University Marketing: How to use email to generate new tuition

 

Meet Midori Maloney. 

You know that circus performer who somehow finds a way to keep a dozen precariously spinning plates balanced on tall, skinny poles? That’s Midori. As the graduate studies marketing coordinator (and recruiter… and event planner… and budget analyst…and assistant to the graduate dean) for The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Midori is a one-woman powerhouse when it comes to balancing a
busy schedule and keeping all of her plates spinning.

The problem: Too many emails... only one Midori

Despite her superhuman efficiency, Midori had serious trouble keeping up with the number of student inquiries her department was receiving on a day-to-day basis. “I would email each student individually,” she explained, “so it was really difficult for me to keep up with all the inquiries. I’d get constant notifications from the Webmaster saying, ‘Here’s this inquiry, here’s this one,’ and so on. It was pretty overwhelming.”

The solution: Responding to student inquiries through smart automation

Her simple fix? Automation. After turning to Emma, Midori was able to set up an automated workflow that helps her department establish and maintain contact with potential grad students. "I'm just one of me, so automation has made my job so much easier. Now I just take all those inquiries and add them to our workflow. It does all the heavy lifting for me!"

Prospective students receive an email from Midori as soon as they fill out a form inquiry on the UAH website. “First, they get an immediate response that says we’ve received your inquiry — stay tuned for an actual message from me."

Prospective students receive an email from Midori as soon as they fill out a form inquiry on the UAH website

The next email serves as the official response email.  “It essentially says, 'I noticed you’ve inquired, how can I help you?' I want it to sound as personable as possible — that’s the goal of all of my email campaigns, to keep them really personalized so that students always feel comfortable reaching out to me."

About two weeks later, students receive a follow-up email that checks up on how their application process is going. “This email is crucial, because it sometimes catches students who I’ve told to contact so-and-so, but who may have never gotten a response from them. That way I’m able to confirm that every student gets the attention they need."   

 About two weeks later, students receive a follow-up email that checks up on how their application process is going.

The results: A more personal connection means more applications

People often associate automation with cold, generic messages — but for Midori, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. By using an automated workflow, she's able to send a warm welcome to everyone who inquires about the graduate program and ensure that no student slips through the cracks. “I want to be a liaison for students because navigating the university process alone isn’t easy. And once they enroll, I’m taking them from application to matriculation to graduation, so it’s important to establish a good relationship as early as possible.”

Midori maintains that same approachable feel every time she crafts an email. “I try and achieve something along the lines of, 'You knocked — how can I help?’"

And keeping things personable really works — just check out these numbers!

Midori’s automated "Website Inquiry" workflow has sustained an impressive rate of 61.8% opens and 21.5% clicks.

19% of the potential students who inquired went on to apply.
61% of those who applied actually enrolled!
Fees generated from those applications: ~$5500
Tuition generated from enrollments of those who applied: ~$227,000

Automated email campaigns for university marketers

With Midori’s automation efforts, she experienced outstanding results in terms of overall engagement r and conversion rates. By establishing an automated email workflow with multiple touchpoints, she was able to better streamline her marketing strategy to ensure applications weren’t lost in the shuffle. In fact, this university marketer's email campaign generated $227,000 in new tuition. Those numbers are amazing.

Email automation allows marketers to send marketing campaigns without wasting valuable resources and time. Even with large distribution lists, automation makes it possible to send out personalized emails so your subscribers feel like they’re more than just a name. 

What’s even better is that automated emails typically receive a 199% higher click rate than traditional emails—which means you can deliver the right email, to the right person, at the right time. 

If you want to start sending automated emails, first, you need to consider a few elements:

  • Determine your goals: You will need to determine what defines success. Email opens? Responses? Applications? Enrollments?

  • Develop the customer journey: Develop each of the touchpoints your subscriber will go through, and the next steps, before completing your goal.

  • Segment email lists: Your subscribers need to be segmented into different lists based on location, scholarship, gender, and more to ensure your contacts receive content that is relevant to them.

Now that you understand the value of automated emails, you may be wondering how can other universities capitalize on email automation? Let’s take a look at two different automation email workflows that you can start using today to generate more tuition for your university. 

Welcome email

Similar to Midori’s workflow, the welcome email is an essential part of any automated series and can help you set the expectation of what your new subscribers will receive from you. Welcome emails typically introduce your subscribers to your university’s values and culture, along with actionable CTA’s to find out more information or fill out an application. 

Similar to Midori’s workflow, the welcome email is an essential part of any automated series and can help you set the expectation of what your new subscribers will receive from you

Source: Really Good Emails

Design Institute of Australia took a unique approach to their welcome email and utilized it as a newsletter. This way, new subscribers immediately know what’s going on in campus and how the president communicates with the university.

Lead nurturing email

After someone signs up for your email list, you have many chances to earn their loyalty while they consider if your university is the right fit. Lead nurturing keeps them engaged with your content and continues to influence their decision over the course of a few weeks or even months. 

Lead nurturing emails can range from discussing school culture or events, community involvement, student testimonials, and more. 

Lead nurturing emails can range from discussing school culture or events, community involvement, student testimonials, and more.

Source: Really Good Emails

Take this example from Arizona State, which is actually targeted to the student’s parents. This email does a nice job at discussing all the financial questions they may have, which will keep the university top of mind as a school that educates families before signing their name on the dotted line.

Wrap Up

When asked what Midori would tell other university marketers about Emma, she pointed to these three things:

1. Customer service. Emma has a fantastic, responsive and dedicated staff of customer service and support professionals.

2. Simplicity. You don’t have to be an email marketing pro to get great results with Emma.

3. Resources. For many universities, it’s difficult to find funding for professional development. Because of this, Midori often turns to Emma: “I use you guys as an example of how to market and as a resource to learn more about email marketing. Your webinars and the materials you provide have been really useful for our department.”

Using Midori as inspiration, you should be ready to start implementing automated emails into your strategy to boost tuition. The next step is developing powerful content that your subscribers want to read, and eventually, hit ‘Apply Now’. Check out our resource for 7 tools to help improve your email design.

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. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It's email marketing that works for you.

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