Improving Your Click Rate: 5 Easy and Actionable Ideas for School Marketers
Congratulations! You’ve grown your email subscriber list and your open rate is growing… so you’re ready for your next challenge: encouraging your openers to click on your message and take an action. In this blog post, you’ll find five proven strategies to boost your click rate and achieve better results with your email marketing campaigns – designed to be easy and actionable for private and independent school marketing teams. Let’s get started!
1. Send High-Quality, Relevant Content
The foundation of a successful email marketing campaign is providing high-quality, relevant content that appeals to your audience. When dealing with school audiences, here are some key points to consider.
Craft Accurate and Engaging Subject Lines
An effective subject line accurately reflects the content of your email while still being enticing to your recipients. This helps to improve open rates and build trust in your communication – by delivering the content they are expecting and seeking out.
Here are four things to keep in mind the next time you’re writing a subject line:
- Keep it Concise: Aim for subject lines between 6-10 words to ensure they're easily readable and capture attention quickly.
- Use Action Words: Encourage action by using verbs or action words that convey a sense of urgency or excitement. Example: “Enroll today: Limited Spots Available for Fall Semester!"
- Personalize It: Include the recipient's name or other personalized information to make the email feel more tailored to them. Generic-sounding subject lines won’t entice people enough to take the time to open. For example, instead of "Important Update," try "Discover Exciting New Programs Coming This Fall."
- Make Sure it’s Accurate: Don’t tease a popular topic in the subject line unless that’s really what your email is about. Build trust with your audience by delivering the content they’re truly looking for.
Learn more about writing great subject lines in our earlier post, Boosting Your Email Open Rate.
Create Secondary Messages for Broader Appeal
To cater to the diverse interests of your audience, include secondary messages in your emails to ensure there's something in there for everyone.
Example: When planning content for your monthly newsletter, make sure there’s something in it for each of your audience segments – including parents of children in each grade or school level, a balance of athletics and arts features, features on both day and boarding programs, etc.
This approach not only increases the likelihood of engagement but also strengthens the connection between your school and its community.
Looking for some inspo? Here are some secondary messages to consider:
- Highlight Achievements: Showcase student or faculty accomplishments, such as awards, publications, or performances. For example, in an email about an upcoming fundraiser, also include information about a recent sports victory or a student's community service project.
- Promote Upcoming Events: Share information about upcoming school events, such as plays, concerts, or open houses.
- Feature Alumni Stories: Share inspiring stories of alumni success or involvement in the school community. This type of “fluff” content makes for great secondary messages
Segment Your Audience for Targeted Messaging
Segmentation allows you to send more relevant content to specific groups within your audience – based on factors like age group, interests, or engagement levels. This targeted approach results in higher engagement and conversion rates.
Example: For an upcoming field trip in the lower school, only send the email to parents of children in that age group instead of the entire school community.
2. Tell People Where to Click (and invite them to)
Simply put, you can’t expect someone to take an action if you don’t ask them to. If you’re aiming to drive clicks and conversions, make your call-to-actions (CTAs) explicit – in both copy and design.
Test Different Ways to Invite a Click
Experimenting with different phrases to invite clicks can help you identify the most effective language for your audience.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Vary the Language: Try different phrases like "Learn More" vs "Read More," or "Discover More" vs "Keep Reading."
- Use Action Words: Incorporate action words that motivate your subscribers to take the desired action, such as "Register Now" or "Sign Up Today."
- Personalize It: Tailor your CTAs to your audience by using personalized language, such as "Find the Perfect Program for [Child's Name]” or “5 Pre-Grad Tips for Parents of Senior Students."
Test Different CTA Designs
Consider testing different CTA designs, such as buttons vs links, and different colors and sizes. You would be surprised how a visually appealing and prominent CTA can significantly improve click rates.
Example: Test a "Keep Reading" button against a "Keep Reading" link to see which gets more clicks over multiple emails… then test that winner against the same design with an alternate message (i.e. “Read More”). More on this next!
