Ever feel like your students are ignoring your Career Center’s emails?
If you want students to open your emails (AND to actually read them!), make sure you follow these 5 email marketing best-practices:
1. Segment your database. Unlike many businesses that lack extensive data on their email subscriber list, you have an advantage in a Career Center because your school probably already has a lot of data on the people you serve. You don’t need 172 different categories for your students, but you do need to classify them into different categories. Put yourself in a student’s shoes for a second. Wouldn’t you be more likely to open and read an email that looked like it was just for you, instead of a message that was clearly email-blasted to the entire student population? Here are 3 areas to consider for segmentation:
- Class year: For example, seniors should be receiving different messages from the Career Center than freshmen.
- Major: For example, history majors should be receiving different messages from the Career Center than business majors.
- Prior participation: For example, a senior who has visited your office 4 times should be receiving different messages from the Career Center than a senior who has never visited your office. Treat existing customers different than potential customers.
2. Use intriguing subject lines. Great subject lines lead to much better open rates for email marketing campaigns. For example, one of my colleagues sends an email every single week titled “Leadership tips from _____.” (I removed her name.) She never changes the subject line. Guess what I do every time I get one of her emails? I hit “delete” before opening the message. If she changed the subject line and used something short and catchy that seemed relevant to me, I would probably open her emails, especially since I respect her work. However, since she is not capturing my interest in the subject line, I have never opened one of her emails! Do NOT use the same subject line for your weekly e-newsletter (i.e. “Career Center Newsletter”). Be creative! Give students a good reason to open your email or they won’t.
3. Address emails to the person’s first name. Nearly every email provider allows you to automatically address your emails to the reader’s first name. People realize that they are not the only person receiving the email, but they are more likely to keep reading when they feel like the email was just sent to them.
4. Keep it short. Some marketers will tell you that your e-newsletter should be jam-packed with information and multiple articles. I completely disagree. The e-newsletters I read are those that are short and sweet. The emails I delete or unsubscribe from are usually those that inundate me with too much information at one time. The side benefit of keeping it short and sweet? It takes less time for you to create the email in the first place.
5. Always end with a call-to-action. If you send an e-newsletter with 7 different articles, details on 9 upcoming events, and links to 4 different social media sites your students should be following, you will overwhelm your students and lose their attention. Make it clear what you want students to do next. If people are confused about what to do next, they will do nothing. You should only have one objective for each email you send. This is another reason why you should keep your emails short and sweet.