Email Marketing Strategy for Higher Education


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This webinar is all about how to increase the reach of your messaging with email marketing, why having a multi-channel marketing strategy is important, and how to target the right person, with the right message, at the right time. You'll also learn tips for a successful emarketing program and examples from other schools.

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  • So lets get started - First let me tell you a little ABOUT INFORMZ – we are an email service provider that is used by hundreds of clients and we work specifically with Colleges and Universities and also Associations and Non-profits. With the Informz solution – our core product is email marketing - where you can create things like eNewsletters, news announcements and event notifications - all at a fraction of the cost of direct mail. And thats more enviornmentally responsible too. We offer a full suite of eMarketing solutions – in addition to email that includes online surveys, invoicing, text messaging, voting and event registration. And the best part is that all the tools work together and the data can be leveraged again and again so Informz clients work smarter not harder.
  • Now to clarify when I use the term “email” we are referring to “email Marketing”. What that means is we provide a service that allows users to easily create html messages that maintain their unique organizational branding - target those messages to a segmented list – and do things like schedule the mailing to be published at an appropriate time or be automatically triggered by an action, all while leverage our deliverability expertise so they can make sure the message reaches the inbox…. and gaining valuable metrics from the extensive reporting capabilities.. So basically - I refer to “email” we are not referring to just creating and sending text based messages via Outlook. Email Marketing is so much more than that – and there are many ways you can utilize a tool like Informz but today we’re going to talk about how you can move from just emailing to email marketing.
  • When thinking about your strategy your success the two things that I always stress to clients– A. you want to integrate your communication strategy so your messaging is consistent across all of your marketing communications channels and B. you want to strive to target the right person with the right message at the right time. And today we’re going to look at how email marketing can be a key component to achieve these goals.
  • First lets start by talking about what I mean when I say integrating your communications strategy --- I want to make it clear that we aren’t saying anything like direct mail is dead -- Now, more than ever – the key is to utilize multiple channels and integrating your messaging across all of them. -when your formulating your strategy, remember that email is just one of the tools in your arsenal. You should start by thinking about your message, whatever it may be, and how you can tell it in a compelling way to best connect with your audience. Then from there, decide on how you can integrate that messaging across all of the channels available to you and use them to compliment each other and extend the reach of your message. So its very important to ensure that each of your marketing channels don’t operate in a vacuum – use them to enhance each other and connect with your audience on more levels. When used as one component of your overall marketing program – email can be very powerful tool to help enhance the other channels, to drive people to take action, and drive them to other channels. So next lets take a look at some current clients are using emails as a way to drive people to other channels or enhance their messaging or re-enforce it with other channels.
  • Admissions – an area it could be used more – email is the perfect tool to drive people to other areas that are going to help you engage the prospects, AND it can identify the best prospective student, and it is great to compliment your other pieces. Now email is going to allow you to run several different campaign types from things like information about the school and driving them to a viewbook or scheduling a time to meet with a counselor or attend an open house. And much of this should be triggered based upon actions – so the more action they take the different emails they get. Then you can identify a prospect most likely to enroll. Talk about Carroll – for a copy email me after webinar.
  • Advancement – Just like admissions email can help with prospecting also. It can help you identify what people are interested so you can target news and appeals to areas of interest to them. Email is a great way to drive people to your online giving site or can be a great compliment to your matching gift campaigns. For example if you collect employer information you can target an email informing them of how they can initiate the match and drive them back to the page where they can do that because so many have online process for this now. A Also you can use it as enhancment pieces for your direct mail pieces and phonathon. One way is by emailing people and telling them when they can expect to see the piece in their mailbox or to receive a phone call from your callers. Also I think email is an easy and effective way to do immediate thank yous after the call with a gist receipt or pledge confirmation – or to manage your pledge reminder process.
  • Next on to Alumni Relations – where you can see in examples on screen it can be a great tool for reaching young alumni --- Also with engagement of alumni here is a great case for why you want to use all of the channels available to you. The more someone is a part of your different marketing channels the more they are going to be a part of more touchpoints from your school and therefore you are fostering their engagement. So use email to drive people to your online alummi community and other social media sites. Also use email to deliver surveys and forms to up date their information and to promote your EVENTS.
  • Moving on to current students – here is a good area where you can use email to drive people to other channels You’re going to have access to your current students email addresses so utilize email to send notices about events and deadlines and news. and cut some costs and staff resources. One school did course evaluations --- having it all electronically is going to save you – but also is all trackable so you can see who responded and who didn’t and follow up with the appropriate individual. You can also see if there were delivery problems – things you don’t have the ability to do with printed pieces.
