Yale English Language Institute

ELI serves students and professionals from around the world who want to improve their English skills. Their goal is to recruit students from a variety of nations.

Fundamentals first

We defined the steps we wanted visitors to take, starting with identifying themselves and their goals.

Pre-college? Undergraduate? Or Graduate student? Then prospects are led through the journey to enrollment in five easy steps.

After we streamlined the website to direct students through the enrollment process, then created awareness with international marketing.

Award winning educational website Yale ELI

Evidence Based

In redesign, we were guided by key pieces of evidence: feedback through the client on what attracted them to Yale, an understanding of the level of proficiency required for the courses offered, and an understanding of the readability needs of the website.

Foreign students are drawn to the architecture of Yale, and all students want to understand the experience of the places they are considering, so we used original photography of students enjoying the atmosphere of the campus. We were given a TOEFL score of 100 out of a possible 120 as the target for student fluency, which we used as a guide in developing copy.  We increased readability by reducing passive phrasing and subclauses, referencing studies about the impact of language and design on non-native readers/speakers, similar to this one: https://groups.csail.mit.edu/uid/projects/froggy/chi10-froggy.pdf

Pillars and Fillers

To reach students once the site was launched, we looked to the Analytics to see where visitors were coming from and identify the countries most likely to yield response. 

We created text and display ads for the Turkish market, in Portuguese for Brazil and in Korean for the South Korean market. Correlated native language landing pages were created for each of these.
To ‘fill in’ between these larger specific initiatives, we advertised through aggregated listings and websites targeting our summer college student.

Go like a Pro

We enlisted native language managers for the PPC campaigns, so they could construct campaigns that appealed to the students, and manage the cultural and lexical nuances of the campaigns.


The international search engine marketing campaigns resulted in over 60,000,000 impressions and created over 35,000 click-throughs to the site, generating at times over 80% of the incoming traffic.

The client reported an increase in enrollment of 69% over the previous year.

Please download this Acrobat PDF for more details and creative examples.

YALE ELI Case Study International Marketing

to the landing page

 Increase in enrollment
over the previous year