NCI Takes Its Marketing to the Top of the Class with HubSpot

National College of Ireland had a couple of simple yet powerful marketing goals for 2015 – attract more visitors to its website and convert them into students. However, the various marketing tools it was using weren’t powerful enough to help it achieve the results it was looking for. It turned to HubSpot and within 12 months, NCI had increased leads by 242%, which helped the college achieve its student recruitment goals.


Increase in website traffic


Of student recruitment goal


Increase in leads

About NCI

National College of Ireland has been providing world-class education for over 60 years. It offers a wide range of part-time and fulltime courses for postgraduate and undergraduate students, in subjects such as business, computing, accountancy, human resources, and marketing.

From a Scattergun Approach to Inbound Success

Before National College of Ireland partnered with HubSpot in 2015, its marketing approach was too scattergun, says Emma Henderson, NCI’s PR and Digital Marketing Manager. The college naturally wanted to attract more visitors and convert them into students, but its tactics weren’t joined up.

Emma recalls that she was using a plethora of marketing tools, including Facebook Analytics, Tweetdeck, and Google Analytics, and they weren’t powerful enough to allow her to develop useful lead profiles.

“It was very time consuming, every day I would use six or seven different platforms to try and condense that information down into a way that I could use it. It was hard to demonstrate the ROI of our digital activities to the bottom line; it was also difficult to find out who our visitors were and build any sort of meaningful relationship with them.”

After hearing a member of the HubSpot team speak at a digital marketing conference, Emma immediately felt that the HubSpot software could help NCI streamline and improve its inbound marketing activities. NCI investigated other options, including Microsoft Dynamics, before making its decision and selecting HubSpot.

"HubSpot was the clear winner. It had everything the NCI was looking for and more."

Emma Henderson

PR and Digital Marketing Manager


Delighting Visitors With a Personalised Experience

NCI attracts many different kinds of visitors to its site. They include part-time students, fulltime undergraduates, parents, and the international market, as well as would-be students looking for a particular course and people who are thinking about a career change.

“Because we have such a diverse user group, the first thing we did was to set up personas. That really helped us to define our audience and understand how we should target them,” says Emma.

She began creating targeted content for these personas, driving its potential with Landing Pages and Smart CTAs. Emma also began to schedule and publish messages across NCI’s social media accounts with the Social Inbox. She used the Blog App to set up and run the college’s blog – previously, it had been hosted separately to the website, so NCI hadn’t been able to reap the benefit of any traffic to it. Now, with help of the HubSpot software’s built-in SEO tools, it is a key landing point for website visitors.

According to Emma, the HubSpot software makes it easy to ensure each visitor gets a personalised experience on site. “It has helped us improve dramatically what we do. We’re giving our visitors the content they want, when they want it,” says Emma.

Emma is an advocate of the Reporting Add-On, which allows her to easily demonstrate measure the value of her work. With it, Emma says, she can see at a glance what content is performing well, what needs to be tweaked and what she should be doing more of.

“I love how efficient HubSpot is! It helps me show the ROI of what we do. I can now show our team how many visitors we get to the website, and how many of them convert into leads and become students.”

"HubSpot has had a huge impact on our marketing. We now know the ROI of our marketing activity and have greater insight into our prospective students."

- Emma Henderson

More Visitors, Leads and Satisfied Students

Since partnering with HubSpot 12 months ago, NCI has achieved some impressive results. Website traffic is up by 21%, leads have increased 242% and the college has hit its student recruitment goals.

One particular piece of content has proved to be particularly successful. With the help of the HubSpot software, NCI created a “career toolkit” to help visitors develop a clear vision and action plan for their careers. It has generated huge interest and been downloaded by thousands of potential students.

Emma says that the input of their HubSpot customer success manager has been instrumental in helping NCI to achieve these figures. “Our customer success manager has been fantastic. We speak regularly and know there’s always someone at the end of the phone to help us get even better.”

NCI has a number of ambitions for its future growth and plans to use the HubSpot Marketing Platform to help it achieve them. As well as continuing its upward cycle of attracting and converting website visitors into students, it is also going to bring a number of new courses online. With the HubSpot software in place, Emma is confident that the college will be able to both promote these courses and enroll new students.

She believes that the partnership between NCI and HubSpot is one that will continue for many years to come. “If we hadn’t gotten the HubSpot Marketing Platform, I’d be drowning in multiple Excel sheets at the moment! I’d be trying to manage all of this data and make sense of it and I’d have a very hard time doing that. HubSpot makes it easier for me to be better at my job.”

“HubSpot has dramatically improved our marketing. We’ve seen great results and we’re becoming more strategic and data-driven. I’m excited about what we can achieve with HubSpot in the future,” adds Emma.

"The HubSpot software and inbound marketing methodology has helped NCI increase traffic and leads, which has resulted in more students enrolling on our courses."

- Emma Henderson

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