500 Million Lessons Learned About Email Marketing

As part of any good enrollment marketing and recruitment plan, there are several platforms that are being utilized today. Digital Advertising was growing at a steady rate before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now it has grown exponentially. Even with some normalcy this fall, with institutions opening their doors to students for on-campus learning, digital marketing has moved to the forefront. Whether it is social media ads and posts, website enhancements or email, marketing to today’s GEN Z student has become more complex … especially email marketing.

Email has always been a less expensive way to identify students who may be interested in your institution. Colleges and universities purchase hundreds of thousands of prospective student names each year in hopes of driving more applications to then enroll them in the coming months and years.

Yes, I said years.

Institutions are building brand and message awareness earlier and earlier — as early as ninth grade in some instances. The top of the traditional enrollment funnel has been increasingly heavy … as institutions fight for enrollment every year. But traditional email has failed to evolve to address the needs and wants of Gen Z.

According to a recent study by NAPCO Research:

  • 65% of Gen Z indicate email is their preferred method to receive communications.
  • 60% of Gen Z feel that email communications are more personalized than other channels.
  • 58% of Gen Z students check their email more than once a day.

Prospective students are checking their email, but is YOUR email finding its way to their inbox? Is it providing the right message? And providing that message when the student wants it? In most instances the answer is no. GEN Z, like the rest of us, have become accustomed to email drip campaigns or large blast emails that have little context and little meaning. That is why they end up in your spam folders. This also can damage your institutions ISP standing for personal 1:1 email if you are not careful. Does your counselor’s personal outreach go into the spam folder? Have you tested it lately?

Nearly two years ago, Capture Higher Ed noticed that email algorithms were changing. The results that we had seen for more than a decade were different and we needed to find a way to be better for our partners. We brought industry experts together (marketers, data scientists, our partners, and our expert strategists) to build a better email system. In addition, we studied our very own 500 million email sends we’ve done on behalf of our partner institutions. Our goal was to both ensure deliverability but also provide that personalized, dynamic experience that prospective students should demand from their prospective institutions.

This was the birth of the Behavioral Email Series, powered by the industry’s only Behavior Intelligence Platform. Data driven content delivered in a dynamic fashion based upon the prospective student’s behavior when the student wanted it.

I recently hosted a webinar with my colleague Dr. Ken Sigler, a senior enrollment advisor at Capture, in which we discussed the evolution of email, the creation of the Behavioral Email Series, and how it is an important piece of your marketing and recruitment strategic plan.

If you missed the webinar, here is a link for you to enjoy.

By Chris Harris, Senior Enrollment Strategist, Capture Higher Ed