5 best educational email templates for higher ed

Did you know that more than 75% of high school students prefer using email to learn more about their potential schools? 

Email remains a powerhouse marketing channel and is one of the best ways to market to a younger audience. Email marketing is also ideal for growing and maintaining connections with alumni, faculty, and staff. About 85% of adults in the U.S. read and send emails daily.

Do you create and execute email campaigns for higher education establishments? More than 55% of marketers like you work with a small team of five or fewer. Digital marketing can be difficult to navigate solo or with a skeleton crew. 

If you’re learning as you go, or don’t have an extensive background in email marketing, don’t worry. We’re here to help you get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns. 

The secret is finding—or crafting—the best educational email templates. 

What types of educational email templates are best for college and university marketing?

As a school marketer, your subscriber base is likely diverse. You have potential and current students, alumni of all ages, faculty and other academics, and more. How do you reach them all at the same level of intensity?

The answer lies in segmenting your email list. You don’t want to send messages that aren’t interesting or useful to their recipients. 

Below are some of the best educational email templates that illustrate how easy it is to efficiently service every subscriber demographic. 

Here’s the best part: Each of the following examples is an Emma custom template. You won’t have to look far to find tools to help you grow as a marketer.

1. The scouting or initial contact email

Potential students will fill out inquiry forms or submit their email addresses through your school’s website. Often, it’s an email marketer’s task to highlight the school’s advantages and get these prospects on the path to enrollment. 

Feeling overwhelmed? You don’t need to reply to each person separately. Use email automation to send messages triggered by the inquiring process.

Feeling overwhelmed? You don’t need to reply to each person separately. Use email automation to send messages triggered by the inquiring process.

Source: Pinterest

These emails should contain reasons to choose your school over others. If you have new facilities or courses, you can link to writeups about them. You can also include video testimonials from alumni or profiles of notable faculty members. 

You should make it easy for your email recipient to imagine what it would be like as a student at your school. Consider adding a way to schedule campus tours. Encourage more questions or link to an FAQ page.

2. The onboarding email for new enrollees

Make freshmen and other new students feel right at home by sending an email to mark their first day of school.

This is technically not a welcome email for everyone—only for those that went through applications and admissions without subscribing to your email list. However, the essence is the same: It should be an introduction and the beginning of a relationship with your subscriber.

Also think of automating this. After all, welcome emails can encourage over 30% more long-term engagement. This type of email can also boost marketing metrics, as it significantly pulls up both open rates and click-through rates.

University of Utah email example

Source: Pinterest

It’s essential that your subscribers feel a real connection when reading these emails. Consider adding a signed personal note from a school authority figure. Emphasize important dates and deadlines. Add reminders and practical information to make settling into student life hassle-free.

3. The current campus events email

This type of email can be a regular occurrence or an occasional announcement. Larger institutions may benefit from weekly newsletters, whereas smaller schools may run email campaigns when needed or choose to run newsletters on a monthly or quarterly schedule.

You can promote special events through separate campaigns or one-off invitations, too—especially if you want to run a contest for tickets or other perks.

Northwood University email example

Source: Pinterest

Email marketing should bolster anything that provides chances for community building and school spirit strengthening: Fundraisers, parties, school trips, and more. Your student newsletter can also include important news regarding universal campus life concerns like athletic events or financial aid.

For a jolt of energy and movement, you may play with using GIFs. And to break up blocks of text, you may use images in your email. Don’t forget to get permission if you’re adding student photos, especially if their faces are visible. 

4. The alumni relationship-building email

As graduation draws near, consider running a short campaign to ask new alumni for personal contact details. Most will not use their school emails beyond their campus life, and you will need to update your information accordingly.

Alumni play a huge role in an educational institution’s networking, promotional, and official partnership efforts. After enticing new enrollees, your most important task as a school marketer is to keep relationships with your alumni alive and thriving.

Elmhurst College email example

Source: Pinterest

Fundraising emails may be the most critical of alumni interactions to navigate, but they won’t be successful on their own. The long-term strategy is to lay down strong foundations that will keep former students connected to, and invested in, what happens to their alma mater.

A separate newsletter for alumni is a great way to keep them updated. Share news about current and former staff and faculty. Encourage school reunion attendance. You may also use regular campaigns to drum up interest in mentoring or internship-providing opportunities.

5. The internal communications email

Not all email campaigns are external for a school marketer. Some of your best educational email templates should support internal communications.

What’s the benefit of doing this? It may seem like an optional responsibility to take on for an email marketer.

Some institutions may have so few employees that they can simply talk to each other via direct or group email. Some may even use providers like Gmail or Yahoo because there’s no in-house email platform in place.

UC San Diego Email Example

Source: Pinterest

When you update faculty and staff through official email campaigns, your email marketing service can provide you with analytics and insights reporting. You’ll be able to see which subscribers have and have not read your messages. If the news or update is urgent, you’ll be able to send a personal follow-up.

Not all institutions will need this, but with a great email marketing platform, it’s not such an imposition to add internal communications to a digital marketer’s plate.

What are the desired elements of the best educational email templates?

When you work with pre-built templates, you may find that some customizations are beyond your control. You can either change templates or see if you can request a professional custom job.

How do you know if a template is good enough? Below are some things you should always be able to tweak and change.

  • Unmistakable branding: Your school’s logo and colors should be front-and-center. Subscribers should know that an email is from your institution at a glance. Put your school’s name in the sender field. The trustworthiness of your “from” name influences over 60% of your email open rate.

  • An irresistible subject line: If your email doesn’t get read, its effectiveness is at zero. Your subject lines should always be good enough to compel subscribers to click.

  • Succinct email copy: This can be hard to judge if you’re working with a newsletter template. It should never feel like you’re filling in sections of a template just because they’re empty. If you only have a set amount of information, find the best educational email templates to showcase what’s needed.

  • An obvious call-to-action (CTA): You need this in every marketing email, educational or not. The CTA is the point of your entire email. Tell your subscriber exactly what you need them to do in order to reach your marketing campaign goals.

  • Mobile-friendliness: Choose templates with a single column—if needed, small or optimized non-visual content. Small concessions like this will make sure your emails display on a mobile device with no issues.

These and more make up the best practices for email marketing in higher education. As with any type of marketing, performance metrics will confirm if you’re doing it right. With time and practice, it will be reflex for you to optimize educational emails for engagement.

Wrap up

Many school marketers work within a small team (or on their own). Maintaining an effective email strategy for an audience with varied needs and interests can be daunting, even for a longtime marketing professional. Consider using email templates to lighten your load and supercharge your process. 

Here are segments you can target effectively when using email templates: 

  • Prospective enrollees and applicants

  • New students needing onboarding information

  • The entire student population

  • Alumni of all ages, near and far

  • Faculty and staff

The best educational email templates will save you time and effort while helping you connect with your subscribers in a more solid and streamlined manner. 

Looking for tools to aid in your digital campaigns? Check out these email templates and sign up for your demo today.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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