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How universities can go beyond the newsletter with email marketing

University marketers face a unique challenge: how to reach a wide range of audiences (students, parents, alumni, faculty, donors, etc.) in different departments with different messages – all under the unified brand of the school.

It sounds like the toughest marketing final exam ever, right? But with smart email marketing, it’s a test university marketers can ace. Here are 6 ways they can go beyond the standard newsletter to get their message out.

1. Boost fundraising

An email campaign is a great way to rally donors to meet fundraising goals. Schools like Brandeis University have had success tying email fundraising campaigns to a compelling story that connects alumni back to their time at campus. 

Spice up the fundraising ask and bring back those fond alumni memories by adding a video to your email packed with footage of your school. Adding video to email can boost clickthrough rates by 300%, so it increases the chances that subscibers will reach that all-important donation landing page.

Brandeis University used email storytelling and gamification to reach its fundraising goals.

2. Remind alums of your social channels

Email marketing and social media go hand-in-hand. Include links to your social channels in your emails and remind your subscribers to follow along for all the latest news and updates. Once folks are following, be sure to reward them with engaging content and announcements that keep them connected to the school.

It also works the other way around. Use your social channels to regularly post the link to your email signup form, tease email content and share entire emails to encourage more folks to join your list.

3. Put parents at ease

Sending their baby boy or girl off to college is tough for parents, especially when they’re relying on information from their kid who is too focused on academics, and ahem, extracurriculars to call dear old mom and dad (just me?). Help relax parents by sending regular emails of campus news and invitations to events that their children may have “forgotten” to mention.

Vanderbilt University uses email to alert parents, students and alumni of upcoming events.

4. Onboard new hires

An automated email series is a perfect way to welcome new hires to campus – and save a little time in the process. Just set it up once, and then it does the work for you of providing each new employee with the info they need to ensure a smooth, comfortable transition into their new role.

Need help setting it up? Let one of our concierge specialists take care of it for you with our Welcome Automation Smarts service package. 

5. Follow up with applicants (they’ll be checking email obsessively)

Waiting to hear if you got into college is a super-stressful time for anyone, so calm your applicants' nerves by keeping them informed every step along the way. Handy segmentation tools make it easy to separate your wait-listers from your accepted first-years to make sure you're getting the right message to the right group.

6. Connect with your fans

Though a lot of students move away after college, their fandom and pride and stay with them. Help them be a part of all the action with ticket announcements, game schedules, pep rallies, tailgates and other events to inspire them to come back and catch a game.

The University of South Carolina keeps fans in the loop with all the latest Gamecock news.

What are some other ways colleges and universities are using email marketing? Let's hear it in the comments.