Maryville College Sets Enrollment Record by Using HubSpot to Increase Student Engagement

Maryville College previously relied on conventional marketing tactics to attract new students, high school juniors and seniors, in the increasingly competitive higher education market. Pyxl, a marketing agency, partnered with Maryville College and adopted HubSpot to improve organic search rankings, increase engagement with prospective students throughout the college selection process, and drive record enrollment numbers.


enrollment above national average


increase in web traffic
within first year


return on investment

About Maryville College

Maryville College is situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation in partnership with others. Founded in 1819, Maryville is the 12th oldest college in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Total enrollment for the fall 2014 semester was 1,213.

Bringing in the New Recruits

There’s no shortage of learning opportunities for enterprising students these days. With an array of online programs, two-year degrees, trade schools, and traditional universities, it’s tough to stand out from the crowd.

Like many institutions around the country, Maryville College relied on traditional marketing activities such as direct mail, billboards, and college fairs to connect with potential students in a highly competitive landscape. However, today’s students consume most of their content online, and the college needed a dramatic shift in the way it communicates with students and their families to cut through the noise and guide them throughout the enrollment process. 

The Tennessee college’s marketing agency, Pyxl, suggested modernizing the school’s marketing efforts to reach a wider student audience, guide them through the college selection process, and ultimately get them enrolled into programs for the upcoming academic year.

“We wanted to help Maryville College find a unique way to reach their audience where they were—online,” says Josh Phillips, Pyxl’s President. “That meant using the latest tools to drive web traffic, analyze engagement, and respond quickly to turn those interested prospects into enrolled students.”

"With HubSpot, not only are we reaching our potential students where they spend the most time, but we are able to build a relationship with them in a way we couldn't previously, and that's invaluable."

Cyndi Sweet

Director of Admissions

Maryville College

A New Way to Connect with Students

Maryville College partnered with Pyxl to rejuvenate its marketing programs. In turn, Pyxl leveraged HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing platform to enable the college to approach student recruitment and marketing more intelligently and effectively.

The agency worked with school leaders to create My College Path, an online destination that answers the most pressing questions high school students have as they prepare to apply for college. Pyxl leverages HubSpot to promote informative, compelling content that students want to read, such as what to look for in potential schools or how to apply for financial aid. 

“Being able to consistently generate fresh content supports Maryville’s SEO efforts and helps improve its organic search rankings so it’s easier for prospective students to find us,” Josh says. “At the same time, combining the blog with a robust PPC campaign and optimized Landing Pages that feature downloadable e-books, checklists, and other tools is a proven recipe for driving traffic and increasing leads.”


After capturing a student’s information with the initial download, HubSpot’s lead nurturing Workflows app and Marketing Automation tools helps Maryville cultivate the relationship and seamlessly guide the student through each step of the enrollment process.

“Higher education is a mature market with a ton of competition and an increasingly savvy customer base. It’s really hard to stand out from the crowd without a well-planned strategy,” Josh says.

"HubSpot makes it easy to connect all aspects of our inbound marketing strategy—email, social and organic web traffic—into one cohesive program and track leads through the pipeline."

Josh Phillips



Setting the Record Straight

With a history of delivering outstanding business outcomes, the Pyxl team were strong believers in the inbound marketing methodology and were confident their strategies would help the school achieve and exceed its goals. Now, the school is a believer too. 

Following a yearlong inbound marketing campaign, Maryville College enrolled more students than at any other time in the school’s 195-year history. The school’s year-over-year enrollment growth was more than 2 times greater than the national average, driven by a 126% increase in monthly website traffic from organic searches and an effective PPC campaign that captured visitors’ information for the first time ever.


“We’re now able to capture more information more often and dramatically improve the effectiveness of PPC campaigns, landing pages, and other efforts,” Josh says. “Since getting Maryville College on the HubSpot platform, we’ve produced a 225% ROI on inbound marketing programs and, more importantly, strengthened our long-term relationship in ways we couldn’t before.”

Learn more about Pyxl

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