In a world where everyone’s inboxes are overflowing, personalization can make all the difference. It's the secret sauce that helps your emails stand out and forge a meaningful connection with your audience. Not only does personalizing your content enhance relationships, it’s also been proven to improve crucial email metrics like open rates and click rates, and help with subscriber retention.
Let’s look at how you can achieve this for your school.
First Things First: The Importance of Data Collection
The average person receives 121 emails per day, and personalization can help make the difference between your message being read or ignored. Here's what this can do for your school’s email marketing:
Builds and Maintains Relationships: Personalized emails can make your community of subscribers feel valued and appreciated – think of it like using a megaphone vs having a one-on-one conversation, which can establish a stronger connection and promote loyalty.
Boosts Engagement Metrics: Emails that address the recipient by name or include relevant content based on their interests are more likely to be opened and clicked on. This can lead to improved engagement rates and higher conversions.
Increases Subscriber Retention: When your audience receives content tailored to their needs and preferences, they are less likely to unsubscribe from your emails. This can lead to greater subscriber retention and long-term relationships.
Makes Your Audience Feel Seen: Personalization shows your community that you understand and care about their needs. This effort doesn't go unnoticed and can significantly enhance your school's reputation.
So, remember, a little personalization goes a long way. It's not just about sending an email; it's about making a connection. And that connection can turn a casual reader into a loyal enrolled family with parents who act as authentic ambassadors for your school.
Crafting a Strategic Personalization Plan
Strategic personalization is the name of the game. An occasional personalized subject line can have a significant impact, but overdoing it can dilute its effectiveness – and this tactic is just the beginning. Before you dive in, it's crucial to devise a plan outlining how and when to personalize. (It’s a great idea to incorporate A/B testing into this plan to understand what works best for your audience.)
Five Personalization Strategies to Implement Today
1. Personalize Your Sender
Emails from 'Ryan from ABC School' feel more personal than those from 'ABC School.' Personalizing the sender name can transform the email experience and make it more conversational.
Here are a few examples you can try:
[FirstName] at ABC School
[FirstName] at ABC Admissions
[FirstName] [LastName] (ABC Head of School)
[School] Admissions Team
[School] Athletics Department
[School] Arts Department
2. Personalize Your Subject Lines
Test out adding elements like parent, student, or family names and even relevant topic cues in your subject lines – especially when a message is extra-important.
Here are a few examples you can A/B test:
"John: Important Dates for the New School Year"
"Smith Family, Exciting News from ABC School"
"Priya’s artwork made it to the school gallery!"
"Parent-Teacher Meeting Reminder for the Johnsons"
"Maddox, your soccer schedule is here"
"A Special Invitation for the Reyes Family"
Remember, the goal is to make the recipient feel that the email is specifically tailored for them. This can significantly increase open rates and overall engagement.
3. Personalize Your Email Intros
Grab attention by personalizing your main headline, greeting, or first paragraph. The first few lines of your email are the gateway to engagement. A personalized introduction can capture your reader's attention, making them feel seen and valued right from the start.
Whether it's a parent, student, or family name – or a mention of their school level or personal interest area – personalization can make your emails feel more relevant and engaging.
Here's how you can infuse personalization into your email intros:
Personalize Your Main Headline: Make your headline specific and relevant to the receiver. For example, if you're sending an email to parents of lower school students, your headline could read, "What's Happening in Lower School?"
This immediately signals to the reader that the email contains information pertinent to them.
Personalize Your Greeting: A personalized greeting can set a warm and welcoming tone for your email. Instead of a generic "Dear parent," try using the family's last name, like "Dear Smith-Davis Family." This adds a touch of familiarity and respect to your message.
Personalize Your First Paragraph: The first paragraph of your email is crucial. It sets the stage for the rest of the content. Personalizing this section can pique the reader's interest and encourage them to continue reading. For example, you could say, "We thought you'd love to know what's been going on in Olivia's class!" This not only grabs attention but also creates anticipation for the rest of the email.
Remember, personalization is all about making your readers feel special and understood. When you take the time to personalize your email intros, you're telling your audience, "We see you, we know you, and we value you." And that can make all the difference in your email engagement rates. So, go ahead and add that personal touch to your emails! (And we know you’re busy, so use data to automate as many of these touchpoints as you can.)
4. Personalize With Segments
Use existing segments or create new ones to ensure each family receives the most relevant information for them.
Here's how you can leverage segmentation:
Utilize Existing Segments: Use your existing audience segments or create new ones to deliver content that aligns with their specific interests.
Send Targeted Emails: Consider sending some emails exclusively to certain segments. Updates on your upper school spirit week themes don’t need to go to your Pre-K parents.
Dynamic Content: Take advantage of your email platform's dynamic content functionality. This allows you to swap in and out content that is most relevant to each segment. For example, families interested in athletics might appreciate a feature on a student athlete rather than an interview with a lead in the school musical.
Here are some potential segments to consider:
Lower School vs Middle School vs Upper School
Interested vs Enrolled
Families with special interests (e.g., athletics, visual and performing arts, STEM)
Current Families vs Alumni
The great news is that you don’t need to hyper-focus your content every time – it’s not a bad thing for a broader group of families to hear about other activities going on at the school, to build community, share information, and even pique their interest about a program they may not have considered before.
The goal is to make each recipient feel like your messages are curated just for them. By personalizing your communication with segments, you're not just sending information; you're building relationships. And these relationships can drive engagement, loyalty, and – ultimately – success!
5. Personalize With Data
Leverage behavior data to further personalize the email experience. For instance, website visits can indicate interest in particular topics, while past email behavior can help tailor the frequency of your communication.
Here are a few ways you can use your data to personalize email communication with your audiences:
Slow down the number of emails you send to groups who rarely open your messages
Do some testing to determine what types of emails get opened more often, and by whom, to learn more about what they want
Take a look at the type of content you’re seeing lots of clicks on – and try to create more of it
Use website visit data to see who’s interested in which topics and use that to amplify that type of content for them (and others like them)
Personalization is SO MUCH MORE than bombarding your audience with their first name at the beginning of every subject line – it's about making them feel seen and valued. When done right, it can revolutionize your email marketing and take your local school to new heights.
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.