7 Tips for Email Marketing in Higher Education

by Nikhil Sutar | Jun 13, 2022 | ExtraaEdge’s Blog

Email Marketing can be used by education institutes in many ways. You can communicate with your prospects and solve their concerns regarding a particular course or the admissions process. Right from the time they subscribe to your newsletters to the time of enrolment, communication is a key. Doing it the right way is important in order to showcase the brand in the right way to your prospects.

At ExtraaEdge “Admission & Marketing Automation Software” we see more than 50 lacs marketing emails getting delivered every month. So in a way we have a close bird’s eye-view to how e-mails perform for higher education marketers.

Based on our learnings & observations, below are the ways in which you can make your email marketing campaigns more informative and engaging which can bring you actual results via a viz opens, clicks & moreover responses


7 Tips for Email Marketing in Higher Education in 2021

1. Subscribers List

Before you start your email marketing campaigns, it is essential that you start collecting email addresses of your prospective students and their parents.

To do that you must have a strategic approach. Some of the ways in which you can collect their email addresses are –

Social media – As mentioned in our previous article, there are over 3 billion people who are active users on any form of social media. This is a great platform for colleges and coaching institutes to build a potential prospect list of email addresses.

How to do that?

harvard subscribe newsletter

Source: Harvard University Website

Post content on social media that links back to your website. Content should be well thought about and unique. “Seminar highlights, Choosing the right college” are some of the examples. Once you have prospect students visiting your website make sure you have a call to action that makes the visitor sign up for your newsletter, daily digests, event updates, etc. Use “Facebook Lead Forms” or “Instagram forms” & other opt-ins to do this. A really good hack here is to use services like “opt-in monster” to capture e-mails, numbers while candidates leave your website.

Education and college fairs – Education fairs are one of the easiest ways to get contact information such as emails and phone number from your prospective students.

Doing this will help you get a bunch of emails from students who are actually interested in your college or institute. Avoid those paper based forms etc. its an overhead to digitise it further & making it again a manual process. Use fresh responsive landing pages which can be displayed on tablets, laptops & students can self serve themselves. Connect it back to your favourite CRM of choice.

2. Segment Your Email Campaigns

Email list segmentation and personalized emailing were the most effective email strategies of 2017 according to DMA. It is still as effective today as it was in 2017.

Each prospect has different course interest as well could be at a different stage of enrolment as compared to the rest. So sending every prospective student the same mail doesn’t make sense. Not to mention the damage to the brand name.

segment emails

Source: HubSpot

For a great communication experience, it is wise that you segment prospects and emails into different groups. According to Emarketer, “39% of email marketers who segment their email lists see better open rates and 28% better email deliverability and more revenue.

Some of the ways in which you can segment your audience –

By interests – Your college/institute might offer different types of courses and programs. Some students might be interested in an MBA, some might want to pursue the field of engineering. These are two different interests for which the same content doesn’t work.

By enrolment stage – Emails segmented as per the stage of enrolment. Different email campaigns should be set for prospects who have newly enquired, as compared to prospects who have filled out the form or those who have completed the admissions process. They all would want to see different information. Make sure you segment them accordingly.

By location – Segment emails differently for local students and students from different states. Questions may vary for students who are not local and need some more information about the locality of your institute.

Making use of a powerful and customised CRM automation software would help you make this process easier. With a CRM solution in place, you won’t have to make segments manually for certain tasks. For example, whenever a prospect student takes the next step in the enrolment process, your marketing team can update the information which will help them re-segment according to the next stage they are in.


3. Powerful Subject Line

The goal of every email is to give value to its audience. Your prospect receives a bunch of emails into their inbox on a daily basis. In order to make sure you do not get lost in that chaos it is important that you have a solid subject line. You can achieve this easily by running an A|B test on email campaigns with different subject lines to see what works best for you.

If some of the prospects from your segment lists are behind on filling out the application form, you can mention that straight away in your email subject line.

“Two days until deadline”, “Have you signed up for our XYZ program yet?”

This subject line gives them an idea about the importance of the mail. If they are really interested in taking admission in your institute, this email will help them speed up the process.


4. Keep it Short

Apart from the powerful subject lines, it is also important that you share unique and relevant content in the body copy. The content can be about the recent blogs you published, webinar news, upcoming events, links to videos and testimonials. The most important thing, when it comes to writing body copy is to keep it short and simple, it shouldn’t be all text, include some images, pdf, and videos to make it more engaging.

One more important thing to keep in mind is to write action based content which has important CTA’s. Prospects should take some action after they have gone through your email.

Good Email Copy | Source: SUMO

Bad Email Copy | Source: mailjet

5. Have a Conversational Tone

Having a conversational tone when you are in the education sector is also very important. You have to be a friend to the prospect, a friend who would help them throughout the process from giving them useful information all the way until helping them process their admission. There’s going to be a lot of communication between you and the prospect, so it is important that you make them comfortable and build their trust.

That can be done by running a proper drip campaign which can be personalized for having a conversational tone.

“Students who feel you or your brand communication is answering their career related questions have a greater propensity to join your institute”


6. Responsive Email Templates

Majority of your prospect students use mobile phones to access nearly everything from messages, videos, news to email. According to emailmonday 59% of email opens occurred on mobile, 15% on desktop and 28% in a webmail client.

responsive email template

Source: monsterpost

Making sure that your email template is responsive for every device would yield you more result than the ones which are not good for user experience.


7. Tracking Performance with Email Analytics

Knowing how your email campaign has performed will help you make important strategic decisions. An analytic tool can give you critical data such as click rate, open rate, number of emails that were delivered, number of emails that bounced and many more insights.

Getting the data on how your different email campaigns have performed can be of good help. With this data, your team can dig deeper into why your email campaign is not performing the way you want it to.

Is it the Long subject line? Or is it because of too much text content in the mail? Or anything else

An analytic tool can only provide you with the detail of how your email campaign performed, why it under performed can only be deduced by your expertise.


Email Marketing plays a vital role when it comes to student recruitment. Doing it in the right way is very important for institutes if they want to turn prospects into students. With the above-mentioned tips, you can make sure that your email marketing provides action based content which gives you a higher conversion rate.

According to the MailChimp Email Marketing Survey education & training related e-mail campaigns have an average open rate of ~22% & click of ~2.5%. So benchmark against these metrics & if you are close your marketers are doing a fab job. E-mail still rocks & timing- context – content of the copy still rules. Those who master this old art see huge values in a cost-effective manner as compared to flashy paid campaigns.

Do share your findings if you are hitting an average open rate of ~22% & click of ~2.5%.


The author thanks Mr. Dev Sharma from myPAT for his valuable insights on email marketing which helped us put out this article.