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Email Marketing tips for Higher Education to Increase Enrollments

Being one of the older digital marketing strategies, email marketing is still regarded as a powerful tool to secure leads, engage with audiences directly and convert them at the correct time. Email marketing numbers are simply phenomenal even in 2022, and with the coronavirus pandemic causing great havoc, it has once more become a leading strategy for marketers worldwide. 

MailChimp’s analysis in 2019 reported a phenomenal 21.33% average open rate for marketing emails. Research from SmartInsights revealed in 2022 that email open rates have grown to 29.55%.  

Importance Of Email Marketing For Higher Education

Emails are a core aspect of the enrollment marketing funnel, with SmartInsights reporting open rates at almost 33% in 2022. Email marketing for higher education remains a crucial aspect in higher education marketing due to its effectiveness across the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel.  

The modern student is practically glued to their smartphones with a report identifying that 18-24-year-olds have the highest smartphone penetration at 93%, with usage time between 4-5 hours. Here are some interesting benefits of email marketing for higher education.

Email Marketing Has the Highest ROI

Litmus identified in 2021 that email marketing has an ROI of $36 for every $1 invested. This makes it one of the most attractive initiatives that enrollment marketers choose to reach students all over the world. 

Enrollment marketing teams can develop multiple email campaigns for different stages of the customer journey, in addition to being able to A/B test to improve ROI in real-time. 

Reach Out To Larger Audiences 

Email Marketing is a faster and more secure way to reach a huge global audience. Enrollment marketers can engage a worldwide audience and then filter leads through funnels educating them, convincing them, and then converting them all through strategic email campaigns & content. 

Universities can attract potential local students from distant cities, in addition to international students who may be interested. 

Excellent for Branding 

Email Marketing is an excellent way to empower your brand with a loyal following and build trust with audiences of different backgrounds and ethnicities. Educating audiences about charity and academic events, providing student support workshops, offering financial aid, and other initiatives can empower brand image and provide an even large audience reach.  

AIDA Model

Email Marketing is an excellent way for enrollment teams to use the AIDA model to create awareness, develop interest, create desire, and then encourage action from students in a planned flow of events. Email can be used to send educational content, videos, guides, and forms, and used to engage students in live counseling sessions too. 

From awareness to desire, an email is an essential tool that can build formidable trust and engagement, between enrollment marketers and students.  

Personalization & Trust 

Emails can be personalized to be more engaging for potential students engaging them through their pain points or areas of interest. Email marketing can focus on students who need financial support, educating them about scholarships and funding programs. 

Similarly, university marketers can engage athletes and research students by simply making them aware of the world-class facilities, faculty, and peaceful environment of the school. Building trust by building student interest is something fewer channels can achieve quickly, email remains one of those. 

Segmentation & Targeted Marketing 

Email marketing for higher education allows great versatility including the ability to segment students by programs or courses. Email campaigns can be executed simultaneously for different schools at the university allowing enrollment marketers to reach a significantly huge targeted audience for each campaign. 

email marketing for higher education

Higher Education Email Marketing: Best Practices For Increasing Student Enrollments 

To make email campaigns more effective and engaging for students, enrollment marketers need to focus on certain elements of their email content & design. Here are 7 high-education email marketing tips to improve conversions.

Segment Your Lists 

The most important step in executing successful enrollment marketing email campaigns is to know your persons and segment your audiences in accordance with those. For universities that have different departments, it is essential to create unique & personalized emails for every type of student segment. 

Every student persona has its own characteristics, and enrollment teams must capitalize on those unique aspects of their audiences. The email content and design can be customized to provide different types of information through whitepapers, videos, webinars, etc. to be more specific to student needs. 

A/B test Different Email Copies 

Testing email campaigns with different content and design templates can provide excellent statistics for increasing conversions. Testing two versions of the same email can provide insight into improving content, providing more information, and redesigning the entire campaign if necessary. 

Unique Personalized Subject Lines 

Personalization is essential for enrollment marketers to build rapport and trust with the student. Emails with generalized subject lines usually end up in spam folders too, therefore emails created with available student information tend to receive more opens and click-throughs. 

Mobile Optimized Email & Landing Pages 

To assure success with modern-day students, it is highly recommended to optimize emails for mobile devices. The increased penetration of handheld devices demands enrollment marketers create optimized pages that fit the screen, provide easy navigation, and clear CTAs to grow conversions. 

Create An Email Newsletter Campaign 

Enrollment marketers should consider developing a weekly or fortnightly newsletter campaign to keep students engaged continuously with their brands. Providing prospects with new content, updates, and the latest information through newsletters can be very effective. 

In addition, newsletters can allow students to engage directly and while making a decision to attend. Constantly engaging with audiences through newsletters also enhances the pull of the brand, as highlighting events, new facilities, new faculty members, and courses will attract student attention. 

Include Interactive Content - Be Concise, Be Precise   

Emails must be both engaging and informative at the same time, giving enrollment marketers a challenge in modern times. However, it has become even easier through email automation and marketing tools to embed multiple content types into the same copy. 

Higher education marketers should consider making their content concise, and curate emails around more in-depth content magnets like videos, informative PDFs, guides, and landing pages. 

Video content has already proven to get more views and click-throughs especially because of the visual information mix. Allowing students to view videos and images of the university, its students, and facilities adds to the brand image while encouraging students to even visit the campus, increasing chances of conversion. 

Emails should also include forms that can allow students to sign up for newsletters and other email lists of their interest. Ebooks are a particularly popular idea, by ‘gating’ their download with an email requirement, universities can create a direct connection with students. 

Focus on Your CTA

Emails must focus on multiple CTAs today to get favorable action from the student. CTAs are not just the big buy button anymore, it can be a link to an ebook, an article, a course outline, a video tutorial, a contact us link, and much more. 

Focusing on getting the student to click is essential to engage them in the marketing funnel from the very beginning. Providing multiple links to landing pages, blogs, social profiles, and forms are all CTAs that will bring students to marketers directly.


Email marketing remains an essential part of the higher education marketing toolkit. In essence not only does email marketing provide the most attractive return on investment, but also offers the most engaging means of attracting audiences to nurture over time. 

We hope you enjoyed this edition of our blog, for more interesting reads stay connected to our social feeds. 

Manno Notermans

Manno is a wanderer of the world looking to make an impact and change the world for the better. He has over 10 years of experience working in various marketing positions. Manno’s main focus the past few years has been accelerating the growth of businesses, increasing revenue, and profit with out-of-box creative ideas and implementations.