In the digital age, email automation has emerged as a powerful tool for school marketers. Automating your school’s emails can save you time, streamline communication, and boost effectiveness by efficiently delivering more effective, personalized content.
And the benefits extend far beyond simple convenience. Email automation has been shown to help enhance reader retention and loyalty strategies, thereby boosting your customer lifetime value.
Let’s take a closer look at how this powerful tool can help your marketing and admissions teams do more with less.
How Email Automation Can Help Your School
When it comes to hearing from their schools, 82 percent of parents across four generations said email was the most effective way to deliver messages with general information. By enabling you to respond to emails instantly, personalize content, and maintain a consistent flow of communication, email automation helps you make sure you never miss an opportunity to connect. Here’s how:
1. Efficiency: By letting you send emails at scale, automation handles much of the heavy lifting for you, saving time and energy that you can invest elsewhere.
2. Balance: Most marketers prefer to keep a mix of automated and one-off content. You can strike the perfect balance by automating routine communications, and sending out personalized messages when necessary.
3. Relationship Building: Automation can help you build relationships by responding quickly (sometimes immediately) and maintaining a consistent flow of communication.
4. Never Miss an Opportunity: Automated responses ensure that every email gets a timely response, so no opportunity slips through the cracks.
5 Ways to Kickstart Your Email Marketing Automation
As you embark on your email automation journey, remember: automation is not about replacing the human touch; it's about enhancing it. Here are some easy and actionable strategies you can use to get started.
1. Create a Welcome Series
Develop a handful of targeted emails (think, 3 to 5) that all users will receive upon signing up for your email list. This series will help create a first impression and set the tone for future interactions. Follow these steps to create an impactful welcome series:
- Lay the Groundwork: Emails can significantly influence how your audience perceives your school, so craft content that draws your audience in, answers common questions, and creates a stellar first impression.
- Segment Your Audience: You can further segment this series according to your audiences and needs. For example, potential early years parents might have different concerns than potential upper school parents.
- Make it Engaging & Immersive: Visual elements can help improve your click rate. Don't forget to include on-brand colours, photos, and even links to videos.
- Keep it Fresh: Revisit your welcome series each year before the new admissions season to ensure it's as up-to-date and relevant as possible.
Wondering what to include in a school welcome series? Here are some tips:
A warm welcome message from your head of school or director of admissions
Links to popular content on your website
FAQs about your school
Invitations to upcoming admissions events
Testimonials from current and former students, families, and faculty
Highlights of your signature programs.
2. Follow Up After Admissions Events
Post-event follow-ups are more than just courtesy—they're a crucial part of your marketing strategy. They keep the conversation going, provide an opportunity for further engagement, and show prospective families you genuinely care about their journey.
Consider crafting two different automated follow-up messages:
For Attendees: Thank them for attending and invite them to take the next step - apply, share feedback, or reach out to your admissions team. This helps keep the momentum going and maintains their interest in your institution.
For Non-Attendees: Let them know that they were missed but it's not too late to explore your institution. Offer a virtual or personalized campus tour at a time that suits them. This shows you value their interest and are willing to accommodate their schedules.
To do this, you'll need a system to capture event attendance and ensure attendee email addresses are available. You may consider:
Asking for email addresses during event registration.
Creating a system for tracking event attendance. This could be as simple as a check-in with an admissions representative, or an SMS-based system.
While capturing email addresses, remember to ask for permission to continue emailing them, especially if this is a legal requirement in your region.
3. Use Timely Reminders
In today's fast-paced world, parents appreciate any help that makes their lives a bit easier. Automated email reminders are more than just helpful notifications - they show that you understand your audience’s needs and respect their time.
Here are a few reminders you could schedule in advance:
Upcoming Application Deadline: Send families a friendly reminder a week or two in advance.
Upcoming Admissions Events: A reminder can help increase attendance and ensure interested families don't miss out.
Financial Aid Deadline: Applying for financial aid can be a complex process. Help families stay on top of it and avoid a last-minute rush.
Abandoned Application Follow-Up: A gentle nudge can encourage families to complete their partly-finished applications.
4. Create a Re-Engagement Campaign
Even the most vibrant email marketing campaigns accumulate unengaged subscribers over time. A re-engagement campaign can help you reignite that interest. Here’s a basic strategy you can use to capture lapsed leads:
Identify Unengaged Subscribers: Determine who hasn't engaged with your emails over a specific timeframe (say, the past six months).
Plan Your Campaign: Develop an automated email series aimed at winning back these subscribers' attention. Use your highest-performing subject line tactics, such as personalizing with first names, to encourage them to open. Then present a compelling offer, like an opportunity to provide feedback, or discounts on school merchandise.
Pause Other Emails: While your re-engagement campaign is underway, refrain from sending other emails to these subscribers (which they weren't engaging with them anyway).
Reduce Frequency or Move to Dormant List: If these subscribers remain unengaged after your campaign, move them to a reduced frequency list or a dormant contact list. You want to respect their inboxes while keeping the door open for future engagement.
Keep Your Campaign Fresh: Revisit your re-engagement series once a year to ensure it's up-to-date and as effective as possible.
Remember, an unengaged subscriber isn't necessarily a lost cause. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can win back their attention and remind them why they subscribed in the first place.
5. Connect with Newly Accepted Families
Joining a new school is an exciting time, and a well-crafted email series can help calm new families’ nerves and make them feel part of your community. Crafting evergreen emails can allow you to warmly welcome each new family whose application is accepted.
Your New Family Acceptance email series can include:
Critical Prep Info: Provide a link to important preparation information. For example: uniform requirement, maps, or information about the first day.
School Merchandise: Encourage new families to order school merchandise. Offering a discount could be a nice incentive and a great way to boost school spirit.
Teacher and Student Profiles: Send information about their new teachers or profiles on students their age. This can help them feel connected and excited about joining the school community.
Well-planned, thoughtfully executed email automation can be a crucial tool in your marketing quiver, whether your school marketing and admissions teams are small or large. Just remember: at every step, your goal is to make users feel welcomed, informed, and excited to take the next step on the journey ahead.
Want to keep learning about email marketing for schools? Check out the rest of the series:
- 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.