  • And lastly I have parents and friends some of the same examples we just discussed with being able to target news and events information that is of interest to them and drive them to your other channels. The options are endless finacial aid, institutional research, athletics ANYWHERE – the bottom line is the integrating you messaging across channels allows people to accept the message in the way that THEY prefer - making it more effective – AND as I mentioned before, the more touchpoints a person is a part of the more engaged they will be and increases the reach of your message.
  • Now the other part that I want you to think about when formulating your strategy --- the art of right person with the right message at the right time… First you want to start by identifying the right person or target group for your message. Now when you’re targeting this can be anything like profile or demographic information you collect in your database – or you can identify people based behavioral things like actions taken and this can be very effective tactic – just look at the success of companies like Amazon that are great at behavioral targeting. For example, in Informz there’s an action based targeting tool where you can automatically create target groups for people that have clicked a certain link in an email or answered a specific question on a survey. This is a great tool to help with engagement – for example lets say you have an admissions prospect you can set up an action based target group for anyone that clicks a link your mailing for information about Open houses. That person will automatically be put in a target group and can be used for a future email.
  • Then that goes hand in hand with sending the right message – if someone click on a link about open houses – you’re going to want to target them with a different message then someone who has never. THE MORE TARGETED AND RELEVANT YOUR MESSAGE THE MORE SUCCESSFUL – BOTTOM LINE. So you set up that action based target group and now you can send a targeted email you know clicked a link and already has some information and is interested in the open houses. Then you could have different messaging for the people that haven’t clicked – you may want to have a stronger message or maybe an incentive to come. With dynaminc segmentation we have you can target each of the messages to the apporpriate target group – all within one email – and the appropriate recipient is only going to receive the message that is appropriate for them.. You can see from the example on screen one client did this with their reunion years – so each person received a message with target language and details for them.
  • Now you have identified the right person and their appropriate message – but that doesn’t do you any good if there person doesn’t read your message. SO the last part of this equation is sending this at the right time. This one can be tricky, BUT there are a few ways Informz can help you do this….and this is why email is really great because no other channel can really allow you to do this. The first is through AUTOMATION – so sticking with same example of that admissions prospect that clicked on the open house link in your latest email. Well using automation – maybe you send a follow up email automatically to the person a few minutes after they click. This could be an email from an admissions counselor or maybe from a students perspective asking them about a visit. Now you’ve hit them with the offer right when they’re already thinking about your school – and this is a time when they may be more likely to take action. And the real beauty of this is you just set up the mailing and that action based target group and then forget it – it will roll out automatically for you. Now the other way to help you determine on the right time to send your message is utilizing the ANALYTICS CENTER to determine best times and day to send. This will look at your mailings how you determine – so by folder or by campaign –and over the date period you would like – and it will show you easy to read graphs that are going to identify the days of the week and the times of days that are best for you to send – you’ll see when you have the highest delivery, highest opens and clicks. This is important information to be aware of. Then probably the coolest new feature we have is our new SEND TIME OPTIMIZATION feature – this learns the behavior of the people that you send to and will automatically send your email out over a 24 hour period of time at the time they are most likely to open. If it’s the first time you send to that person it will send it at the time most people on that domain are open emails the most. So in the end – as you can see - email by nature is one of the best tool to enable you to target the right message to the right person at the right time.
  • To give you some inspriration Here’s a client success story of a real life Informz client where they followed the strategies we just discusses and have had great success – and like they always tell me they are just at the tip of the ice burg in terms of what they are able to do now. In terms of sending that RIGHT MESSAGE to the right person …. For example, Alumni emails targeted by academic major typically see open rates between 40-50% and click-thru rates between 60-70%. Email marketing also enabled the Wartburg team to increase their reach and foster engagement with their Alumni by providing a system for highly targeted messages based on subscriber demographics. For example, Wartburg used Informz to promote regional events as a way to target Alumni not located in close proximity to the college. Email has allowed them to easily communicate timely information and to target Alumni with messaging for news and events happening near them. For example, both the Athletics and Music Departments were now able to target emails to regional Alumni when a sports team or music concert was traveling to play in a nearby town. And as a result, Wartburg continually receives great feedback from Alumni who are thankful for the information as they would not have known about the events otherwise. TIMING - In addition to easily segmenting and targeting their messages, the timing and immediacy of email has also allowed Wartburg to take their engagement tactics a step further by incorporating touch points like emails that hit on special occasions like Birthdays, Anniversaries, Marriages, and Births. With the ability to send these highly targeted and relevant mailings, Wartburg continually experiences excellent delivery, open, and click-thru rates on their mailings. For example, Alumni emails targeted by academic major typically see open rates between 40-50% and click-thru rates between 60-70%.
