Best practice from HGA
At the start of March 2010 more than 1,700 young learners took their first steps on a career in IT by starting a training programme at one of the 27 Zenos Academies in cities across the country.
This is more than 3 times the number of learners that Zenos recruited just 12 months earlier – and, thanks to the help of HGA Creative Communications, this remarkable result was achieved at about a third of the cost of that previous campaign.
Zenos is the UK’s leading provider of IT training, particularly focused on the 16-19 year old sector; they are also Europe’s largest Microsoft Academy. Every year Zenos provides training to around 3,500 young people, giving them nationally and internationally recognised qualifications.
The challenge for Zenos and involuntarily for HGA was to find out the ways in which more number of students could be recruited whilst reducing the recruitment process time.
The recruitment process was a 1 – 1 ½ hour Q&A session at every open day session (there are hundreds of these across the year) that answered the questions raised by students and their parents thinking of applying to Zenos. HGA worked closely alongside Zenos to focus the recruitment effort in the areas where the 16 to 19 year olds Zenos look to attract spend most time – unsurprisingly it was online.
The strategy was to end the direct mail approach that had been a key component in previous years and a focus on using Facebook ads and Google Adwords. The ads were created by HGA and the media schedule agreed in close co-operation with Zenos and then managed by HGA.
HGA Creative have acted as their sole marketing and communications agency undertaking regional press advertising campaigns, Facebook and Google adwords campaigns in support of Academy recruitment, Live events and Video Production.
We have transformed their online presence from a barely used out of date static website to a dynamic and constantly updated site that is now at the heart of their recruitment strategy.
In order to support this new online strategy unique landing pages were designed to make sure the target audience were directed to a page where they could make instant online applications.
HGA monitored the click through rate on an hourly basis – and adjusted the budget to ensure that the support was directed at the areas where it was needed accordingly. The ads all drove traffic to the Zenos website where the information automatically populated our CRM systems allowing us to prioritise our response processes.
George Anderson, the Chief Executive of Zenos describes the benefits of the new strategy as “…remarkable. The ability to change the text and imagery of the ads until we arrived at the solution that worked best was something that we’d never been able to do in previous years”.
For the February 2010 intake we helped them recruit three times more learners than the same period 12 months before, at less than 1/3rd of the cost.
By answering many of the questions that were likely to be raised at the Q&A sessions on the website and within a corporate DVD programme we managed to reduce this session to a maximum of 15 minutes per event, and, because we filtered out a significant number of students who are either ineligible or unsuited to the Zenos programme have seen an increase in the number of students who attend an Open Day going on to apply for the programme.
This has a massive saving in time and costs for the recruitment teams and for the administration resources.
Richard Whitehouse, HGA Creative’s Head of Digital is not surprised at the results – an increase in traffic 20 times greater than a year before, adding, “With closely monitored search engine marketing and social media ad campaigns, the site has seen a dramatic increase in relevant traffic.
“It shows that targeted online campaigns can really perform, even in highly competitive areas such as this.”
The online strategy has been so successful that it is already in place in support of the September 2010 intake to the Zenos Academies, and applications are already well ahead of the targets set.
In the meantime HGA is continuing to develop new communication activities to support Zenos in its other key channels.
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