Ensuring GDPR Compliance and Achieving 90% Email Opening Rate

"The fact that every email address captured by the Study Choice Advisor was verified before being shared with us helped with our GDPR compliance"

Linnéa Lindgren

Communications Officer

Study in Sweden


leads annually.




conversion rate.

Executive Summary

By utilising House of Education's advanced lead capture tool, Study in Sweden, a part of the Swedish Institute (SI), significantly increased their pool of prospective students, whilst adhering to strict GDPR guidelines. House of Education's solution involved engaging international master's students, collecting and verifying their data, and integrating it into SI's CRM. This extensive data collection and email verification supported SI in their sophisticated email strategies.


Linnéa vividly recalls the challenges they faced. "As we're a small team working on a global market, we focus on digital marketing. We wanted to effectivise our data management, while still ensuring GDPR compliance, and make the most of our limited resources," she says. Efficiently collecting and managing contact information from prospective students worldwide was a big task, and adhering to strict GDPR guidelines added another layer of complexity.

“We are a Swedish authority, so it is extra important that we adhere to the guidelines of GDPR. It is best practice in Sweden to use a double opt-in process, by asking users to verify their email address before proceeding any further.” 

Additionally, as a small team operating on behalf of Sweden's many higher education institutions, maximising the impact of their digital marketing efforts was crucial. Although they support physical events and fairs, organised by embassies and consulates on behalf of the Swedish Institute, the greatest source for accessing an international audience remains online. They mainly use webinars, online fairs, social media, and email marketing to reach potential candidates. Therefore, they rely heavily on securing contact information of prospective students on whom to focus this digital strategy. 


House of Education proposed the lead capturing tool, the Study Choice Advisor, to help SI promote Sweden as a top study destination for international Master's students. That’s how the "Is Sweden the Right Study Destination for You?" Advisor was born. This Advisor was then seamlessly integrated onto Study in Sweden’s website, and the data and contact information collected on each prospective student going through the flow was shared directly to SI’s CRM system. 

The approach of offering prospective students a truly engaging experience, while discovering Sweden as a potential study destination, added to the lighthearted feel that SI uphold on their website. They aim to present Sweden in a friendly and approachable way, without too much formality or protocol. The fact that users spend at least 4 minutes answering the questions in the Advisor underscores their level of interest in studying in Sweden – which means that the team can target these prospective students and expect quite a high success rate. “The Study Choice Advisor is one of our most important sources for leads – and the fact that we could tailor it to suit our needs has been amazing” adds Linnéa.

Automated Lead Verification

As every email address collected from the Advisor was verified before being logged, it perfectly integrated with SI’s double opt-in verification procedure, as the accuracy of the contact details is of a high standard. "This step was crucial for maintaining the validity and accuracy of our email addresses," Linnéa notes, highlighting that it helped them adhere to GDPR compliance, while also ensuring that the leads were not lost before reaching their double opt-in process.

Integration with CRM Systems

The real-time delivery of leads into their SugarCRM system was a game-changer. The rich data collected about each prospect could be used to segment the leads and steer which message should be sent to each user, in order to maintain the relevance of their marketing communication. Linnéa underscores this by stating, "Having all our leads delivered instantly into our CRM allows us to manage and segment them efficiently.” SI remains resolute in their strategy of only sending out communication that is relevant to each prospect, such as events in the candidate’s home country or information regarding the programme they’re interested in studying.

"Having all our leads delivered instantly into our CRM allows us to manage and segment them efficiently.”

In 2023, SI won the prestigious “Marketing Excellence Award” from SugarCRM International for their successful email marketing strategies. The main reason for the recognition is their astonishing opening rate of emails. SI enjoys a remarkable 50-90% opening rate on their email communication to prospective students. A combination of effective vetting of leads, a double opt-in procedure, segmentation, and tailored content based on the users’ interests and preferences lies behind this success. 

"This opening rate of our emails is significantly higher than the industry average," Linnéa says proudly. “It could be because we’re a trusted sender but we also segment and personalize each email a lot so the relevance is high. You shouldn’t email just for the sake of emailing.”


Reflecting on their journey, Linnéa is grateful for SI’s partnership with House of Education. "Your services have been a great help in our approach to international student recruitment," she says with a smile. With impressive engagement rates, a high number of engaged candidates, and efficient data management, SI have seen success in their work to establish Sweden as a top choice for international Master’s students.  

Ultimately, this success story showcases the power of strategic partnerships and innovative solutions in achieving outstanding outcomes. "We look forward to continued growth and success in attracting bright minds to study in Sweden!" Linnéa concludes enthusiastically.

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