  • Video thank donors complimented their direct mail piece and their phonathon program. And sent compelling message
  • Quote to echo what we talked about so far…. So now that we’ve covered the 2 areas to think about when formulating your strategy and looked at some examples from real clients --- you’re all ready to go back and implement email into your marketing mix – but what exactly do you do to get it right? – well of course we have the answer for that!! Real quick we’ll run thru the top 10 tips to keep in mind for success.
  • This is important because if you are integrating your messaging across channels you want to make sure that you are doing a good job of balancing the recency and frequency of messages across all of the channels. You want to avoid sending too many messgaes and risk annoying your subscribers – but you want to send enough to stay in the forefront of peoples minds. This also can give you a good picture of how you messaging is targeted across all the different channels and can help you create balance to make sure you are targeting the proper channels. So in the calendar – this can be even a simple excel list - that lists out all of the communication pieces over every channel, that your audience will be receiving. Then Put an internal process in place that before sending an email, staff members need to consult the communications calendar.
  • This is important for a few reasons – when you are first getting subscribers you want to be able to collect information and preferences in the beginning do you can target your email programs to them appropriately. Also you want to set expectations about things like content and frequency right from the start – that way there are no surprises. Just make sure that you actually deliver on any promises you make in the sign up process. In the example on screen they list out the different options and have details. Then include a link to the form everywhere – on your website, all of your emails, social pages everywhere. I just had a client that increase there subsciberbase by 5,000 people in under a year by cross promoting their newsletter on their webpage and social sites/
  • As with all forms of marketing Branding is so important in email marketing. With email once your email is opened you generally have about 3 seconds for some to get who you are and what is in your message – what you want them to do or what value is in it for them So make sure to maintain your schools branding in your email as well. Also, you want to bring that branding into your from address and subject line as well. People often times are receiving 100’s of emails a day and when they are scanning their inboxes they are looking for either email that is clearly spam or opt in email the they trust and want. So you obviously want yours to fall into that trusted and wanted category – so therefore use you schools name in the from address and again in the subject line.
  • First – don’t always just email people when you want something! You need to have a two sided relationship with people just like in real life relationships. So in addition to things like appeals – also make sure you are delivering content that is of value to them as well. Also make sure that you are delivering relevant, personalized content to your readers. Now when I say personalization I don’t just mean first name – true personalization is delivering content that is tailored to their interests and most relevant to them. So segment and target your messages wherever possible – things like major, reunion year, professors etc. This is when you are going to see the greatest results – one higher ed client – Wartburg college targeted email to alumni based on major and sees open rates of 50 -60% which is truly extrodinary.
  • Remember the more touchpoints a person is a part of from your school the more engaged they are likely to be. Use your email to promote other ways to connect online – you can use email to communicate the value they will get out of being a member of the social sites – and also you can influence what they go to the social sites for and how they use the social sites. Use your enewsletters as way to highlight things like the online alumni community – you can highlight important discussions that are taking place, or new alums, or athletics as a way to reinforce the value of the communities. Also 90% activity within first 72 hours – keep the conversation going
  • This is a big one – because if someone shares your message with their network, they are sharing that with their entire network – this can make you visible to people you might not have reached otherwise. Also, come right out and ask people to share your email. Now having a successful sharing program isn’t just about having sharing links on your email and that’s it – you need to have valuable content that people want to share in order for them to take action. Informz has a social sharing feature – Track who is sharing what and on what sites – valuable info on what sites you should be on.
  • Surveys are great because it allows you to gain feedback from your audience directly. Also if it is clear you are making changes based upon feedback that they have provided that can demonstrate your commitment to them. Also links to things like surveys in your email – make your email interactive and also can increase engagement.
  • This is a big one – you want to be aware of who on your list isn’t engaged in your emails. This is important for 2 reasons. One obviously the more engaged people are with your emails the better results you are going to see. But also, now engagement in your emails is going to have an impact on your delivery. ISP’s – so that’s going to be personal email addresses – which is going to be a lot of people on your lists. So Isp’s are going to start to look at things like open and click thru rates in determining whether your email get delivered or not. So what you will want to do is identify who those inactive recipients are and then segment them out and target them with special messaging. Try using messaging like don’t miss out on our news up dates – click here to stay in the know. Then you can have it link to a form where you could give them the option to update their communication preferences. Then if someone doesn’t actively opt to stay involved you should remove them from the list – so you don’t impact your delivery rates and be more successful.
