Key points
  • Email marketing is one of the best tools to have in your arsenal when you’re looking to market your school to prospective parents.
  • The key to successful email marketing for schools is focusing on the audience — through personalisation, keeping an up-to-date CRM, testing your subject lines and using a drip campaign.

Let’s talk about email marketing! You might be under the impression that email has gone the way of the dinosaur when it comes to marketing your school. After all, there are much flashier options out there, including social media advertising or video marketing. 

However, take a quick look at the statistics, and you may change your mind! While email marketing is remarkably low-cost, it generates an astounding $38 for every dollar spent. That’s a return on investment (ROI) of 3800% — incredible! 

Email marketing can be a valuable tool for boosting enrolments at your school, however, the key is focusing on your audience. Your audience is made up of the individuals on your send list, and if you’re actively marketing your school, they are likely prospective parents who have recently expressed interest in your school.

Here are our four best tips to engage these parents through your email marketing.

1. Personalise, personalise, personalise!

Prospective parents receive a lot of emails every day, so you need to make sure that yours will stand out in their (overcrowded) inbox. The best way to do this is to make the information you’re sharing relevant to parents. They’re looking to engage with authentic and personalised messages rather than generic news blasts. 

Sounds good, right? However, as most admissions teams will attest, writing individual emails to every single prospective parent will eat up a good chunk of work hours. Instead, you can make your content more personalised by:

  • Using the recipient's first name in the email’s salutation — you can easily do this at scale by using personalisation tokens
  • Tailoring your message to suit different audience personas
  • Segmenting your emails by enrolment pipeline stage 
  • A/B testing your content to find which email subject lines, images or calls-to-action resonate the most with your audience.

Personalisation is now a non-negotiable if you want your email to resonate with your target audience. By implementing these tips, you’ll improve your email’s open rate, click-through rate, and bounce rate — all of which will almost certainly lead to a boost in enquiries about your school.

2. Update your email and lead data — often

While personalisation is the big key to email marketing success, it will all fall apart if you aren’t regularly checking and updating your send list. Dirty data is a leading cause of revenue loss for many schools and businesses because it wastes your team’s valuable time and it causes you to make decisions based on incorrect information.

Whether you’re using a customer relationships manager (CRM) or email marketing software, you should be able to easily perform a quick lead spring clean. To do this, first, create a list of ‘inactive’ leads by applying a filter that shows all of your contacts that haven’t engaged with your school in a reasonable amount of time. The time frame is up to you, however, a good rule of thumb is to count any lead as ‘inactive’ if they haven’t opened one of your emails in over a year.

Once you have your list of inactive leads, you need to decide whether:

  • the lead is no longer interested in your school, or
  • the lead’s contact information is incorrect (for example, a mistyped email address).

If you believe that the lead is no longer interested in receiving emails from you, you can either remove their information from your system or attempt to re-engage them with a phone call or a final email. If you think their contact details are incorrect, you can reach out in another way to update their details.

3. Trial different types of subject lines

Subject lines are a crucial part of email marketing. They’re your hook and the number one factor that determines whether recipients will open your email. While you should never click-bait your leads into opening an email, it’s still important that your subject lines are intriguing and punchy enough to generate some interest.

You can do this by:

  • including a big benefit to opening the email
  • using words that indicate secrecy or urgency
  • using their name by including a personalisation token
  • asking a question or using a creative phrase that captures their attention.

Before settling on a subject line, put yourself in your recipient’s shoes and ask yourself whether you would open the email based on the subject line alone. If the answer is ‘no’, play around with it until you’re 100% satisfied.

4. Engage your readers with a drip campaign

Emails that try to tackle too many topics or are too wordy tend to be far less effective than emails with a single objective. If you have lots of information that you want to share with prospective parents and students, you can always work it into a drip campaign

Drip campaigns offer bite-sized pieces of information through a series of emails sent at regular intervals. For example, a drip campaign might automatically send a welcome email when a subscriber signs up and send further information every few days.

The key to a successful drip campaign is to include a clear call-to-action so your prospective parents know what to do if they want to engage further with a particular email. This could be a link to a blog post or a video to learn more about the topic presented in the email. It could also be a request for someone in your school to reach out to talk further.

Wrapping it up

There’s no big secret to implementing engaging email marketing campaigns for schools. It all comes down to keeping your audience at the centre of everything you do. In this post, we’ve looked at four ways that you can do just that:

  1. Personalising your emails to their context.
  2. Keeping their contact details updated and removing them from your system when they’re no longer interested.
  3. Testing subject lines to see which are the most engaging.
  4. Providing them with information slowly through a drip campaign, where they can choose whether they’d like to learn more (or not).

Digistorm’s admissions management system, Funnel, offers the functionality you need to engage your audience through email marketing. With features such as personalisation tokens, automation and segmentation, you can create campaigns that engage your audience, while nudging them towards enrolment at your school.

Discover Funnel today!
See how email marketing can impact your school's bottom line.
Published 5 May 2021