3. Design A/B Tests to Optimize Engagement
A/B testing allows you to compare different elements of your email campaigns and identify what works best for your audience – helping you to keep improving and optimizing your strategy over time. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your testing strategy.
Review Historical Email Engagement Data
Analyze your email engagement data and identify patterns in open and click rates. Assess whether there's a difference across different types of content. For example: admissions-related content might get immediate opens as it's a priority for parents – but less time-sensitive, affinity-building content should be sent when audiences are more likely to engage.
Test Different Send Times
Experiment with sending emails at different times of the day and week to determine when your audience is most likely to engage. This can help maximize the impact of your campaigns.
Here are some tips for testing send times:
- Start with Best Practices: Begin by testing typical "best practice" send times, such as weekday mornings or lunch hours when people are more likely to check their inbox. This benchmark information should be available within your email platform.
- Test Weekend Sends (or other non-traditional send times): Although weekends might have lower overall engagement, some audiences may be more receptive to certain types of content during this time. Test weekend sends to see if it results in higher engagement for specific segments or content types.
- Analyze Results: Review the open and click rates for each send time and identify the optimal times for your audience. Adjust your sending schedule accordingly to maximize engagement.
4. Optimize Emails for Mobile Devices
A study by HubSpot found that 46 percent of all email opens now occur on mobile devices like smartphones. This number can be even higher with younger audiences. It’s safe to assume that the majority of your audience will be reading your emails on mobile devices, so it’s essential to tailor your emails for this format.
Ensuring your email design is responsive and visually appealing on mobile devices is crucial for maintaining subscriber engagement.
Consider the following tips:
- Responsive Design: Use your email marketing software to create a responsive email design that automatically adjusts to the screen size of the recipient's device, ensuring optimal readability and user experience no matter how or where they’re engaging with it.
- Whitespace and Clear Headings: Make use of whitespace and clear headings to break up content and make it easier to navigate on mobile screens.
- Easily Readable Fonts: Choose fonts that are easy to read on smaller screens and maintain a consistent font size throughout your email.
- Large CTAs and Buttons: Keep an eye on the size and placement of any links or buttons to ensure they are easy to ‘hit’ with thumbs on a small screen.
Keep your copy short and concise, using headings and bullet points to break up large blocks of text. This makes it easier for recipients to skim through the content and click on relevant links. If you can make your email look easy to read, more people will read it (leading to stronger engagement too).
Formatting and Coding
Make sure your emails are properly formatted and coded for optimal viewing on mobile devices. (Don’t worry! Any modern email marketing platform today has these features already integrated.) Compress images to reduce file size and ensure faster loading times on mobile devices without compromising image quality. It’s always a good idea to test your emails yourself by opening them on different devices to ensure a seamless user experience.
5. Give Them a Reason to Click
To drive engagement, don't give everything away in the email body. Instead, encourage curiosity and clicks by providing just enough information to pique their interest.
Emails dense with content can overwhelm readers and leave no room for curiosity. You want your emails to be easily consumable within a few minutes. Keep things concise and encourage recipients to click to "read more" or "register" for an event.
Example: When sending emails about the application process, provide clear and concise steps, but keep them high level (think: headlines and not sentences and paragraphs) – leaving room for parents to click through for more information.
Generally speaking, the key to success with these strategies is understanding your audience's needs and preferences and tailoring your communication accordingly. If you stay committed to providing value and continually refining your approach based on data and feedback, you'll boost your click rate and improve your overall email marketing strategy.
Want to keep learning about email marketing for schools? Check out the rest of the series:
- 5 Ways to Unlock Automations
- More coming soon!
At Metric Marketing, we develop measurable and practical strategies to help private and independent schools like yours to make the most of your marketing efforts. We'd love to discuss your private school's marketing requirements with you. Contact us today to speak with our marketing professionals or sign up below to receive more marketing tips in your inbox.