News flash from the future (aka 2020): email campaigns are still one of the most effective components of a college’s admissions marketing strategy. In our GenZ Labs user testing sessions, prospective students point to email as the most trusted form of communication from Admissions offices. But they also report that their inboxes are flooded with messages and they quickly determine the good, the bad and the “hit the spam button!”
Whether you rely on a sophisticated CRM or a more basic email software to reach them, prospective students are acting as real live spam filters. Fortunately, they’re candid about what turns them off or earns their focus. Combine their insights with tried-and-true best practices for email campaigns, and you’re on your way to open and click-through rates that sing “ROI!’
1. I’ll pass on a weak subject line. Both your recipients and spam filters begin with the subject line of your email to judge its worthiness. Choose your words with care — you want concise subject lines that are personalized in a natural-feeling way, relevant to the student’s expressed interests and offer a compelling reason to open. Keep spam filters happy by avoiding all caps (WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?), excessive punctuation (…, !!!, and ???), and overly “spammy” words and phrases (free, act now, guaranteed, be amazed, etc).
2. Make it personal and keep it simple. While spam filters can be triggered by an imbalance of images and text or excessive links in email content, prospective students have their own criteria. Emails that are generic, obviously cut-and-pasted, too “salesy” or simply irrelevant to their actual interests are a big turn-off. “Generic cut and paste. Ewwwww.” Students feel the same about complex or confusing content that isn’t quickly consumed. Whenever possible, focus on the recipient’s known interests, speak to them by name, and make it clear how they can learn more with a singular call-to-action. Simple, visually interesting content is far more likely to achieve high click-through rates – use it to gain their trust and keep nurturing!
3. Don’t be redundant. These digital natives move quickly across media (email, websites, social media, texts, chatbots, instant messaging) and devices (smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop), all in one day during their college search. They pick up on and are turned off by repetitive messaging, so make sure yours is varied. Consider decreasing your planned push communications – a less is more approach – and be sure to exclude students from receiving duplicate emails.
4. Let me unsubscribe. Offer a link to opt out of future emails and honor unsubscribe requests within 10 days – it’s a good practice that will keep you compliant with the Federal CAN-SPAM Act.
5. I get a ton of emails – are you even sure I’m getting yours? Test your emails to ensure deliverability. There are various tools to help you pull a report on how email providers view your IP address, and ensure deliverability. Knowing where you stand will help you focus on what needs to be improved.
Quality is King! Having the most highly qualified leads available is the foundation for creating the most compelling – and spam-proof – communications. We’d love to show you how! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule a demo to learn how the CustomViewbook platform will help you capture leads that are 4.5X more likely to become enrolled.