Back in the old days buying a distribution list was pretty much the only option a school had if it needed to build a database of prospects quickly. Sometimes timeframes, campaigns and communication objectives meant that there really wasn’t any other option. But it was always fraught with problems … it was expensive, the list usually required some level of validation to ensure the data was current, bounce backs were huge, and the results rarely justified the expense. With the rise of email marketing, building an opt-in distribution list is easier than you think, inexpensive, legal and where school marketers should focus their energy. But first, a quick recap on why you should never ever buy a list …
According to HubSpot, here’s ‘Why buying email lists is always a bad idea’:
- Reputable email marketing vendors don't let you send emails to lists you've bought.
- Good email address lists aren’t for sale.
- People on a purchased or rented list don't actually know you.
- Your email deliverability and IP reputation will be harmed.
- Because you’re not annoying.
Seventy-seven percent of customers prefer emails over other communication channels for receiving permission-based promotional messages. Here’s 7 ways to start growing your school’s email distribution list legally.
- Informative, insightful and valuable content: We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it, keep parents and prospective families front of mind and create content that makes a difference for them. Give them a reason to keep reading your emails.
- Make it easy to share your emails: Include social media sharing buttons and a call-to-action link to subscribe to your enewsletter in your marketing emails.
- Create multiple email subscription types so that you can target the content to your buyer personas. Highly targeted and relevant content will create a reason for someone to click through.
- Add a link to your employee’s signatures that leads to a landing page on your website where people can sign up to receive your enewsletter.
- Create a free online resource or tool and have users sign up with their email address. For an independent boys school, it might be ‘Why a Private Education Matters in the Early Years’.
- Link to offers and subscription options on your website: Keep offers and subscription sign ups highly visible. Key places include your school website’s home page, main blog page, ‘About Us’ page and ‘Contact Us’ page.
- Collect emails at Open Days, information mornings, school tours: Be sure to send a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list.
HubSpot tells us that email lists degrade by about 22.5% each year. So having a strategy for growing your email list is critical. The message here is to attack it from many fronts.
- How to create effective school communications that will be read
- How to develop personalised welcome emails that convert
- Do school newsletters really work?
- More blogs on email marketing which might be of interest to you
- Download our free ebook to discover the five most common email marketing mistakes and some advice on how to avoid them.
Talk to an expert:
- To talk to us directly about reviewing your school’s communication practices - book a free call now
This blog was written by Suzanne Willcock
Suzanne Willcock is a Senior Account Manager for imageseven. She is a professional services and education marketing specialist who happens to love copywriting and blogging. She is also particularly fond of interior design magazines and home renovation shows.