How to Use Email Marketing for Higher Education Institutions

Generating new leads is always a top priority for any enterprise and educational institutions are no different. Email marketing is still one of the most efficient and direct ways to achieve this goal. For this, there are a few steps institutions can take in order to get to the next level:

1. Know what your goals and objectives are

Before you decide where to begin your marketing strategy, you first need to figure out where you want to get. Understand your major goals and accordingly map out the steps you need to take. Most common goals are as follows:

  • Grow admission rates
  • Expand academic quality
  • Expand profitability
  • Increase your institution’s revenue
  • Expand ethnic diversity.

2. Understand your prospects’ journey and nurture them accordingly.

  • Potential prospects — these are all the contacts that fit your criteria but have not expressed interest in your institution. This is usually a large number, which might have not heard about your university before.
  • Inquirers who show interest — these are contacts that have showed interest by requesting information online, attending a college fair and left contact information at your table, or have even visited the campus.
  • Applicants — these are the contacts that have filled out an application and paid a fee in order to apply to your institution.
  • Admitted students — this is the group of people that have received an acceptance letter but haven’t enrolled yet.
  • Enrollees — these contacts have already paid an enrolling fee and are definitely attending your university.

3. Make sure you treat each inquiry according to their level in your funnel, to maximize the opportunity to attract them:

A few examples include:

  • You don’t know much about the prospects at the top of your funnel, but you can still make sure your message is relevant to them. Use the information you have to help them consider you as a good option. You can emphasize on the location, the programs that you offer, any extracurricular activities, and anything that makes you stand out from the crowd.
  • Take note of the students’ interests that have reached out directly to you and use those to communicate with them. Did they show interest in a particular program? Use that information to show them that you are listening.
  • Send personalized messages to those students that have applied to your school. At this point, you should have a good idea of their interests and concerns. Use that information to target their exact needs and have a better chance at reaching the next step.

4. Always measure your results to make sure you know what’s working and what’s not.

When you measure your results, you can know for sure what’s making your campaigns successful and what’s holding you back. You can test and try several different steps before you find out what works best. Test the design of the email, the subject line, the calls to action, the offers, as well as your wording and anything else that can change the recipient’s perception. These metrics should also include open rates, click-through rates, and the resulting acceptance and conversion rates so you can see the whole picture.

Email Marketing and Mobile Devices

  • 53% of students cited email messages as influential in their college search, and 80% found reliable information in emails from campuses.
  • 98% of students said they would open an email from a college they were interested in.
  • 78% of students have access to mobile devices, while 80% of those devices have a smartphone, iPod Touch, or a tablet.
  • 47% of students reported checking email on their mobile devices daily; 67% did so at least weekly.
  • While 82% prefer to view college websites on a desktop/laptop, 68% have viewed college websites on a mobile device.

Source: Noel-Levitz, OmniUpdate, CollegeWeekLive

Finding the right avenue for your email marketing efforts takes time, effort, and understanding of key metrics. Keep testing until you find the right formula for your institution!

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