Inbound the Ingredient for Success
Veronique Malan, marketing and sales channels director for EHL Group, drives business and marketing development projects for all of their international campuses and has been a Hubspot advocate for many years. At EHL Group, Veronique had used the HubSpot all-in-one platform to help improve their Student Experience and boost admissions. After they acquired the Swiss School of Tourism & Hospitality in 2016 (then nicknamed SSTH), it became apparent that the SSTH needed a tool that was going to help drive their growth.
"I had been using Hubspot since 2012 for EHL's main campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, and we have been very successful with it. After acquiring SSTH, we wanted to implement one single platform to drive organizational growth. My colleagues and I had also been reading HubSpot blogs for years, and we were impressed with how much of HubSpot's inbound marketing approach could be applied to our industry."
SSTH's admission team travelled the world to host recruiting events and information sessions. Although the recruiters would generate many leads, they had no system in place to follow-up and nurture prospective students into applicants. The lack of a suitable platform contributed to a high student acquisition cost which was not sustainable for the long term.
SSTH also suffered from a lack of visibility. They couldn't measure all of their activities or effectively track the student’s decision-making process until they received an application. They knew it was essential to capture this critical information because prospective students' decision process is long and complex; often taking over two years from the initial touchpoint to their decision to enroll.
Veronique decided that the HubSpot platform was the best choice to tackle these issues and moved forward, initially with Marketing Hub Professional. When Veronique introduced HubSpot to EHL in 2012, the original goal was to leverage HubSpot internally as an email marketing tool, but it soon formed the backbone of the sales and marketing function throughout the organization. There was no reason why SSTH couldn't be the same.
Serving Students with Excellence
The HubSpot implementation at SSTH was painless as it went hand in hand with the establishment of a structured marketing & sales process. By the summer of 2016, the platform was firmly in place in time for the new semester. In doing so, the SSTH team proved that HubSpot is something that even a small team can leverage, gaining value from the platform straight away, and they now rely on HubSpot for both domestic and international recruitment campaigns.
But it wasn't all plain sailing as Veronique explains: "We had a job to convince our management that sales and marketing could work together in one wonderful all-in-one system, but once they saw even just the email marketing tool, it was an easy sell for us! We slowly added features and functionality. Yes, we had work to do in terms of bringing sales and marketing together, but now Hubspot is a platform we cannot live without. It has been adopted and recognised throughout the group."
Since EHL targets students globally for its Swiss School campus in Passugg, they began by developing content that attracted their students to their various programs. This involved ensuring they were visible in Google for dozens of terms, in multiple languages, that relate to the business and hospitality management programs they offer.
Veronique and her team began by setting up a strategy to attract and nurture prospective students. Firstly, they used the HubSpot SEO, Ads and Blogging tools in Marketing Hub to drive more traffic to the personalised landing pages. Once a prospective student fills out the form on a landing page, a series of actions and emails trigger from HubSpot's Workflows tool. The team also sends a monthly newsletter to keep their key stakeholders up to date on new developments within the school.
In terms of figures, the results so far are incredibly compelling: traffic arriving at the school's website from organic searches grew by 150% while traffic from social (not paid) increased by 100% year on year. At the same time, leads from online sources (other than paid search / paid social) doubled.
As the school grew, its recruitment team needed a tool that would help it deal with the increased demand. In June 2017, EHL decided to add Sales Hub Professional to its Swiss School account, hoping to enhance its all-in-one approach. The team regularly uses sales email templates, calling & meeting scheduling to automate and personalise their outreach, which ultimately improves the prospective student experience.
Veronique credits Sales Hub for the considerable improvements in sales and marketing alignment within the school. "The strong visibility that HubSpot gives our team means that we can speak to candidates early in their decision journey and develop rapport and relationships right through the process" explains Veronique.
By adopting this Inbound approach, the team has gone from a position where enrollment numbers were below expectations to now being a very successful part of the business, attracting new candidates and converting them into students. In fact, they have been so successful that the school has hit capacity and had to look for additional buildings.
Results To Finish
The marketing team in EHL Swiss School found it easy to prove the business case for HubSpot because the results were clear to everyone in the organisation from the start.
In terms of bottom-line results, the school doubled the number of enrolled students for the Spring intake (from 30 to 60) in just two years. The school grew by 50% over two years to over 150 newly enrolled students per year to the point where the campus was at full capacity, and they couldn't take any more students.
Veronique concludes: "From a quality and cost point of view, what is most important for us in the marketing team is that we can stand over the platform we pushed for. We can show management that our leads from organic, referral, social and direct sources are growing, which proves that we are progressing along the right path with our approach."