In 2015, the education sector had an average email open rate of 19.26%, according to SmartInsights. How do you compare? If you don’t compare at all, in other words, you’re not currently utilizing email marketing, then it is time for a change. Your school, district, or university can get so much out of email marketing and these best practices are a great place to start.
Determine Your Target Audience
Most likely, your audience is split into 4 or more very unique groups: students, parents, teachers, and community. Therefore, you will need to decide which audiences you are going to target with email and how you will accomplish that. Creating and managing separate email lists for each of your audiences is a great start. By managing separate lists, you can send an important announcement about Finals week to students, without the general public needing to know. You can also provide important and moderately confidential school-related information to teachers without students gaining access. Understanding your different audiences will also help you to create emails that make sense. While students may be more open to a fun layout and colorful design, teachers might just want you to get to the point.
Create Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines
With 35% of email recipients opening email based on the subject line alone, it is absolutely essential to create subject lines that ‘wow’ (Convince&Convert). The subject line is your first and biggest chance to catch a reader’s attention. Without a catchy subject, your email will end up in the trash. MailChimp recommends subject lines fewer than 50 characters so that the full subject can be read in the preview pane. Your subject lines will change depending on the audience you are targeting and understanding what their interests are will be your first step to creating a great subject. While an “important information” email is better suited for parents than students, a “spirit night at the basketball game” subject line will work better for students than the general public.
A/B Test Your Subject Line
Another important thing to do with your subject line is A/B test it! A/B tests allow you to see which subject line performs better so that you may improve your email open rates over time. If you’re unsure as to which type of subject line will perform better, use your mail client to A/B test. With MailChimp, you can A/B test for 20% of the recipients (this number is flexible) and then send the winning subject to the remaining 80% of recipients. Record the data you find while A/B testing so that you can always send the “best” subject line to teachers, students, and parents. And keep in mind these subjects will be different for each audience!
Make it Mobile-Friendly
According to Litmus, nearly half of emails are opened on smartphones and tablets, representing a 500% increase in four years! If that’s not enough to convince you of the importance of mobile-friendly email marketing, we’re not sure what is. If you’re going to manage an email marketing campaign, it will need to be mobile friendly. Most email clients will automatically produce a mobile-friendly version for the campaign you create. If you are creating a custom design, you will need to double check that it performs well on mobile devices and make adjustments as needed. Remember that if there is one demographic that is more likely to be on mobile devices, it is students. Therefore, if there is one industry that should have mobile-friendly emails, it is education.
If you are in the education sector and are not currently sending out monthly e-newsletters, weekly e-blasts, or any other type of mass email communications, then get started with the above best practices! If you need assistance with managing your email campaigns, contact Informatics.
View the rest of the education digital marketing blogs from this month: