Email is an important marketing tool for higher education to increase enrollment. Email marketing can hit the mark if universities and colleges want to increase their reach to prospective students and achieve their goals. 

Email marketing lets you target different audiences and engage them with relevant information. Taking the time to structure email marketing strategies for higher education can help you reach out to prospective students.

In higher education, email marketing helps you to:

  • Increase reach to prospective students
  • Attract prospective students to your university
  • Build a strong relationship
  • Ensure prospective students take the desired action

Despite the advancement in communication technologies and apps, more than 4 billion people use emails worldwide as their preferred form of communication.

Also, other stats show that higher education institutions have seen an increase of 47% in email open rates and a 70% increase in click-through rates.

10 Actionable Email Marketing Tactics to Prospect Students

This blog will be a great stepping stone to creating email marketing strategies for higher education to increase enrollments. Here’s what we’ve complied for you:

1. Building a High-Quality Email List

When you begin planning email marketing for educational institutions strategy, you first need to build a high-quality email list. It can be built in a number of ways by focusing on important areas.

Implementing opt-in forms on the website

As students still choose email as their preferred channel to communicate with the university or college, an opt-in form helps you capture the attention of prospective students and increase conversions.

Why use an opt-in form?
  • Collect contact information
  • Generate leads
  • Follow up with potential lead

Offering valuable incentives for email sign-ups

To promote sign-ups among prospective students, universities and colleges offer incentives. For example:

  • Discount on course registration
  • First-time subscriber discount
  • Exclusive access to course content
  • Free download newsletter
  • Receive university prospectus

Leveraging social media for list building

Leveraging the power of social media for higher education email list building helps in approaching prospective students, engaging them, and enticing them to sign-up. Driving followers to your email list and getting them to connect with you directly to share personalized content boosts email open rates and increases conversions.

Partnering with relevant organizations for list sharing

As a higher education marketing email’s best practice, partnering with relevant organizations for list sharing helps you reach target audiences, expand the market, and gain access to a pool of prospective students you couldn’t have reached otherwise.

2. Crafting Compelling Email Content

K.I.S.S (Keep it simple and strong) is the new way to create compelling email content. When crafting content for email marketing for higher education, always keep it short, make it personalized, use curiosity, create urgency to take action, and keep it aligned with your brand tone.

infographics for the crafting email content
Follow these tips to write a good email:
  • Know your audience
  • Align your brand tone
  • Personalize message
  • Ensure relevancy
  • Keep it clear
  • Don’t sell in the first email

Writing attention-grabbing subject lines

You don’t get a second chance to create the first impression!

For this reason, winning higher Ed email marketing requires attention-grabbing subject lines. As it is the first part of your email that recipient will read. Here are 5 best ways to write a catchy subject line:

  • Use short lines
  • Consider capitalization
  • Use punctuation and emojis
  • Be actionable
  • Write in the second person

Personalizing email content for recipients

Personalization is the most crucial element of email marketing strategy for educational institutes as it quickly captures your recipients’ attention.

Here’s why you need to personalize email content:
  • Increase click-through rates
  • Decrease unsubscribe rate
  • Re-engage prospect

Creating compelling email copy

A compelling email copy persuades the prospective student to take the desired action, such as sign-up or registering for a newsletter. For a truly compelling copy, keep it short, simple, well-written, and persuasive.

5 tips for email copywriting:
  • The subject line is the hook
  • Add text preview
  • Keep it conversational
  • Choose your words carefully
  • Include simple CTA

Utilizing storytelling techniques to engage readers

Storytelling is the art of using narratives, emotions, and characters to deliver a message that engages the reader and establishes a connection. You can set yourself apart and drive real results by tapping into the emotions and including stories in your higher Ed email marketing campaign.

Incorporating relevant visuals and multimedia

Incorporating visuals and multimedia can help you grab attention, enhance your message, increase engagement, and drive conversions. For example, you can include the following visuals and multimedia in your higher Ed emails:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • GIFs
  • Infographics
  • Interactive elements such as quizzes and polls

3. Segmenting the Email List

Email list segmentation is a process that divides your contact list into smaller groups of contact based on different parameters. It helps you increase relevance, and prospective students are more likely to engage with it.

Importance of segmentation in email marketing

The whole point of email list segmentation is to provide relevant content to your email recipients. Segmentation can deliver results, increase traffic, and spike conversions.

  • Geography
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Persona
  • Education Level
  • Past Purchases
  • Interests
  • Frequency
  • Interest Level
  • Stage in the Sales Cycle
  • Form Abandonment
  • Page Views
  • CTA Clicks

Segmenting based on demographics and interests

Always remember generic emails are unhelpful and a waste of inbox space. Email list segmentation ensures that the right email reaches the right prospective student.

Demographic segmentation helps universities and colleges understand prospective student behavior and perform better. This segmentation is based on age, gender, level of education, occupation, income, and nationality.

Whereas interest-based segmentation focus on how prospective students are connected through shared interests and affinities. This segmentation is based on needs, attitudes, values, must-haves, and benefits.

Tailoring messages to specific segments

It is essential to tailor messages that will resonate with specific segments to increase click-through rates and drive conversions. By doing this, you can ensure that your emails are more relevant and appealing to prospective students and lead to higher engagement.

Here are a few tips for tailoring messages:
  • Keep it relevant and concise
  • Separate prospects from existing students
  • Pay Attention to Demographics
  • Pay attention to behavior
  • Use tailored CTA

Utilizing dynamic content to improve personalization

Dynamic content and personalized message create a spark that boosts engagement to help universities and colleges achieve their marketing goals. Dynamic content ensures that the content changes for each recipient, as the name implies, are automated.

Follow these 5 steps to create dynamic content for your higher education email marketing campaign:
  • Gather your sources
  • Verify insights
  • Match your solutions
  • Develop content
  • Monitor and refine

4. Automating Email Campaigns

If you want to achieve your goals, it is important to automate email campaigns. Email automation helps convert into sales as it allows you to create email series. Rather than spending all your time writing and sending emails, you can focus on crafting a compelling copy that ensures recipients take the desired action. 

Introduction to email automation

Email automation is a technology that allows higher Ed institutions to send emails from their service provider to recipients added to their email list. It helps in retention rate, attracts more leads, and scales your campaign for email marketing for higher education.

Setting up automated welcome emails for new subscribers

So how do you make a first impression that ensures you stay top-of-mind of new subscribers? A welcome email is an important parameter to analyze that your subscribers are checking their emails and waiting for your response.

Here’s how you can set up automated welcome emails in 5 easy steps:
  1. Set up your opt-in form and segments
  2. Craft your email
  3. Create a welcome email sequence
  4. Add a triggers
  5. Add steps and publish

Implementing drip campaigns for nurturing leads

A drip email campaign refers to a series of emails sent to the targeted audience once they have taken a specific action. For example, if prospective students leave the university registration process halfway, you can trigger an email within 48 hours to entice them to finish their process.

Here’s why drip campaigns are important:

  • Turn leads into sales
  • Turn manual and repetitive tasks into automated ones
  • Help the user take a specific action
  • Increase brand awareness

Sending triggered emails based on user behavior

Emails are essential but sometimes seem like a bit of a one-sided conversation. To avoid unsubscribe rates and repeated trips to the spam folder, as a higher Ed marketer, you must send emails based on user behavior.

For example, you can send 5 different types of triggered emails based on behavior:

  • Welcome emails: Thanks for subscribing; welcome to the university, or get started now
  • Post-registration emails: Welcome to the program, registration confirmed or made payment
  • Account/Summary emails: Receipts, payment confirmation, or reminder
  • Status/Alter emails: Enrollment confirmed, course starting or class reminders
  • Feedback emails: Polls, questionnaires, or forms

Using marketing automation platforms for efficiency

With the right marketing automation platforms, you can improve efficiency and provide a personalized experience for your prospective student. Marketing automation for universities and colleges can help higher Ed marketers to increase return on investment through real-time analytics, optimizing messaging, and providing insights into behavior and preferences.

5. Optimizing Email Deliverability

Email deliverability ensures that your emails successfully land in your prospective students’ inboxes. And it is a complex issue as it sets the way forward. If you want to hit the mark without missing the target, a higher education marketing agency can help you optimize email deliverables and ensure they reach the right audience at the right time.

Ensuring email deliverability to recipients’ inboxes

Many marketers ignore deliverability, but it significantly impacts the success of your university email marketing strategy. Here’s how you can improve email deliverability:

  • Authentic email domain
  • Proper IP allocation
  • Opt-in process
  • Avoid spam content
  • Keep email list clean

Maintaining a healthy sender reputation

With the increase in emails for higher Ed, your email campaigns won’t give you the best possible returns if they don’t reach their intended recipients. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a healthy sender reputation.

infographics shows the tips for how to maintain a healthy sender reputation

Here’s how you can maintain the sender’s reputation:

  • IP warm-up
  • Proactive email set-up
  • Deliverability audit
  • Remove from blacklists
  • Always use opt-in
  • Use double opt-in to prevent error

Minimizing spam filters and increasing open rates

Open rate is the most important metric that higher Ed marketers use to measure the effectiveness of their email marketing campaigns. The open rate shows how well the email grabbed attention and engaged the reader.

Tips to minimize spam filters and increase open rates:

  • Get a reliable email address
  • Familiarize yourself with spam laws
  • Email people who grant you permission
  • Use segmentation for email lists
  • Use real reply-to-address email

Implementing double opt-in to improve engagement

Double opt-in implementation refers to the addition of steps to email subscription where recipients need to verify their email address and confirm interest. It will help you improve your email list quality, improve open rates, click-through rates, and, ultimately, conversions.

6. Testing and Analyzing Email Performance

Your automated email marketing platform isn’t likely to generate the results that you want until emails are tested and analyzed for their performance. 

Importance of A/B testing in email marketing

A/B testing in email marketing is the most popular enrollment trend in higher education that delivers results. A/B testing is very easy; you can create 2 different variations of your email and send it to 2 different subsets of your list to see which email performs best. 

Refining your higher Ed email marketing strategies to enhance the experience and collecting data that makes an impact is important.

Conducting split tests for subject lines, content, and CTAs

Split testing is an easy way to understand the content that optimizes customer experience through email marketing. But A/B testing isn’t an easy task! It requires you to create a large number of emails with multiple subject lines and content. You need to develop multivariate testing samples for subject lines, content, and CTAs will entice recipients to take a specific action.

Analyzing email metrics and key performance indicators

Finding the right email metrics and KPIs is vital to measure the impact of whether you’re hitting the goals and moving in the right direction. Every higher Ed email marketing campaign is unique, and you may have different priorities. Here are the top metrics you should track:

  • Open rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Device statistics
  • Spam reporting
  • Social shares 

Making data-driven improvements to email campaigns

Data-driven email marketing campaigns help universities and colleges optimize communications based on customer insights to increase enrollments. Data-driven emails help higher Ed marketers develop personalized marketing strategies for the highest possible return on investment (ROI).

7. Integrating Email with Other Marketing Channels

If your email marketing campaign is operating as a silo, it’s time to integrate with other marketing channels to maximize outcomes. You might miss valuable click-throughs and potential sales.

Creating consistent messaging across channels

If you’re a smart higher Ed marketer, you must create a content strategy that easily fits into multiple channels. Here are tips for developing a consistent message:

  • Know your audience
  • Choose your voice
  • Align it with your brand tone
  • Be consistent
  • Humanize content

Incorporating email in social media marketing

Social media integration with email marketing is an easier and more efficient way to generate leads. Here are some tactics to help you get started:

  • Add social share buttons in your emails
  • Emails must include social media insights
  • Grow your list through social media

Driving traffic from email to the website and landing pages

Your university or school website is the foundation of your online presence and visibility to reach prospective students. When integrated with emails, a higher education website design that includes in-forms, pop-ups, or contact forms helps you capture your visitor’s email and increase the subscriber base.

Combining email with content marketing strategies

The combined strength of email with content marketing strategies can help higher educational institutions create an omnichannel campaign for reach and effect. When combined, it is the best way to get your attention by building relationships and making prospects convert.

Produce different types of content, use email segmentation for personalized content, drive traffic to your content source, and repurpose content for use.

8. Retaining and Engaging Subscribers

So you’ve curated a large email list of subscribers; now, you should focus on retaining and engaging them. It is the key to building revenue and driving long-term success. Engaging your subscribers is a tremendous opportunity to convert them into enrolments.

Providing value through educational content

By delivering value through educational content, higher Ed institutions bridge the gap for prospective students and achieve desired results. Here are a few must-know tips for creating educational content that resonates with your audience:

  • Relevant to your audience
  • Maintain consistent voice
  • Answering the burning questions
  • Break up your content with friendly formatting
  • Enrich your content with additional links
  • Repurpose content to get more mileage

Offering exclusive discounts or promotions

Discounts and promotional emails shouldn’t be sent often to prospective students via university or school. But, you must maintain a balance to help reluctant students from enrolling at your educational institutions due to registration costs.

