Newsletter Guide For Higher Education
Email marketing is used extensively in different industries but it’s especially effective in a field of higher education. Email is not only cost-effective but also a convenient way to deliver targeted messages to students and employees. Newsletters can be used to send different information for various groups of your school. Higher education institutions can connect with current and future students as well as their staff members, improve onboarding experience, increase awareness and strengthen an image of their school. Email marketing requires a strategy starting from deciding which tools to use and finishing with what newsletters should be send.
In this guide we’ll cover following questions:
- Why does higher education need to send emails using a newsletter tool?
- Which newsletter tool to choose?
- What newsletters to send?
- How to send professional newsletters?
Why does higher education need to send emails using a newsletter tool?
Gen Z spends their time online 8+ hours a day. It is apparent that the easiest way to reach students is online. Email up to a current date is one of the most reliable and cost-effective ways of communication. According to a survey, 97% of students are willing to share their email addresses. For higher education it means that email is very efficient not only in terms of sharing information with current students, but also communicating with prospective students. In addition, email is a convenient way to update employees on important happenings. So why are email providers like Outlook or Yahoo not enough?
1. Subscribers’ list
Having a dedicated newsletter tool means that all receivers can be divided into the lists and grouped by different metrics such as a study field, a year of studies, a program or an interest. It’s easy to overview subscribers in the groups, however, these lists need maintenance: to be checked and updated often. This struggle can be lifted if a newsletter tool has an option to send to Office 365 or AD groups (lists update automatically following the changes in the Microsoft 365 system).
2. Personalized content
Separated subscribers groups give a possibility to send targeted content. Emails can be highly personalized automatically using the right newsletter tools. Such options as dynamic content allows to auto-populate a message based on a profile of a recipient and other conditions (without coding knowledge or skills). In addition, a newsletter can be personalized with a name of a student/employee, their program or a faculty. The content can be retrieved based on preferences of a receiver.
Newsletters make it easy to showcase your institution’s brand. To begin with, it’s important to assure branding consistency in all communication channels (colors, logo use, fonts and font colors, iconography and photography). Newsletter tools allow to create templates which can be reused, meaning, a university/college brand book can be infiltrated with each message sent to current and prospective students as well as alumni.
4. Content separation
One tool can be used by different departments without a hassle. Various faculties can use the same tool and avoid confusion of sharing the same content by a mistake. Having all the content like sent newsletters, templates, gallery images, and analytics at one place can be confusing, especially if an organization is large. Newsletter tools such as JungleMail allow to have different communication teams which means separate environment for each department which sends and manages newsletters.
5. Automated newsletters
Automated workflow of emails can save a lot of time. Sending automated newsletters to prospective students means that you can constantly stay in contact and share valuable information about your school during the admissions process. Automate newsletters for current students based on their preferences so they would continually receive valuable information on their school happenings.
Which newsletter tool to choose?
Currently there are a lot of options when choosing a newsletters tool. How to select the right tool to meet your communication needs? It’s essential to consider not only prices and features of a tool, but also security aspects as well as integration with other platforms. Maybe you already have an intranet? Does this tool integrate with the systems you currently use? Here are some valuable questions and points what to look for when choosing a newsletter software for your organization.
Is your chosen newsletter tool secure? For every institution cyber-security should be a top priority when choosing any IT solution. Make sure that a newsletter tool takes all the necessary security measures, has developed security standards, complies with data protection procedures. Learn where your tool data is stored and if cloud data centers are compliant as well as have security certifications.
2. Sending time
How fast your emails can be sent? It’s important to take into account newsletters sending time speed because you want information to reach subscribers at one time and not in hours difference. Companies specialized in providing newsletter tool software should tell you their sending speed.
Is a tool saving your time? Consider how easy-to-use and convenient to assemble a newsletter is. A tool should have clear follow-ups what steps to take to create and send a newsletter. In addition, a tool should include a drag-and-drop builder which makes it easy to put sections and add information in your template. To take a step further, can a newsletter tool be integrated with your intranet? For example, JungleMail newsletter tool can auto-fill your newsletter with information from Communication sites of SharePoint.
Does a newsletter tool have an option for students to engage with the content? As we know, a truly effective communication happens two-way. Encourage students’ engagement within a newsletter, ask questions and feedback. In JungleMail you can direct your students to the SharePoint site to leave comments and have a discussion about the newsletter. A tool can create a site (a copy) of your newsletter automatically to your intranet. New students can check what was happening at their school before they joined.
How much data your tool will show? By default most newsletter tools have an option to check basic analytics such as open rates, clicks and unsubscribes. Advanced analytics can even show data by different faculties and location. Email tracking allows a communicator to measure engagement and improve newsletters. Comprehensive data can stir new ideas for the content and boost engagement.
What newsletters to send?
For each segment you want to deliver valuable targeted newsletter. It’s important to consider what should be included in your emails when sending to prospective students, new students, enrolled students, alumni, or employees of the institution.
1. Enrolled students
Send targeted information to current students. Universities and colleges use newsletters on weekly and monthly bases to send any updates. Emails can be used for reminders, schedules changes, scholarships, events, and other content. Use content autofill from SharePoint to automate your newsletters and export your newsletter to your intranet for students’ interaction and response to the shared information.
2. Prospective students
Invite prospective students to study at your institution. Gather emails of students who’ll be looking for a place to study in the future, sending newsletters can be one of the most powerful ways to advertise your school because emails can be highly personalized.
3. School Alumni
Keep connection with alumni. Emails can be very useful to communicate with students after their graduation. Send alumni important updates, information about initiatives and events via email.
Update your staff members via newsletters. There are multiple ways to communicate with employees, however, email remains a reliable option because important information is always received and doesn’t get lost as in the chats. Be sure that staff doesn’t miss out on any significant changes, meetings, or events of your institution.
How to send professional newsletters?
A good-looking, responsive newsletter with valuable content is desired by each organization but especially important for educational institutions. Does it sound difficult to reach? It’s not if you’re aware of steps of a professional newsletter.
Be consistent with your organization’s image. This rule applies also in the emails. Create your own templates using your school’s brand book: logo, colors and shrifts. Make your newsletters recognizable for students and strengthen your branding. Re-use your templates and different newsletter’s sections (it’s possible JungleMail newsletter tool).
The majority of the students use mobile devices daily. Usually even emails are checked on mobile phones. Accordingly, it’s essential to use newsletter templates which are fully responsive. An email you send has to adapt to any device screen to avoid poor user experience (zooming, resizing, etc.).
3. Subject line
A subject line is the first thing a receiver sees in their email box. Unquestionably it needs to be precise and tell what to expect from a newsletter. It’s especially important to choose the right subject line when sending newsletters to students. They juggle academic and social life so make sure to grab their attention. If there is any essential information or an approaching deadline, express urgency in the subject line.
Students are usually very busy with their homework, assignments and readings. Take into account that a newsletter should not contain too much information and content must be clear. A call-to-action (CTA) should be used wisely and related to the most relevant topics in your newsletter.
5. A/B testing
Most newsletter tools provide analytics. Make sure to check your newsletters results and see how your newsletters can be improved. Test your newsletters to see with what content students engage better. Experiment with subject line, length of your letter, mix the number of articles, make a lot or none of personalization, and change your sending time.
In the end, don’t forget that a newsletter has to be easy to read and follow. Make sections and incorporate various mediums, for instance, graphic visuals, invites, videos, and pictures. Check out an example of university newsletter below.
Starting or upgrading your emails strategy can be intimidating, but following the guide should help you to orientate in this field of communication and start on the right foot. We encourage you to start sending professional newsletters to students and staff today!