1. Work

How Disquiet Dog helped us boost enrolments with a more cohesive digital strategy

by Caroline Gear, Executive Director, International Language Institute of Massachusetts

A member of the team is hand-painting a sign for the International Language Institute of Massachusetts. The sign looks like it would stand up on a sidewalk. The ILI logo is yellow, green, blue and red and the text is black on a pale yellow background.

What does ILI do?

We are a non-profit independent language school. ILI's mission is to promote intercultural understanding and diverse communities by providing high-quality language instruction and teacher training.

Members of the teaching team and board of ILI Massachusetts stand in front of their school, housed in an impressive brick built establishment with tall windows set in its own grounds of grass, flowerbeds and and mature trees. Some of the 12 staff are holding signs saying "You are welcome here". Everyone is smiling cheerfully.

How is ILI different or special?

ILI is more than a language learning center. We are students, teachers, and community supporters who passionately believe that by working together, we advance our mission to encourage multicultural understanding and create strong diverse communities through academic excellence.

We celebrate the rich cultural traditions of our students and will continuously strengthen our unified commitment to honor and respect them and all of our neighbors–regardless of age, race, religion, gender identification, physical and mental abilities, economic standing, educational levels, and documentation status.

We stand against deeply rooted racism and injustice, economic and educational inequality, and anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies. We stand against any assaults on democratic institutions that we believe are the foundation of our communities and our nation.

As individuals and as an organization, we commit to make decisions and take action based on these principles. We believe that all of our decisions and actions should stem from grace and loving kindness.

A photo of Disquiet Dog founder, Richard Bradford, speaking at a conference. He's smiling, looking at the audience which are out of the frame. Behind him are the words "Disquiet Dog" projected onto a screen. He's wearing a black T-shirt with the company's logo on it, which is the face of a dog with a black patch over one eye.

How did you first hear about Disquiet Dog - what drew you to working with them?

We first heard of Disquiet Dog through the IALC workshop in Leeds in 2016. Richard presented a session on digital marketing and I was totally impressed with the presentation. I especially enjoyed that Richard brought out his ukulele, and sang a song that reinforced exactly what the session presented. Get Them To Do It talked about collaborative marketing and how 'you'll never do digital by doing it alone.'

This session and subsequent meetings at other IALC conferences confirmed that Disquiet Dog was a different business.

They truly want to help organizations get to the next step by providing guidance and training so the organizations can become independent. This philosophy works so closely with who we are as a teaching institute. We facilitate learning so people can take off on their own.

What was the issue you wanted fixing or the challenge you brought to Disquiet Dog?

The issue was simple.

How could ILI get in front of more people so that we can grow our school?

Since our initial meeting at the IALC Conference, we had wanted Disquiet Dog to help us with digital marketing, but there was never enough money in the budget to support this work. Beyond extraordinary pain, suffering, and loss, COVID-19 provided ILI an opportunity to rethink the future needs of students, teachers, staff, and the organization’s sustainability.

In the summer of 2020 we received government funding and we made the decision to use money to focus on ILI's digital marketing. Maximizing our use of technology became a goal of our revised strategic plan and an action step was to continue to increase ILI’s technology to improve online capabilities.

How has Disquiet Dog helped?

Our school is built on focusing on excellent teaching and core leadership rose through the ranks of being teachers by passion and moving into administration.

No one making decisions has a degree in business. Disquiet Dog came in and not only audited our website, but audited who we are and how best to work with us.

As with the pandemic, we truly didn't know what we were getting ourselves into, but with Disquiet Dog, we trusted that they would help us. We have learned so much! They've taught us the importance of SEO and how increasing our visibility on the worldwide web translates to increased bookings in our classes. And most importantly, they've given us the tools to work on this together at ILI.

What is it like to work with Disquiet Dog?

The folks at DD are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. We love how much they are able to explain functions in terms that someone outside the field can understand. They are a cheerful bunch and they go the extra mile to understand our business and our needs. We have learned a lot from them.

What would you say to anyone considering working with Disquiet Dog?

Do it! You won't regret it.

As I talked to other schools about our experience working with Disquiet Dog, it made me realize how lucky we are (even more than I already knew).

Others would share with me how hard it is to work with tech people that talk a different language than us (school administrators) and how they make us feel stupid at times and I shared with them how we have always felt the opposite with Disquiet Dog.

Anna, you always give us manageable chunks or when we tell you it is still too much, you break things down to smaller chunks and lists that work best for our work style. Adam, the tech guy, has never made us feel stupid for asking any questions and even makes tutorials (that we can actually comprehend) and that we can refer to in our learning process. And Richard, the marketing guru, with all his experience in our industry is behind it all with genius ideas to offer without expectations of what we do with them. Of course, there is also Virginia, who is essential to the team and our SEO. You guys got quite a team.

Samira Artur, Director of World Language Program, ILI Massachusetts
Photo of Samira Artur

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

We wish we could meet after work for a pint!

What services did ILI use?

Here are some of the services ILI language school in Massachusetts used to get their custom digital marketing support solution: