, these events are harder to target with traditional or modern methods, like social media ads.

In these moments, however, users are searching, especially for localized solutions, — i.e. “stick shift driving school near me” — so winning in organic search is key.

While Frustaci saw content marketing as the clear strategic move, he felt somewhat frustrated with the subjective nature of independent content creation.

“I see so much waste on the production side of things,” Frustaci spoke of the back and forth of dealing with multiple stakeholders and creatives, all with different opinions about how to create the best content.

Personal opinion and style are less interesting to Frustaci, who sought an objective take on what the right content moves were for the business, devoid of conjecture.

That’s when the team looked to MarketMuse.

The Solution: Using Objective Data to Drive Content Production at Scale with MarketMuse

To create a strong organic presence at scale, Stick Shift Driving Academy was looking to accomplish a few things:

  • Increase their publishing cadence significantly
  • Eliminate subjective content creation
  • Understand what topic coverage was critical to their business

While they had posted a few blog posts on the website, it had been over a year since any new content was published and the company was essentially starting from scratch when it came to developing its content strategy. The first thing they needed to do was determine exactly what content they needed to produce.

“Driving a manual transmission is such a broad topic. I really wanted an objective third party to help keep me accountable, so it’s not my opinion about what the content needs to be - it’s based in math.” Giuseppe Frustaci, Founder, Stick Shift Driving Academy.

MarketMuse’s algorithm and data-driven recommendations are what most appealed to the Stick Shift Driving Academy team. MarketMuse could show the team content recommendations based on personalized metrics that show you not only market insights, but where their business stood and what they stood to gain by creating or optimizing specific pieces of content.

“I’m trying to quickly create good content,” says Frustaci of his mindset on content strategy.

In the first couple of months, the marketing team published 30 new articles, all ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 words, on topics essential to establishing the driving school as an authority on driving a stick shift vehicle.

They now publish roughly an article a day using insights and content briefs from MarketMuse.

Frustaci estimates a content brief takes about 30 to 60 minutes to create, a process he trained his intern on in a few hours. This reduction in time means big savings for the team and allows them to deliver clear, objective briefs to their writer.

The results were clear.

“Off the Hook” Results

Stick Shift Driving Academy began to ramp up their content production in December of last year, and by June had seen a major impact.

Traffic to their site increased 72%, form completions by 110%, and inbound calls by 120%.

“From an ROI standpoint, it was just off the hook. We were basically flat for the better part of a year and a half, until we started publishing new content. And it was the only change we made, so it’s a really clear before and after.” Giuseppe Frustaci, Founder
Stick Shift Driving Academy.

With MarketMuse, Stick Shift Driving Academy produces more content, faster and with clear, measurable results.

Frustaci had this to say about stakeholders who may be hesitant to invest in content.

“It’s so elemental and fundamental, and it’s so easy to track, that I’m like, ‘How do you not invest in this?’”
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