3 Rules for Successful Enrollment Email Marketing

You’ve asked it. I’ve asked it. In fact, I would probably bet a shiny quarter dollar that every recruitment and enrollment marketer tasked with enrollment email marketing has shouted at the ceiling in frustration at least once.

“Do prospective students even read email anymore?” 

Seemingly counter-intuitive to everything we know about Gen Z, the answer might actually surprise you. While Gen Z is known for being too impatient to engage with long form content like email, Campaign Monitor recently published a marketing guide on Gen Z proving the opposite.

“While most marketers think Gen Z only cares about social media and thus focus their marketing efforts there, our study shows that Gen Z-ers remain active email users.” 

And according to another marketing guide by Snap Agency: 

“Although newer marketing avenues have their perks, only a few of them can match the proven reliability or profitability of email marketing.” 

Good News for Enrollment Email Marketing: Email Remains Unmatched

So there you have it. The power of email communication is undeniable, even among the fast-paced Gen Z. This is good news for those of us tasked with recruiting prospective college students. Much of the current higher education lead capturing strategies still rely heavily on e-communication strategies for enrollment. Luckily, it seems that you’re not dead in the water just yet.

If you want your college enrollment and recruitment campaigns to be successful with the up and coming generation of prospective students, you need to evolve your strategies accordingly. It’s important to note that readers are using and perceiving emails very differently than they were in their traditional form.

Here are 3 rules to follow so you can maximize your enrollment marketing email campaign’s potential for conversion among prospective Gen Z students: 

Rule # 1. Stand Out From The Crowd – Show Value And Spark Interest 

enrollment email marketing

According to a recent article about email marketing, most Gen Zers check their emails only once a month. Given that the average Gen Zer has an attention span of about 8 seconds, figuring out how to make your college or university email stand out in the clutter is a big challenge. 

Think about how many emails you receive on any given day and imagine if you let them pile up for a whole month before opening your inbox. Yikes! Your email’s success is going to rely on your ability to crafting a subject line that grabs their attention, and content that is engaging, immersive and interactive in an authentic way. 

Colleges and universities often make the mistake of sending lengthy, text-dense email messages that read like our viewbooks and brochures. This practice is guaranteed to cause you to lose an incredible opportunity to recruit your reader – which brings us to our second rule. 

Rule # 2. With Gen Z, It’s Not Just “Mobile-First” – It’s “Mobile-Mainly” 

enrollment email marketing

When was the last time you saw a Gen Z student without a mobile device in hand? Refuel Agency’s proprietary Gen Z Explorer Study showed that 64% of this demographic uses their smartphones for most of the media they will consume on any given day. 

enrollment email marketing

So, what does that mean for recruitment and enrollment marketers? If you want any chance of successful engagement with prospective Gen Z students, you must designed your email messages with the size and experience of a mobile device in mind.

In short, when conceptualizing your email strategy, ask yourself: 

  • Am I effectively using video and / or other multimedia content to engage my intended readers? 
  • How many times will the user have to scroll before reaching the call to action? 
  • Am I authentically linking to my website and/or landing pages within the email content? 
  • Does the content have a lot of dense text, or is it easy to scan?
  • Am I directing to social media and other lead generation channels? 
  • To paraphrase George Berkeley, “If a stand-alone email is opened on a phone and then quickly deleted, will anyone convert?” Ok, so that’s not exactly what he meant – but the point still stands. Without a mobile friendly approach, you won’t have an effective email strategy. Furthermore, if your enrollment marketing strategy doesn’t have a cohesive omni-channel approach, you won’t be able to track what’t working and what’s not. 

Rule # 3. Cohesive Marketing Is The Key To Maximizing Enrollment Email Marketing

To capture digital natives, you must first go where the digital natives are. Even if you craft the most engaging email ever created and include the most enticing multimedia messages; that in and of itself isn’t going to fill your enrollment funnel. Your email marketing strategy will not succeed if it’s not well integrated and your conversions aren’t being properly tracked to ensure maximum efficacy. 

When marketing to Gen Z students, syncing your email campaign across several media channels is essential to keep the engagement and dialogue moving; whether it’s registering for an event, filling out an inquiry card, or driving website visits. College marketing strategies, unfortunately, often commit this commonly found error.

You Cannot Effectively Market To Gen Z Alone 

Unfortunately, most college and university enrollment marketing teams are stretched incredibly thin. They simply don’t have the time, and frankly the resources, to create an engaging mobile friendly omni-channel marketing strategy. Often, even if the person creating and implementing recruitment emails hits it out of the park, their counterparts remain unaware. If social media, lead generation, or analytics managers are unaware of email success, they won’t know how to leverage it.

That’s why having an experienced strategic marketing partner like Thinking Cap Agency can give colleges and universities a competitive edge in the dog-eat-dog world of higher education marketing. With over 20 years of experience and proven success across the nation, Thinking Cap Agency acts as an extension of your in-house marketing team and will help your institution meet or exceed enrollment goals. 

Photo Credit: John Tuesday on Unsplash, Olia Gozma on Unsplash

Timothy Gerstmyer

Tim has a 25+ year track record of conceiving and implementing innovative digital and multi-platform lead-generation strategies. He joined Refuel Agency in 2014 to build its Digital Media division with responsibility for developing digital solutions that dynamically and effectively target audiences and achieve substantial ROI for our clients. Tim’s impact on the Education category has now carried over to the launch of Thinking Cap Agency in 2019 with the introduction of new, cutting edge multi-platform and data driven lead generation strategies that dramatically increase student enrollments goals.