Helping students choose a programme – an effective marketing strategy for BUas

"We have developed quite an extensive customer journey for prospective students. Making sure that they end up making the right choice, even if it's with us or somebody else [is the core of our marketing strategy]."

Maaike Vergouwen

Senior Marketeer for (International) Student Recruitment

Breda University of Applied Sciences


years of collaboration.


applications in 2022.


leads in 2023.

Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas) was looking for new ways to increase their international visibility. Partnering with House of Education (HoE), BUas utilised Study Choice Advisors over six years to generate quality leads, personalise user journeys, and enhance trust among prospective students. Notable outcomes include 737 applications for one intake and contributing to BUas’ overall achievement of 6% international enrollments that year.


BUas’ programmes, characterised by their specificity in applied sciences, posed a challenge in attracting the right audience. Unlike more common fields offered by traditional universities, such as a broad finance or engineering course, BUas' programmes are more distinctive and require precise targeting to appeal to prospective students.

We really want to have the right student in the right place, [as] we have specialised programmes that require the right target group,” explains Maaike.

Moreover, the international market demanded a sophisticated approach to lead generation and nurturing. As Maaike points out, “People from the Netherlands and neighbouring countries know BUas, but for internationals it’s a bigger step to move to the Netherlands. So we need to provide a lot of information on studying here in general, [especially] as prospects are looking at other institutions here that offer similar programmes.” However, traditional methods were proving inadequate in capturing the attention of BUas' target demographic, and in generating qualitative leads for BUas to follow up on. These problems necessitated a novel solution to elevate their recruitment strategy.


Helping students make informed decisions 

BUas made the strategic decision to develop a series of Digital Study Choice Advisors aimed at empowering prospective students to make informed decisions about their academic journey. These Study Choice Advisors include inquiries like "Is BUas the right fit for you?" as well as four distinct concepts designed to match students with specific programmes within various subject areas, such as "Which hospitality degree suits you best?" This initiative primarily focused on catering to the online student demographic, with an emphasis on enhancing the website and digital marketing efforts.

“We have developed quite an extensive customer journey for prospective students. We look at how the average prospective student makes their study choice. We take them by the hand and offer them many different activities,according to the recruitment phase they are in. Our core marketing strategy is to make sure that they end up making the right choice, even if it's with us or somebody else.” 

BUas embraced Study Choice Advisor Quizzes as a cornerstone of their recruitment strategy, integrating them across various touchpoints to maximise their impact: 

“If you look online, we do retargeting campaigns, social media campaigns with the Study Choice Advisors, because then we're making [prospective students] even more enthusiastic about what we have to offer.” 

In this fashion, BUas strategically deployed Study Choice Advisors to gain information that allowed them to engage with prospective students at every stage of their journey. By aligning these efforts with the user journey, and offering clear pathways towards enrollment, BUas ensured that each interaction resonated with their audience, fostering trust and confidence in their offerings. 


The benefit of this approach is highlighted by the 737 applications received between September 2022 and May 2023, from leads generated through the Study Choice Advisors. Moreover, HoE’s Study Choice Advisors generated a total of 5639 leads in 2023, successfully aiding BUas’ goal of appealing to international students. This, in combination with BUas’ other marketing activities, saw a continued 6% growth in international enrollments that year – double the Dutch average for 2023. 

Surge in qualified leads

Study Choice Advisors emerged as a pioneering solution, revolutionising BUas' lead generation efforts. By implementing Study Choice Advisors tailored to prospective students' interests, BUas witnessed a surge in qualified leads. The interactive nature of these Study Choice Advisors not only engaged the audience but also provided valuable insights into their preferences and motivations. Maaike underscores this by stating:

“It is very important for us to have the right leads [so we can] have the right student at the right place [and] continue taking them along in our [recruitment] journey [...] There are a lot of ways to gather leads, but it’s also about the quality. The quality we get from the [Study Choice Advisors] is good – [and] the quantity is good!” 

Stellar User Experience

BUas recognized the importance of guiding prospective students through the decision-making process. Study Choice Advisors played a pivotal role in this aspect, mapping out the user journey and offering tailored recommendations based on individual preferences. From initial interest to actual application, BUas ensure a seamless and user-friendly experience, bolstering trust and satisfaction among prospective students. 

Many universities still rely on the traditional method of brochure downloads, but “if you download a brochure, you have to dive into it yourself and compare programmes. But if you take the Study Choice Advisor quiz, you immediately have a result”, explains Maaike, again underscoring the ease and rapid results that students experience by using a Study Choice Advisor.

Boost in conversion rates

Leveraging the data collected through Study Choice Advisors, BUas gained profound insights into the quality of leads and their journey towards enrollment. By integrating this data into their CRM and customer data platform, BUas optimised their follow-up strategies, personalised communications, and targeted advertising efforts, thus “making sure to inform students of the things that were interesting to them [...] to make sure they converted into registered students”. 

This data-driven approach not only improved efficiency, but also facilitated continuous refinement of their recruitment strategy.


In conclusion, the collaboration between BUas and House of Education has yielded remarkable results, transforming BUas' recruitment strategy, and setting new benchmarks for success in higher education marketing. By using HoE’s Study Choice Advisors as a lead generator, prioritising quality leads, optimising the user journey, and leveraging data-driven insights, BUas has positioned itself as a leader in attracting and nurturing prospective students. 

As they look towards the future, BUas remains committed to innovation and excellence, ensuring that every student finds the perfect fit within their diverse range of programmes. At House of Education, we look forward to another 6 years of assisting BUas in their pursuit of finding the right students for the right programme.

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