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Running a successful e-mail campaign for Educational Institutions

20 Dec

I had a very small stint with SPJain Institute’s BCIDS program and being directly responsible for the online marketing activities, there were a lot of observation. During my discussions with my ex-college alumni team Jaipuria Institute of Management, one of the professors suggested that I should be sharing my learning points through my blog so this post.

We achieved a great response through our online social media and other ATL, BTL, offline activities. Here I am sharing some key points for running a successful e-mail campaign for educational institutions.

As a part of direct marketing, electronic mails are used as a means of communication for commercial or fund-raising messages to an audience. Every e-mail sent to a potential or current customer could be considered e-mail marketing. This would include:

  1. Sending e-mails to strengthen relationship with existing customers of existing product/service, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business
  2. Sending e-mails with to acquire new customers or convincing current customers to purchase a newly launched product/service.
  3. Adding advertisements to e-mails sent by other companies to their customers, and
  4. Sending e-mails over the Internet, as e-mail did and does exist outside the Internet (e.g., network e-mail and FIDO).

If we take the above and extrapolate over the educational institutions it can be rewritten as:

  1. Sending mails to the alumni and existing students who have already experienced the teaching standards and hence can act as:
    1. the ambassadors to spread the word about the institute
    2. generate further job opportunities(in case of alumnis who can absorb the current and future students in their current organisations)
    3. Advice on improvisation of the existing system-alumni feedback to improve employability and existing student feedback based on the job interviews to assess their market readiness.
  2. Sending e-mails to new students-tapping unexplored markets and running an email campaign to attract them by citing the placement status for the current and previous batches and the companies in the pipeline which are expected to come in the near future.
  3. Tie up with sister concers of your organisation and advertise your features in their outbound mails eg. you can append at the bottom of each outgoing mail the latest on admissions/placement and add a link to your website/facebook/twitter/blog for them to follow.
  4. Any internal communication to your employees/students within your private network too should have campaigns appended at the bottom.

The points to be kept in mind before starting an email campaign is:

  1. Spam check your mail address. A good ESP(Email service provider) can ensure that you could pass through all the spam filters and land in the inbox.
  2. The mail should have an impactful subject line which says it all. In just limited subject line one should aim at generating inquisitiveness about the content presented inside the mail. Not all readers open these sort of marketing emails. Hence it is extremely important to attract the attention through the subject line itself. The worst thing woul dbe that you get into the inbox but never got opened.
  3. Content:-The basic underlining factor to be remembered for any social media marketing system is to ‘create conversations’. Hence the content is the most important aspect. Whether the campaign aims at consolidating on the existing student base or aimed at tapping a newer prospect, the content should be brief and to the point and not beat around the bush for long. e.g. If it is aimed at the alumnus, there should be a touch of emotions to revive and rekindle the memorable times they spent at the campus and not only aim at generating job opportunities for the batches being churned out, but also seeking advice on the ways to imporvise upon the processess to create employable, market ready students. If the mail is aimed at new students, it should have information on the past and current placement scenario, reviews of students and industry experts on the past and existing batches and the teaching standards.
  4. Create content in both HTML and text formats as some would not have the HTML capability in their email softwares.
  5. Social Media Links- Links to website, facebook groups and fanpages, twitter account, student and campus blogs and any other important link should be put multiple times as it will help increase the click through rate from your message. According to socialbakers.com the facebook statistics in India shows that the majority of its Indian users come under the 18-24 age bracket which is around 47%. And since this is the target group of the Higher Education institutes, they should ensure that there is relevant content available on these pages where the links are pointing.
  6. Mailing list is also very crucial. Profiling of the target audience based on their age, courses interested, preferred centres (if you are running the course at multiple locations) can be done by a good ESP and the e-mails content, subject line and other information can be sent modified based on these informations.
  7. Trial run-Test the mail campaign on 10% of your target group with 2-3 different subject lines/images/content/anything of your choice and gather the reviews . Within 24-48 hrs you will get to know which subject line got majority open rate. The remaining 90% can be sent the most successful e-mail.There are two very important things to be kept in mind at this point in time.
    1. What was the conversion rate? Were there any inquiries?What was the difference between those who came on the basis of email campaign and otherwise(your control group to whom you did not send anything)?
    2. Ensure that you take an opt-in form that takes permission from the receiver before the campaign starts. This is essential for the reason that it doesn’t upset those people who have not requested for the information and also that in some countries there are laws regarding sending unwarranted emails to addresses and not doing opt-ins is breaking the law. Double opt-ins can protect you from being accused of spamming. Keep the option “signup for newsletters/latest information” in your Facebook,websites, blogs etc for the mail list to be segregated into 2 different categories for the ease of prioritizing your mailing list.

Researchers estimate that United States firms alone spent US $400 million on e-mail marketing in 2006.

By following the above mentioned tips you can be sure to get the needed response. Never forget to take stock of things at every step.

I will always help. All the best!

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Posted by on December 20, 2010 in Education, Review, Technology

 

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