Email marketing: 5 schools that do an unusually fine job
Back today with the last two questions from my interview with Jens Larson, manager of student communication strategies at Eastern Washington University. Look below for 5 schools that do especially good work with email communications for student recruitment.
If you missed Jens’s advice on how to achieve “delicious” email success in the first part of our interview, that’s just a click away.
For more insights from Jens, sign up for notices of new posts on his own blog “U of Admissions Marketing.” If email marketing is important to you, plan to attend Jens’ workshop at eduWeb14 conferece: “Where Did All the Email Strategists Go? The Contrarian’s Guide to Winning at Email Marketing.”
To make it easier to start secret shopping here, each link below goes direct to an undergraduate online inquiry page. Enjoy!
people who want to do a bit of secret shopping and experience a strong email
campaign for potential students, what universities do you recommend?
- Always start with
competitors. Once that’s done, the following institutions can provide
inspiration, although secret shoppers need to look beyond higher ed to find the
cutting edge of email.
State University. I
haven’t had them on my secret shopping list for a while, but they tend to keep
emails short, often with just one clear button or link and just a line or two
of text. Super simple. University of Nevada Reno is very similar in this
Sail University. It’s a
for-profit, but they make an effort to highlight their students’ work and
level of personalization–which is remarkable in the industry–and their steady
rate of emails keep them at the top of my inbox. At last count, they’ve sent
several dozen emails in one recruitment cycle, and very few feel spammy.
- University of Chicago. Their emails typically have twice as much
text as most higher ed emails, but they also have twice as much personality.
Interestingly, elite institutions seem more likely to showcase institutional
personalities via email. Perhaps they have more confidence? Better strategy?
the second all-girls institution on the list, but niche schools like Wellesley
often have a better understanding of their audience and recruitment goals, and
it shows in this email campaign. Their print campaign is also some of the most
amazing copywriting in higher ed. But be nice with your info requests. Their
print campaign is an expensive one.
- No campaign will ever be
perfect given time, cost, and technology constraints, but elements from those
five schools together would be an almost unstoppable campaign.
5. What is the most
common mistake you see universities making in an email campaign?
- The most common mistake is not valuing
email enough, which shows itself in two ways.
- First, it shows up in poor
campaign planning coupled with desperate emails. Too many times the
response to missed targets and bad planning seems to be, “Quick! Send another
email.” By that point, it’s too late.
- Second, it shows up in poor resource allocation. Just
because email is relatively inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. In
fact, it’s often the case that it’s more valuable than nearly any other channel
on campus. But email isn’t as sexy as social media or dynamic web interfaces,
so it’s usually just tacked on to someone’s job.
- So I look at the
positive: one institution’s mistake is another institution’s competitive
advantage. Which is just another reason to attend the eduWeb Conference.
That’s all for now.
August 4-6, Baltimore, MD, CA: Review the conference program and register.