An Interview with the Marketing Director at GetCertified4Less

Posted by John H. Heinrichs

Jan 6

An Interview with Danielle Spradlin, Marketing Director at GetCertified4Less

As Get_Certified_for_Lessbusiness students, we have an affinity for all things business and in most cases for all things entrepreneurial.  As it turns out one of my close friends has successfully transitioned from years of working at a traditional brick and mortar to an online-only business. 

Given that ISM 7505: Inbound Information Technology presents the students with a paradigm shift in ways to reach individuals, GetCertified4Less provides an excellent case study where the key principles of Inbound Information Technology are practiced.  Further, I saw this as a great opportunity to share her marketing challenges and what she has learned working with others to grow and enhance GetCertified4Less.  The key Inbound Information Technology principles observed in this case study include: link building, keyword generation, campaign development and tracking, search engine optimization, organic search, page rank, blogging, social media monitoring, responsive and personalized web sites, bounce rates, site analytics, and search phrases. 

Danielle Spradlin is the Marketing Director of Metro-Detroit based GetCertified4Less. From its website (, the company sells a variety of Information Technology (IT) certification exam vouchers to students, corporations, educational institutions, IT professionals, and test centers around the world.  Their products (certification vouchers) are alphanumeric codes that verify full payment and entitle customers to schedule and then test for certification in a variety of IT related disciplines such as Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Microsoft certifications (such as MCSE, MCAD, MCDBA, MCSA, MCSD, MSCD .Net, MCSE 2003, MCDST, MCITP, MCPD, and MCTS), Check Point Security Administration, Cisco, Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP), Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3) and Microsoft Office Specialst (MOS).  The company’s mission is “to provide outstanding customer service while helping [customers] reach [their] certification goals at the lowest price possible”.

As one would imagine there are challenges that come with providing such a niche product strictly through a website.  The first challenge is to attract interested visitors to the site and more importantly to convert them to happy customers.  GetCertified4Less has a broad range of customers; corporations, government institutions, IT Schools, Training Centers, and a range of IT individuals looking to improve their credentials.  GetCertified4Lesss has identified a combination of trusted certification products, reliable resources, excellent customer service, and competitive pricing that satisfies these varied customers.

In order to attract these customers to its site, GetCertified4Less utilizes a mix of traditional and inbound marketing.  Though the company sees strong ROI from traditional advertising and targeted pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, they have found that the most important strategies for their organization are inbound strategies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and investing in establishing their brand as a trusted member of the IT certification community.

Spradlin asserts that most IT certification customers rely on search engine results to bring them information relevant to their examination decisions.  This is supported by the company’s data which shows that the majority of site visitors arrive via organic search.  Because it is the best way to reach their customers, investing in SEO has proven the best method to generate new unique visits.  According to Spradlin, “SEO is the most important, top priority in our marketing mix.” 

SEO is the most important, top priority in our marketing mix.

Unlike online businesses that have many products constantly generating new pages, GetCertified4Less’ stable set of offerings generate a low number of new pages for search engines to crawl.  This amplifies the need to get the most out of each page.  On-page content is constantly refined and updated to better reflect the key phrases that are relevant to customers.  Spradlin states, “A lot of work goes into making each page the best that in can be in order to keep them relevant to our customer’s needs and top ranking.”  Generating keyword-rich pages that clearly differentiate content of otherwise similar certification pages ensure that they are regarded as unique relevant pages when crawled by search engines.  The company also tracks spikes in relevant phrases, keywords by page rank, and competitor’s keywords to make sure these appear naturally in the verbiage of relevant pages. 

Because product pages are relatively limited, GetCertified4Less also spends a great deal of effort creating unique relevant content and link building.  The site publishes articles on its site, publishes press releases and maintains a frequently updated blog, all rich in content linking back to the site.  As a result of this unique content the company has become a trusted member of the IT Community and has improved their customer experience.  The need for a certification voucher arises from the desire to take an IT certification.  This decision requires customers to determine what certification is right for them, confidence in their preparation and conviction that they are ready to pay the exam fee and schedule a test time.  Generally, these are not impulse decisions and require a great deal of information, preparation and confidence.  GetCertified4Less tries to leverage their knowledge to help their customers make the best certification decisions.

They partner in their customers decision through their blog posts, articles, social media interaction and forum participation.  They consistently interact with customers throughout their lifecycle state through social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Linkedin.  They also partner through affiliate programs with other reputable IT resources.  Through these channels they follow customer stories, share pertinent information, engage customers and make exclusive offers.  Their blog ( shares exclusive content from reputable sources and certification partners, grants access to the latest study aids, provides informational materials and career information.  These interactions have yielded 1,200 twitter followers, 700 Facebook followers and a growing number of RSS subscribers.  Though conversion rates are not as high utilizing these social outlets, they find that they are a great way to interact with customers, engage them in conversations and to be part of their experiences.  This helps customers succeed as IT professionals and further establishes the site’s relevance in organic searches.

GetCertfied4Less continues to look for ways to improve visitor experience on their site.  They currently monitor visitors in real time and help guide customers to the content they are looking for by connecting with them in live chat sessions.  They can open a session when a visitor seems to be confused or they are clicking on content that is inconsistent with the search phrases that brought them to the site or customers can hail them directly.  Because IT certification can be complicated GetCertified4Less finds that visitors benefit from this personal attention.  They are willing to spend the time supporting customers in order to get them the certification information or vouchers they are looking for as quickly as possible.  They have found that these efforts directly impact bounce rate, minimizing the time and effort customers spend finding what they are looking for.

Spradlin delights in the challenge of reaching out to the IT community and bringing professionals to the certifications they are seeking.  Each day the company meets the challenges of their business format and the changing online landscape by utilizing the latest inbound marketing strategies and the careful study of site analytics.  Their efforts ensure that regardless of customer demographic or lifecycle stage, every interaction consistently delivers on their promise of outstanding customer service and certifications for less.


(All credit and accolades for this tremendous blog post are to Alan Gonzalez who is the author and creator of this content.)

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Topics: Inbound Information Technology, Certificates

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