Here are some discounts that universities and schools can offer for their students:

  • Entertainment discount
  • Software discounts
  • Food discounts
  • Insurance discounts
  • Retail discounts

Running contests and giveaways to incentivize engagement

Running contests and giveaways is a great way to build a community, encourage students to follow your university or college on social media, create brand awareness, convince people to sign up, and turn them into sales.

Implementing an effective email nurture sequence

To nurture sequence through emails, you must add the most relevant call to action in higher education emails to ensure prospective students take action. Create a plan to nurture email series according to the email list segments.

9. Personalizing the Enrollment Journey

Personalization of the enrollment journey requires potential, importance, and ease to increase engagement and provide more relevant information. We recommend you map your customer’s journey and set the content that can engage them throughout.

Tailoring emails for different stages of the enrollment process

Tailoring emails for different stages will provide benefits for educational institutions. Segments can be defined by, for example:

  • Audience types
  • Stage in journey
  • Product/Service Categories
  • Personas

Sending personalized follow-ups to prospective students

Now that you’ve identified your prospect, shared information with them, and exchanged relevant content, it’s time to send a follow-up email. Keep your goals and objectives clear when you’re crafting a follow-up email.

Providing relevant information and resources

Engage your prospect with information and resources in which they are interested. It can include events, news, updates, program details, or access to the community page of your university or college.

Emails are the best way to share information strategically with the prospect, keeping in mind the customer stage in the sales cycle. 

Offering personalized support and assistance

Personalization matters more than ever before. For student retention in higher education, personalized support and assistance are the best way to convert a prospect into enrolment.

Tips for the university to offer support and assistance:

  • Leverage prospect data available
  • Ensure a seamless transition from one to another channel
  • Implement consistency
  • Learn from the customer feedback

10. Utilizing Email for Event Promotion

How can you ensure your upcoming event will turn into a full house? The answer is by utilizing email for higher Ed event promotion. Also, events are the best way for higher education lead generation for universities and colleges, as it engages prospective and existing students.

Announcing and promoting campus events via email

You know how much a well-promoted campus can benefit your university, but it starts with getting prospective and existing students in the door.

Here’s how you can promote campus events via email:

  • Announce the event
  • Create awareness
  • Build excitement
  • Share videos
  • Create early bird discounts
  • Write engaging copies
  • Include actionable CTA

Sending reminders and updates to event registrants

Remember, the number of event registrations doesn’t mean you’ve reached your goal. Your prospective attendees can forget about your event too. Sending event reminders and update emails helps to keep your event in mind. 

Benefits of sending reminders and updates:

  • Helps attendees prioritize
  • Provide essential information
  • Increase attendance
  • Share event highlights
  • Countdown to the event

Encouraging attendees to share event information

Event promotions can be tricky for Higher Ed. Higher education marketing trends reveal that no one will know it’s happening without the right promotion. And encouraging attendees to share information is the best way to promote through word-of-mouth.

Ways to encourage attendees to share event information:

  • Leverage that email list
  • Create with, not for
  • User-generated content
  • Engage the audience on social media
  • Create content that encourages people to talk about it

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some best practices for crafting compelling email content?

  • Keep subject lines short and simple
  • Use the preheader text
  • Avoid too many special characters
  • Provide useful insights
  • Include personalized information
  • Test and optimize your email
  • Include CTA

What are the benefits of automating email campaigns?

Benefits of automating email campaigns:

  • Saves you time
  • Cost saving
  • Reduced potential for errors
  • Generate relevant traffic
  • Lead generation
  • Personalization

What strategies can I use to retain and engage email subscribers?

6 strategies to retain and engage email subscribers:

  1. Dynamic content
  2. Powerful subject lines
  3. Visually appealing emails
  4. Personalized approach
  5. Segment your email list
  6. Automated email workflow

Final Words

Now the ball is in your court! Email marketing is an essential tool for your educational institution’s email marketing strategy.

If your university or college wants to reach the greatest number of prospective students, you need to create email marketing strategies that hit the mark and increase enrollments.

As discussed in this blog, now you know the best email marketing strategies for higher education; you can attempt to increase enrollments or get support from a leading higher Ed marketing agency.