You’ve read it here before, but I’ll say it again, the days of ‘batch and blast’ emails are over. When it comes to enewsletters, schools need to go beyond simply pushing out information, and start producing content that is personalised to each and every person in your school community. And because of the highly relational nature of schools, you have a truly exciting opportunity to create enewsletters that will engage and delight the parents and carers in your school every week.
We talk a lot about the importance of enewsletters in school marketing and that’s because they work. Findings from the 2014 Econsultancy Email Marketing Census revealed that marketers claim that Email Marketing delivers the best return on investment (ROI). And according to Hubspot, 91 per cent of people check their email every day — so the potential for connecting with your audience is massive. But the most common mistake schools make when it comes to enewsletters is failing to balance the transactional information that has to be delivered each week, with stories that have real relevance. When it comes to producing a quality enewsletter, context and content go hand-in-hand. Think about the conversations you have with parents in your school every day — what are the questions you get asked over and over; what information would make a parent’s life easier; what motivates them; what are their concerns and ambitions for their children? This knowledge bank should inform the decisions you make about what content is going to resonate with your school community. What we’re talking about is content that is valuable, engaging and makes an impact.
Here are our top tips for getting your enewsletter off the ground … your launch pad to quality content.
- Develop a reputation for being relevant: The more targeted your parent groups are, the more relevant your email messages can be tailored to the audience. Relevance is critical for your enewsletter to be effective. For each identified segment, create marketing personas to enable you to be more strategic in catering to each audience. The persona is a fictitious human being that paints a picture of the ideal parent within a category. A persona should be at the centre of all communication to each segment to ensure the content is relevant. Keep your email lists chunked down into groups that share something in common — a good starting point might be junior school, middle school, and senior school parents.
- Purpose: Always establish the purpose of the content, and remain focused on how that content can delight your reader. Think ‘What’s in it for them?’
- Assign an enewsletter editor: This person will have a really clear picture of your parent segments; understand what information is relevant to them; select content based on those interests and use a consistent voice across all enewsletter content that is distinct to your school. Experience isn’t a pre-requisite, but an intimate understanding of your school community and parent/carer community is.
- Repurpose what you already have: Every day schools distribute quality information in the form of articles, emails, presentations, research, survey results and much more. How much of what you already produce could be repurposed as content for the enewsletter? For example, take that research your Counselling team circulated on effective exam preparation strategies and turn it into a ‘Top 10 Tips for Study Success’ checklist for the enewsletter.
- Shareability: Make it easy for people to share your content online. Providing your audience with a link gives them a call to action to share your message. Done efficiently you can track it and send it through your server, allowing you to monitor who forwards your messages.
- Email readers don’t read your enewsletter, they scan it: Usually spending an average of five to eight seconds per message. So you need to maximise the communication value of these precious seconds. Things to consider include being specific or promising — and delivering — something of value in the subject header. Studies have shown that subject headers with a maximum of 54 characters yield the highest response. Create a compelling reason for someone to keep reading.
- Enewsletters are an extension of your brand: A consistent and on-brand visual style will ensure your enewsletter is easily recognisable. Keeping your design consistent builds familiarity, trust and ultimately, readership.
Here are some more blogs on eNewsletters which might be of interest to you.
To learn more about eNewsletters download this ebook: Is your enewsletter delivering quality content?
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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.