Why automation is a must-have for university marketers

If you work in the university space, you know that email is a vital channel for fundraising, ticket sales, admissions—the list goes on. But so much email coming from so many departments can lead to chaos, communications overlap, and essential information getting lost in the mix.

That’s where automation comes in. It helps you stay organized, ensure no message slips through the cracks, and get all the right messages to all the right people. Don’t believe us? Here are a few examples of how smart email automation can help you hit your goals faster, campus-wide.



Let’s say a prospective student fills out a form on your website requesting more information about your university. It can be difficult to keep track of all those individual inquiries on your own... but using email automation, you can follow up with each and every prospective student in a timely manner. And despite what you might think, you don’t have to sacrifice the personal touch that comes with replying individually.

For instance, The University of Alabama in Huntsville sends every potential grad student who inquires a three-part automated welcome series. Each email is written by recruiter Midori Maloney, and recipients are invited to reach out to Midori directly by phone or email should they have any additional questions throughout the application process. Putting a face and a name to the experience helps keep things human – and it’s gotten huge results. The series averages a 61.8% open rate!

So many admissions departments have limited time and resources, so taking advantage of automation is a fantastic way to ensure you’re keeping applicants informed every step of the way and easing their all-too-frazzled nerves. (Let’s be real: You know they’ll be checking email obsessively.)




As anyone who’s interacted with them is abundantly aware, high school and college students are notorious procrastinators (no judgment… very few people savor filling out tedious online applications or writing 20-page thesis papers). So when an important deadline is coming up—to submit their FAFSA, for instance—they might need more than one reminder to stay on top of it.

These days, financial aid advisors can segment out all students currently going through the process of applying for financial aid and send them a few gentle, date-based automated reminders to submit their applications on time. Navigating the world of financial aid can be tricky stuff, so you might consider including a few handy tips or FAQ to help guide them through the process, too!



Few things bring back warm-and-fuzzies like reminiscing about the incredible time you had in college…. and appreciating how well your school set you up for success later in life. That’s why proud alumni are often happy to give back to their alma mater. But at the same time, you don’t ever want to come across as too pushy when you ask for their help.

Using branching logic, you can automate emails to fire off only to subscribers that show interest in making a donation to your school by opening or clicking your fundraising emails. That way, you can nurture interested alumni without irritating those who aren’t able to give right now. And the best part? Once you set it up, the branching logic will do all that sweet, sweet nurturing for you!




Getting students actively involved in campus activities is critical to ensuring they have the best college experience possible. But with so many things going on at once – especially during those first few weeks of school—it’s easy for an overwhelmed freshman to forget about the welcome weekend barbecue or that midnight movie in the quad.

An easy fix? Automate emails to remind them of all the cool things happening at your school. And better yet, you can use triggers like their browsing behavior on your website to send them reminders about only the events that interest them most.



Your teams have plenty of devoted fans, so to make sure they get the attention they deserve, turn to automation. You can automate emails to remind season ticket holders it’s almost time to buy and even offer them a discount for their loyalty.

Or, take some of the work out of your busiest season of the year by automating emails that will inform your audience each week about kickoff times, competitors, and “know before you go” information. It’ll save you a ton of time while you’re overloaded with other concerns, keep your fans happy, and produce some seriously winning results.



Have you checked out Emma for Universities, our email platform tailor-made for higher ed marketers? Get a free demo today


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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