  • Test, test test! When I say testing is important I mean test 2 ways. First in terms of your effectiveness you want to routinely try testing different things to see what works best for your audience. Try testing out different types of subject lines and the different length of subject lines. Also try testing things like messaging and link placement – this is going to make you aware of the strategies that work best for your audience. Also, you want to make sure that you are testing the rendering of your email to make sure that it renders the way in which you intend. All email programs render HTML code differently, as well as now so many people are viewing things over mobile devices so you need to make sure that your email comes across correctly. We have a great tool in informz called the Virtual Inbox where you can test the rendering of your email against the most popular email programs AND mobile devices. Another big one is images – be aware that many email programs have images disabled by default – so if you’re using lots of images or one big image – and someone can’t see your images they could just immediately delete your email (Another thing that can impact your delivery!)
  • Now Analyzing – this goes hand in hand with your testing. In email marketing – and with your marketing programs – you want to try things out – analyze your results – implement what works – and then repeat! It is a cycle. You should also be watching things like your open and click thru rates on an ongoing basis. Not only does this help to determine your success – but also it will help you identify things like which items are most of interest to people – and also how your viral marketing is – so who is forwarding your emails and sharing with their networks – and where most people are sharing. This can help clue you into what sites are most popular with your audience.
  • Email Marketing Strategy for Higher Education

    1. 1. Email Marketing Strategy for Higher Education Presenter: Lori Ely Informz
    2. 2. Title <ul><li>Bullet 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Bullet 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Bullet 3 </li></ul>
    3. 3. There’s Email and There’s Email Marketing…
    4. 4. Your Strategy <ul><li>Integrate your marketing communications strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>Target the right person with the right message, at the right time. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Integrating your Communication Strategy <ul><li>Use all of the channels available to you to create awareness and extend the reach of your messages. Use each channel to enhance and compliment each other. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Email as the channel driver <ul><li>Admissions - Website - Social media pages - View books - Online applications - Open houses - Campus visits </li></ul>
    7. 7. Email as the channel driver <ul><li>Advancement - Online giving site - Matching gift pages - Phonathon - Direct mail follow up - Events - Targeted landing pages - Social media pages </li></ul>
    8. 8. Email as the channel driver <ul><li>Alumni Relations - Online alumni community - Social media pages - Alumni surveys - Update information - Regional events - Reunion/homecoming </li></ul>
    9. 9. Email as the channel driver <ul><li>Current Students - On-campus events - Social media pages - Surveys/evaluations </li></ul>
    10. 10. Email as the channel driver <ul><li>Parents and Friends - Events - Targeted landing pages - Website </li></ul>
    11. 11. Target the right person with the right message, at the right time <ul><li>Targeting the right person… </li></ul>
    12. 12. Target the right person with the right message, at the right time <ul><li>Sending the right message… </li></ul>
    13. 13. Target the right person with the right message, at the right time <ul><li>Sending at the right time… </li></ul>
    14. 14. Client Success Story Wartburg College <ul><li>Sending highly targeted, relevant messages. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Client Success Story Wartburg College <ul><li>Integrating their messaging across channels. </li></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>“ Email has become an integral part of our marketing mix, and we have experienced many benefits by using it. We utilize Informz e-marketing, event registration, and surveys for nearly everything we do in our office resulting in an excellent return on investment. More than anything, it has allowed us to communicate much more frequently, and easily, with our constituents, which has been extremely valuable.” </li></ul><ul><li>Jeff Beck, Director of Alumni and Parent Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Wartburg College </li></ul>
    17. 17. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #1: Create a Communications Calendar. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #2: Have a Strong Subscription/Preference Form. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #3: Carry your School’s Branding into your Email Design, the From Address and the Subject Line. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #4: When Creating your Content Remember its All About the Reader! </li></ul>
    21. 21. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #5: Promote your Other Marketing Channels. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #6: Make it Easy for People to Spread the Word about your School and Share your Message. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #7: Use Surveys to Gain Feedback. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #8: Be Aware of your Inactives and Don’t Neglect Them. </li></ul>
    25. 25. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #9: Test, Test, Test! </li></ul>
    26. 26. Top 10 Tips for Email Marketing Success <ul><li>Tip #10: Analyze your Results. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Thank you for joining us! <ul><li>Questions? Ready for more information? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> Connect with us online: </li></ul>