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school marketing news

How to create powerful email marketing campaigns

Posted by Clare Ravasini

How to create powerful email marketing campaignsIt’s more important than ever to set objectives for your email marketing campaigns, yet surprisingly, many schools simply push out content for the sake of saying something, without actually stopping to think about why they are saying it. If this sounds like your school, then this blog is for you.

So, let’s stop and consider what your goals might be. Growing your prospective database, converting prospects to enrolments, increased engagement with your communications, building relationships with your parent community? Are you wanting a certain number of people to open your email, or is there particular content you want recipients to click on?

What I’ll do now is take you through the most popular metrics for email marketing campaigns. If you’re unsure what goals to focus on, or where exactly to start, pick up the phone for a friendly chat to discuss your needs.

6 email marketing metrics you need to know:

1. Click-through Rate (CTR)
This is the percentage of email recipients who clicked one or more links contained in your email. Calculated as, total clicks divided by the number of recipients (e.g. 500 total clicks ÷ 10,000 delivered = 5% CTR).

CTR is the most common metric asked about and is an effective measure to compare how your email campaigns are tracking over time. It’s also used when performing A/B tests to discover the best ways to get more clicks in your emails. CTR’s will show you which content generates the greatest engagement and is of the most interest to your audience(s).

2. Conversion Rate
Your conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link and completed a desired action, such as filling out a lead generation form for a prospective enrolment. It’s calculated as the number of people who completed an action divided by total emails (e.g. 400 people downloaded application for admission form ÷ 10,000 delivered = 4% conversion rate).

After an email recipient has opened your email, typically the next goal is to get them to complete the action your email has asked them to take. The conversion is triggered by your call-to-action (CTA), so make sure it’s clear what your asking them to do. The CTA should be directly linked to your overall goal of your email marketing.

To measure conversion rates in emails, you’ll need to integrate your web analytics with your email platform. You can do this by creating unique tracking URLs for your email links that identify the source of the click as coming from a specific email campaign. Ask us how to do this if you are unsure.

3. Bounce Rate
This is the percentage of your total emails sent that were not successfully delivered to your recipient’s inbox. Calculated by the total number of bounced emails divided by number of emails sent (e.g. 75 bounced emails ÷ 10,000 total emails = 0.75% bounce rate).

There’s two kind of bounces to track, ‘hard’ bounces and ‘soft’ bounces. Soft bounces result from a temporary problem with the email address (e.g. file size too large, inbox full) and hard bounces are caused by invalid, closed or non-existent email addresses. You may consider re-sending your emails to soft bounces but email addresses from hard bounced should be immediately emoved from your distribution list. Internet service providers use bounce rates as a key indicator as to your reputation and having too many hard bounces can make your school look like a spammer.

4. List Growth Rate
The rate at which your email list is growing and is calculated by the number of new subscribers minus number of unsubscribes plus email/spam complaints divided by total number of distribution list (e.g. 500 new subscribers – 100 unsubscribes ÷ 10,000 email addresses = 4% list growth rate).

It is crucial to be continually growing your list, but remember to focus on quality rather than quantity. The aim should be to add subscribers who will be interested in the content you're sharing. If you were to purchase a list for example, and those newly added subscribers had no connection or interest in your school or messages then this is going to be reflected by poor metrics. There is a natural decay of your email marketing list (about 22.5% every year) so it’s important to keep growing your list to ensure it remains at a healthy size. Click here to learn how to grow your email list legally.

5. Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
This is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a ‘share this’ button to post content to a social network, and/or who clicked on a ‘forward to a friend’ button. Calculated by number of clicks on a share and/or forward button divided by total emails (e.g. 100 clicks ÷ 10,000 emails sent = 1% email sharing/forwarding rate). Keep a careful eye on the emails that are getting shared most frequently, this will give you an idea as to which content subscribers are more interested in.

Why is this so important? Because it’s how you generate new prospects. Encourage your readers to pass along your email to a friend if they find the content useful. These new prospects will be far more valuable than any purchased list because, as people, we trust the recommendations shared by family/friends/colleagues far more than those given to us directly from the school itself. Interested in learning more about the power of word of mouth marketing? Discover the tools for yourself here.

6. Overall ROI
The overall return on investment (ROI) of your email campaigns is measured by the total revenue divided by total spend (e.g. $1,000 in additional enrolment fees - $100 invested in campaign ÷ $100 invested in campaign = 900% ROI). This is the most basic formular for calculating ROI but you may choose another depending on the specific needs of your school. The total revenue may not be as simple as the amount of enrolment fees generated and you will need to consider what value to assign to other actions such as obtaining a new lead or new student. How does this action translate to potential revenue? Actual revenue? Measuring overall ROI will help show your finance team and management the monetary value that your email marketing efforts are having.

You should select an email distribution platform that will measure these metrics and prove you with useful insights. Our preferred platforms is Campaign Monitor which is relatively inexpensive and quite robust, depending on the level of membership.

To find out what not to do in your email campaigns, download your complimentary copy of our ebook, or to learn more about email marketing and how best to optimise campaigns for your school, contact our helpful team today.

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This blog was written by Clare Ravasini

Clare joined imageseven in 2013. Since then, no two days have ever been the same and she has loved every minute. Clare considers herself an out-of-the box thinker, which serves her well in her work with a variety of clients. She’s got a spring in her step, always has a smile on her face and has a passion for all things creative. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors and loves living the country life with her horses.


Topics: Email marketing, Education, imageseven, Communication, Marcom, School marketing strategy, School marketing