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4 Email Campaign Tips For Universities Encouraging Students To Enrol

11 July 2022
by Nick Washbourne

As several school leavers prepare for their next steps into higher education, there has never been a better time to ensure your marketing communications are working as hard as possible, so you can interact effectively with your future enrolees.

With university applications submitted, many students will either be currently finishing their final exams or awaiting their A-Levels results on 18 August, before officially confirming where they’ll be headed in September 2022.

So, ahead of enrolment, for learners who are still unsure as to their final first choice or those going through Clearing, universities must be savvy with their marketing collateral. For example, which channel is a student’s preferred method of communication, how often should they be contacted, and with what message?

Our first email campaign tip concerns content. Not only is it one of the most effective ways to kickstart a conversation with a recipient, but it’s also extremely low-cost. Additionally, when you’ve got thousands of students – and sometimes more – to engage with over a short amount of time (before your competitors do), your marketing strategy must deliver without bursting the budget.

As you prepare to welcome your 2022 cohort, here are 4 email campaign tips to ensure your next campaign encourages students to enrol…

1. Segment Your Audience Based On Their Of-The-Moment Interactions

There are various ways to group contacts depending on their levels of engagement. If you’re utilising marketing automation as well, this is the perfect way to delve into granular detail to better understand critical detail such as:

  • When did this individual last interact with my marketing message?

  • What frequency of email sends do they respond well to?

  • What type of content can we tailor so it’s relevant?

For example, if their last open rate was only a few days ago and they further interacted with your comms – such as clicking through a blog link or downloading a guide – then explore their levels of engagement via two or three weekly emails to keep communication live. Those who are more passive to your message, keep delivery to once a week.

An email campaign tip to remember – every single recipient’s of-the-moment interests evolve on a daily basis and so they’ll often move from segment to segment. that soon becomes an impossible task if you’re doing this manually – because you’ll never keep up with knowing exactly what type of email marketing content each person wants to read, or the relevant group they should be in.

Utilising real-time insight from your martech solution allows you to build up a more complete picture in relation to their interactions and preferences, so you can send tailored content accordingly. Learn more about email marketing segmentation here.

2. Personalise Every Marketing Message

Leading on nicely from segmentation, you should be starting to understand what your contacts want to receive from you based on your marketing automation data.

Now’s the time to use that information to your advantage through personalisation – and that doesn’t mean starting your email with ‘Hi [firstname]’.

Personalisation is about sending the right message to the right person, at the right time.

Using data collated from each segment, your marketing emails should be full of relevant copy that’s suited to each recipient. An intuitive automation platform will help you do this in minutes too, as well as take care of the delivery and allow you to create dynamic content so everything is hyper-individualised.

Here’s an example…

Prospective student Paul has opened your email and clicked on your website blog that introduces everything about the ‘campus life’ he could experience at your university. He’s spent time consuming the copy, and maybe even tapped through to relevant comms with UTM tracking links.

What would your next steps be? We’d suggest following-up with an email containing something he’s clearly interested in and where you can add more value. For example, this could be further detail about sports clubs or societies to join or the best bars and restaurants close-by that he can enjoy on a student budget.

Responding to his of-the-moment interests makes Paul feel understood and that you’re catering to his needs. You’re also helping him to visualise his future at your university and the student experience he could enjoy.

Plus, engaging in this way means you avoid the dreaded ‘batch and blast’ method that is irrelevant and outdated!

3. Nurture Your Future Students – Don’t Leave Them Feeling Cold

On average, it takes 6 emails before a recipient is engaged in what you have to say. So, don’t ‘call it quits’ after one send because they’ve not interacted – take them on an online journey so they don’t forget you.

In line with the number of touchpoints it takes to get someone’s attention, when encouraging a student to join your university, here’s a relevant 6-step framework you can use…

  • Introduction: Tell them a little bit about your university and why students should care

  • Social proof: Evidence your results – alumni testimonials and case studies are perfect for this

  • Gain: Cover the reasons why students should invest their future in your university

  • Fear: Play on the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) and social exclusion concerns. Answer why your offer is something they can’t ignore

  • Logic: Sum up why it makes sense to join your university

  • Urgency: Make it simple – if they don’t secure their slot, someone else will. 

4. Avoid Vanity Metrics

Here’s a quick email marketing tip to begin… every content campaign must have its own KPIs and measures so you can effectively evaluate your recent send’s engagement rate.

While open and click throughs are an immediate ‘go to’ for many marketers in terms of metrics, our advice is: Don’t solely rely on these results to determine the accuracy of your interaction level.

We’re not saying forget about them, but only refer to them where necessary. Why? Because they’re ‘vanity metrics’ that don’t tell the full story of a response to your email. For example, they could’ve clicked on the content by mistake, but it’ll still be marked as being opened.

If you’re not already, tap into your marketing automation platform’s lead scoring capabilities.

This metric is incredibly effective when helping you to prioritise your hottest leads over your cold prospects. By numbering each recipient based on their engagement level, this data offers a more accurate picture as to who you can further target with a more personalised touchpoint.

The above tips hopefully offer some ways to make your email marketing campaigns work harder – with very little additional effort. You shouldn’t solely focus on increasing your enrolment figures either, it’s about continuing to improve the student experience and a lot of the legwork can be doing via engaging, hyper-relevant comms.

Finally, always think about how you can offer more ‘free’ value to your recipient. You should include critical information about your site throughout your email content – from providing detail about clubs and courses to offering virtual tours of your site. And ensure your call to action button to enrol is accessible for all.

Want to enrol more students via your next email marketing campaign? Book a demo of our marketing automation platform Force24 today. Alternatively, call: 0845 272 5990 or email info@force24.co.uk for more details.

Photo of Nick Washbourne
Nick Washbourne
Commercial Director

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