Email Marketing for the Student Journey
When it comes to maximising your enrolments, understanding how to interact with prospective students during the first phase of the student journey (Marketing and Recruitment) is essential.
During this phase, the student is actively seeking information on courses to make an informed decision. Side by side comparison is a big part of this, and students are not necessarily only comparing the actual course or the cost. Countless other factors come into play. You may very well have the best course at the best price, but if you lack a well thought out follow up strategy, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on enrolments.
Even if someone lands on YOUR site and expresses interest in YOUR courses, it’s the next part that’s going to determine if they become a student of yours or not. This is where email marketing comes in, allowing you to set yourself apart from your competitors by providing a seamless user experience.
Below we take a look at 5 elements that every successful email marketing follow up strategy should include:
Timing is Everything
Send instantly. When a user fills out a form on your site, expressing interest in one of your courses, the last thing you want to do is keep them waiting. Set up a triggered welcome email that is sent right away. In doing so, you’ll keep them engaged and with your brand front of mind. Think about it, when you fill out a form or make a purchase online, you expect to receive an email instantly acknowledging your request. So, when you send to your prospective students instantly, you’re merely meeting expectations. The content of your email and any subsequent interactions will determine if you exceed expectations.
Higher Open Rates for Triggered emails when compared to standard emails
In the first email you send to prospective students, let them know what they can expect next. This is the time where it’s up to you to make a positive first impression and set out some expectations for all future interactions. If the next step is a call, let them know that. Better yet, let them know when they’ll be contacted and who will be contacting them. Or if you want to improve the user experience even further, give them the option to select when they receive a call. You’re essentially giving all future interactions the best chance of success. By implementing this simple strategy, your contact rates will likely increase and so will the overall quality of the conversations you’ll have with your prospective students. Below is an example of a welcome email that clearly sets out some expectations.
Keep it Personal
Talk to the individual, not to everyone else. Email marketing is all about sending the right message at the right time. If you’re not keeping it personal in your follow up emails, you’re not providing value. If you’re not providing value, the prospective student will simply look elsewhere.
Some simple ways to increase the level of personalisation in your emails include:
Personalised emails deliver 6X higher transaction rates
Don’t Over Do It
Frequency can make or break your email marketing campaigns. While it’s important to keep following up with your prospects in regular intervals, as a general rule, you should avoid sending too often. However, every business is different, so it’s important to test and find a sending frequency that achieves optimum results. To determine if a certain frequency is effective, look at changes in open rates, click-through rates, conversions and unsubscribes. If you notice increases in the first three metrics and a decrease in the last metric, you’ll know you’re on the right path.
Test, Test and Test Some More
When it comes to getting the most out of your current email marketing initiatives, it’s important to get into a habit of testing everything. No test is too small, as even a seemingly minor change can have a major impact. It might just be a slight variation in the wording of your email copy or a minor adjustment to the layout that can significantly impact your results.
It’s also imperative to know what metrics to look at when evaluating the results of an A/B test. It’s standard practice for the A/B Testing tool of your Email Service Provider (ESP) to evaluate results based solely on either Open Rates or Click-through rates. While in most cases, these metrics are good indicators of performance, they don’t always tell the full story. This is why it’s essential for email marketers to look deeper and consider other metrics like Conversion Rate.
To illustrate this point, say you’re testing two subject lines. Subject line A achieves an open rate of 20% and Subject line B achieves an open rate of 18%. On the surface, subject line A is the clear winner. But what if you look at conversion rate too? You may find that subject line B was, in fact, the better performer by generating significantly more transactions. This could indicate that subject line A was a bit misleading and didn’t fit well with the content of the email. While this is an example for illustrative purposes only, it highlights the importance of looking beyond opens and clicks when evaluating any test.
An email sent without a test is a wasted opportunity to learn
There are so many things to consider when it comes to designing your email marketing follow up strategy, so it’s important to start simple and then gradually build it up to something more complex.
At a fundamental level, your strategy should be built around anticipating the needs of your end user and exceeding their expectations.
When done well, email marketing can drive significant revenue and build long-term relationships with your customers.