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Newcastle University Upgrades Student Experience with HubSpot

Since adopting HubSpot, Newcastle University has significantly increased traffic and engagement across the student journey.

  • 250% increase in traffic

  • 25x increase in landing page conversion rates

  • 2x increase in email open rates

About
Newcastle University

Newcastle University is a global university with campuses in Newcastle upon Tyne, London, Singapore, and Malaysia. It enrols more than 27,000 students from more than 100 countries. It is a public research university with a focus on tackling global challenges.

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    Before using Marketing Hub Enterprise, Newcastle University used a range of legacy, disconnected tools, and solutions that made the student journey fragmented.

    There was no way to personalize this journey or measure the results of campaigns from prospective students to registered students on campus. Marketing Hub Enterprise seemed like the ideal solution, and since its adoption, Newcastle University has skyrocketed traffic and engagement across the student journey.

    Challenges

    Searching For a Platform That Tracks the Full Student Journey

    As a global university with almost 30,000 students from over 100 countries, Newcastle University wants to have an in-depth, complete overview of the entire student journey. Before HubSpot, they used several marketing tools, many of which were legacy solutions without automation or integrations. This challenge made it difficult to measure and understand which marketing efforts support a better student journey.

    Jonathan Sabarre, Acting Director of Marketing at Newcastle University, discovered HubSpot in a previous role and was excited to try it in his position at Newcastle University. His team initially used Marketing Hub for email marketing and to build conversion-focused landing pages.

    “Moving forward, we’ve also started to see the value in embracing Marketing Hub as part of our social media strategy and integrating it in full with our paid media channels. We considered alternative platforms, but HubSpot allowed us to attribute the success of each channel and quickly became the first choice as an all-in-one marketing automation solution,” explains Jonathan.

    He also recalls the struggle of measuring the success of content and creative. The journey of a student at Newcastle University is complex and lasts for years. From a prospective student to an applicant and an offer holder to a registered student that spends three to five years on campus, having a way to see all of these touchpoints is essential.

    “From a recruitment perspective, lacking insight presents a real issue. We didn’t understand precisely which channels and creative we should use more proactively to support a better journey. The biggest challenge was not having a single platform integrated with all those touchpoints to give us that complete overview of the journey.”

    Solution

    Leveraging Data and Automation For Growth

    Although Newcastle University has a large core marketing team (around 60 people) and multiple faculty-specific marketing teams, implementation was smooth, due to a significant focus on communication with key stakeholders. "Given the highly complex legacy systems we've had in place, we made sure that all our marketing teams are very much part of the journey and decision making. This helped everyone see the immediate value of our investment through big wins of initial campaigns, which helped with credibility," says Jonathan.

    Thanks to the SEO and Blogging tools in Marketing Hub, Newcastle University started to organically rank with content in a way they weren't able to before. They implemented a pillar content approach and saw the best results with content that purely adds value to that entire student journey. Jonathan adds, "HubSpot has always been the leader in inbound marketing, so we knew we could rely on it when it comes to the content based on specific keywords we should target."

    From here, Newcastle University wanted to serve personalized content for a better experience. In the past, they had to create specific audiences manually. Newcastle built a custom integration with SAP,  a platform which they use to store and manage student information. Through this integration, Newcastle University is now able to automate effective and relevant messages to different audiences based on their point of conversion.

    "We've identified our core segments and built workflows and content in support of those segments. Then, if a segment isn't performing as well as we believe it could, we can filter those prospective students that aren't engaging with content in a very automated way and focus on creating content that would be more relevant to them."

    Personalization at Scale

    Relevant messaging is a top priority for Newcastle University's marketing team, and this applies to the look and feel of every email they send. They vary from simple, plain text emails sent from an individual at the university to newsletter-style emails with multiple call-to-actions. "The beauty of HubSpot is that flexibility to easily build and design several templates within your brand architecture that accommodate all your needs."

    On top of this, Newcastle uses the Transactional Email add-on to ensure that essential communications with students reach inboxes. "When it comes to post-application, we can't run the risk of emails not reaching the inbox. That's why we use transactional emails with a Dedicated IP which ensures high deliverability and engagement.", says Jonathan.

    Personalized video is another strategy Newcastle University successfully implemented. Thanks to HubSpot's native integration with the online video platform Vidyard, they see much higher open rates and click-through rates in the post-application phase. "With the combination of Vidyard integration and A/B testing the subject line, sender name, and best times to send these emails, we're able to serve very personalized videos in a scalable way and drive much higher levels of engagement," Jonathan explains.

    Results

    Maximizing the Platform for More Traffic and Quality Engagement

    Newcastle University quickly saw results with HubSpot. In the first six months, organic traffic increased by over 250%. Conversions on many campaign landing pages have increased from 2% to 50% as more content is gated early in the funnel. The average email open rate also doubled: it jumped from 20-30% to 50-70%.

    This success didn't happen by accident. "We wanted to make sure we're onboarding everyone correctly, so we mapped admin levels in HubSpot with the HubSpot Academy courses. The platform is already easy to use, but relevant workshops and courses helped everyone get comfortable with the platform. This way, we know we can use the Marketing Hub to its full potential."

    Jonathan says that having direct support from HubSpot and access to a dedicated technical expert has been invaluable. Newcastle University's quest to personalize the students' journey meant they needed a robust system it can customize to its needs. "We're able to plan for the quarter and see which technical priorities need additional support. We understand our resource gaps know that our contact at HubSpot will pick that up for us. The support isn't just technical, but also strategic, which has been brilliant."

    In 2021, Newcastle University also plans to take full advantage of the Sales Hub and empower its admissions team and other departments to support students. They want to keep delivering the most relevant and timely messages to keep working on the ultimate goal: advancing education and research to help society tackle the many challenges it faces.

    Customer Content Examples

    Check out some of the content that Newcastle University created with the tools in Marketing Hub Enterprise.

    Educational Blog Posts

    Newcastle creates a wide range of relevant, engaging, conversion-optimized blog posts that help the university get found in search and social media.

    How to Prepare for University Interviews 2021

     

    Informational Guides

    Newcastle hosts their information-rich course guides using the landing pages tool in Marketing Hub.

    International Undergraduate Guide

    2020-11-05-14-42-international-study.ncl.ac.uk

     

    Effective Calls-to-Action

    Newcastle hosts their information-rich course guides using the landing pages tool in Marketing Hub.

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    • Jonathan Sabarre
      We considered alternative platforms, but HubSpot allowed us to attribute the success of each channel and quickly became the first choice as an all-in-one marketing automation solution.

      JONATHAN SABARRE

      Acting Director of Marketing

      Newcastle University

    • Jonathan Sabarre
      We're able to plan for the quarter and see which technical priorities need additional support. We understand our resource gaps know that our contact at HubSpot will pick that up for us. The support isn't just technical, but also strategic, which has been brilliant.

      JONATHAN SABARRE

      Acting Director of Marketing

      Newcastle University

    • Matthew Meekins Accommodation.co.uk-1
      Thanks to the HubSpot platform, we can adapt to our client's needs and help solve whatever issue they’re having, faster than our competitors.

      MATTHEW MEEKINS

      Co-Founder and Operations Director

      Accommodation.co.uk

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