What is the Most Effective Email Marketing Strategy for Schools

An effective email marketing strategy is a set of practices designed to be followed to achieve desired marketing goals through email. This strategy enables your school to have a direct form of communication with prospective parents, as well as current families, faculty, staff, administration, board members, alumni, students, and community partners.

Schools use email because it is cost effective and an easy way to contact a large subscriber base at once. Your school can benefit from email as well, but like any other worthwhile endeavor, you need to have a clear plan moving forward with your email marketing strategy.

Why Do You Need an Effective Email Marketing Strategy?

An effective email marketing strategy is essential for several reasons. Here are a few of the most important.

  1. Planning purposes

When you have a documented strategy in place, your marketing team will be able to lay out your email process ahead of time. This enables your team to coordinate with other departments and develop a budget.

An effective email marketing strategy should be a part of a larger content marketing strategy, which in turn should be a part of a larger digital marketing strategy.

  1. Determine your results

Email marketing strategies are formed from all the goals your school wants to achieve. A school needs to have marketing objectives beforehand to give it a sense of direction when formulating an email campaign. Besides that, effective email marketing strategies make it possible for your team to determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

  1. Choose the best tactics

In this context, tactics refer to the types of emails and automations a school marketing team uses. An example of a tactic could be to set up an opt-in download and responder series targeted to parents of kindergarten children.

Steps to Develop an Excellent Email Marketing Strategy for Your School

Step #1. Set email marketing goals

Knowing the goals you want to achieve with your email marketing program is perhaps one of the most important aspects of your strategy. What are you hoping your efforts will achieve? When it comes to educational institutions, goals are usually things like increasing inquiries from prospective parents, parent participation, turnout for events, and donor contributions.

Step #2. Get clear about your audience

If you haven’t already, your team needs to put together personas for each audience segment – prospective parents, current parents, donors, alumni, community members, etc. Once you’ve determined who your audiences are, you can segment them into subscriber groups so you can personalize each campaign to each segment.

Step #3. List the types of emails you will send

You will need to determine the type of content you will send in your email campaigns. You may want to lay out your email campaigns, including the type of content they will entail, as part of an editorial calendar.

Step #4. Figure out your sending details

Determine how often you will send out email campaigns. Consistency and timing are everything when it comes to marketing, especially email messaging. It is important you follow your established emailing pattern, whether it be weekly, bi-weekly, or another cadence. Test a few different days, times, and frequencies to determine the best performance.

Step #5. Choose your email marketing tools

Email marketing tools are a major advantage for school marketers because they save a lot of time. You can use a marketing tool to design and schedule your email campaigns and automate your email responder series.

Email marketing automation software will make it easy to segment your subscriber lists, set up and schedule your content and track analytics. Some tools also include project management tools to help you collaborate with other team members and organize tasks and projects.

Step #6. Identify how you will build your lists

 An excellent way of building subscriber lists is through subscriptions. Your email marketing service tool will have a way to set up opt-in downloads and subscription forms to your website who are interested in learning more about your school. You can embed subscription forms on high-traffic sections of your site.

Step #7. Chart out your creation process

In order to be successful, you need to map out your email creation process, including both content and design. If your email program includes other team members, make sure everyone understands their roles, tasks, deadlines, and primary communication method.

Step #8. Optimize your emails for mobile devices

According to a research study by Adestra, 83.8 percent of mobile device owners will open emails using their mobile device. Therefore, it makes sense to optimize email content to make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. Some of these tactics include:

  • Use a single-column template that is 600 pixels wide
  • Create short subject lines
  • Display small images
  • Use a large, easy-to-read font (ideally 13-14 pixels)
  • Write a single, distinct call-to-action

Step #9. Conduct A/B split testing

With A/B testing, you can determine what elements of an email work best with your audiences by sending out emails to two groups, where one of the emails has a slight variance you are testing for. Testing factors usually include subject lines, images, calls-to-action, sending details, etc.

Step #10. Use analytics to track email performance

Email services today include analytics to help your track and draw valuable insights into the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Understanding how well your email campaigns are performing will help you optimize and strategize your future email campaigns.

Common email campaign metrics schools track includes open rates, unsubscribe rates, click-through rates, email deliveries, email bounces, spam complaints, and more.

An effective email marketing strategy is well within your reach. Follow the tips above to develop the best strategy for your school marketing and refine it as you go along to improve the performance of your email campaigns.

Does your school marketing team have an email marketing strategy? What do you think should be added to this list? Please comment below…

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.

Email Marketing

How to Write an Email Drip Campaign for Admissions

Email Marketing

Best Practices for School Email Marketing Campaigns

Email Marketing

8 Elements of an Effective Email

Subscribe to the School Marketing Insider

The School Marketing Insider is a weekly newsletter that delivers curated resources to stimulate curiosity, inspire collaboration, and accelerate innovation to drive school marketing professionals ahead of the curve.