Using email to nurture prospective students is an essential component of any college’s marketing and enrollment strategy. At MindMax, we specialize in creating targeted email communications to help our clients meet their enrollment goals. One of the major tools we rely on to maximize our effectiveness is marketing automation.
Just like the name indicates, marketing automation allows us to automate repetitive marketing tasks that we would otherwise need to conduct manually. We’ve used our experience to develop a series of best practices when using marketing automation for email marketing.
Whether you partner with MindMax or conduct lead nurturing initiatives internally at your institution, these tips can help you optimize marketing automation for more effective email sequences.
4 Tips for Optimizing Marketing Automation
1. Use variable and dynamic content to deliver the right message to the right prospective students.
The option to include variable and dynamic content in an email message allows marketers to create personalized emails at scale, using backend triggers from a prospect’s record. If you’ve ever received a marketing email that addresses you by name or mentions your job title, those are simple examples of variable content.
Dynamic content options open marketers up to even greater possibilities. We can automatically customize just about any feature of an email, including calls to action, full blocks of text, and even images.
Thanks to dynamic content, schools have the opportunity to include customizations such as sending a general email sequence to prospective students with header images targeted to their program of interest. It’s also possible to update content such as enrollment dates across multiple templates without having to update each one individually.
Leveraging variable and dynamic content helps college marketing departments and their partners save time and reallocate precious resources to other critical marketing and enrollment efforts.
2. Scrub brand new or very old email addresses before sending to any list to maximize deliverability.
Marketing automation systems track metrics like bounce rates to determine sender reputation—and having a poor sender reputation can trigger the system to penalize you.
For this reason, we recommend using an email hygiene service to clean or “scrub” all brand new or very old email addresses before sending to any list. Scrubbing email addresses regularly decreases the likelihood of sending emails to invalid or incorrect email addresses, which may filter your content as SPAM or lead to higher bounce rates.
There are many email hygiene services to choose from with relatively comparable monthly pricing.
3. Send emails during standard business hours.
Marketing automation systems allow marketers to set automated email sequences to run during designated hours. While some industries benefit from sending emails during the weekend, in higher education, we recommend sticking to standard business hours of Monday-Friday from 7 am-5 pm. Simply set the preferred timing and the system will translate it automatically depending on the prospect’s time zone.
If you’re unsure of the ideal send time for your prospects, conduct testing by sending emails at different times and analyzing the results to see which ones perform better.
4. Use lead scoring to weigh prospects’ engagement with your email content.
Lead scoring, or using a weighted system to segment leads based on their level of engagement, is one of the most useful tools in a marketing automation system. The system provides visibility into each prospect’s actions: every email they open, every CTA button they click, and every form they fill out. Certain actions are weighted higher than others, with the goal of offering a clear picture of a prospect’s interest in your school.
At MindMax, each prospective student who scores above a certain threshold is considered a hot lead, which may qualify them for the next step in the process: personal outreach from an enrollment services specialist. Ultimately, lead scoring helps us prioritize enrollment efforts so that we’re using our resources strategically.
If you’re interested in taking your school’s email marketing efforts to the next level, MindMax is here to help. Contact us today to discuss how our lead nurturing services can help you increase enrollment.