Step 6 in digital marketing success: How to use email marketing effectively - Education Matters Magazine
All Topics, Latest News

Step 6 in digital marketing success: How to use email marketing effectively

In this article, we’ll discuss how to use email marketing for your school, and some of the lessons I have learned from being involved in hundreds of email marketing campaigns over the last fifteen years. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read the first four parts of this series: step 1step 2step 3step 4 and step 5.

Email works best when it is time relevant, better read and personal

I remember the days of the weekly printed newsletter, still warm and with that smell straight from the gestetner machine (that’s shown my age, hasn’t it?). Let’s skip forward to 2015, and now email is integral to most people’s lives.

This article will discuss ways in which your school can effectively use email to communicate better and faster with lower costs.

Have your emails read, not ignored

A great email adds value, is personalised, and timely.

Think about your own email behaviour, and which emails you open and which you delete before even reading.

The first goal we need to accomplish is have the recipient not delete your email, but rather open it and read it. There are five factors at play here;

What is in your emails? If they are not relevant, they will quickly become discarded. If you send irrelevant material to the wrong list too often, when you send something relevant, don’t expect anyone to read it.

It is easy with mail systems to break your audience into lists, so parents of primary students get one email, parents of high school students get another, and when a whole of school email needs to go out, send it to both lists at the same time.

Great email marketing software lets you test different versions of emails out, to maximise your open rates, and other goals. This is typically called A/B split testing.

Let’s look at the day and time received. For many, Monday morning is ‘go through a huge pile of emails, and cull viciously’ time, and Friday afternoons is ‘Think about weekend, ignore any emails coming in’ time. We know this by looking at statistics from our email marketing over the last few years.

We know most emails have a better chance of getting opened if they are sent Tuesday to Thursday. This is an old trick from back in direct mail days; people don’t respond well on Mondays and Fridays, as they do mid-week.

Another factor is how frequently you send them. More than weekly can be a nuisance, and less than quarterly means they are likely to forget who you are (unless your ‘from address’ is clearly their child’s school).

The ‘from’ address is vital. If I send an email to you from ‘Miles Burke’, there’s a greater chance of opening it, than if I were to send it as ‘Company you haven’t heard of’. In school situations, having the principal’s name or the school’s name increases open rates.

Subjects make all the difference

Lastly, and one of the most important factors, is the subject line. Instead of ‘News from school’, we have found that ‘Swimming Carnival Thursday, new term planner and school news’ works much better. It shows that there’s real content, not just yet another news item.

Even better, insert the recipient’s name in the subject line. We are all driven by ego to a degree; seeing your name in the email subject is a magnet to opening it.

Instead of;

‘Swimming Carnival Thursday, new term planner and school news’

Why not try out some personalisation in the subject, by using;

‘Miles, there is a swimming carnival this Thursday, new term planner and school news’

How to measure your email success

If you aren’t measuring your email, you are sending out blindly. Any good system will allow you to see who is opening your emails, and when. The absolutely worst way to send out newsletters or other emails is to use Outlook or your mail program; you don’t get an insight into who is actually receiving them, who is opening them, which ones are being trapped by software, or even worse, bounced because recipients’ details have changed.

Using your own mail program means you get all the bounces, and have to manually subscribe and unsubscribe people – not to mention the load on your IT infrastructure!


Sending emails is easy and if done right, very effective. They are great for time pertinent information, and are much cheaper to send than even the fastest photocopier or printer.

There’s even the inevitable loss in children’s school bags to consider as well!

Miles Burke is an Author, Public Speaker and Managing Director of Perth-based digital agency, Bam Creative. His team has created websites and digital marketing campaigns for dozens of schools, and their work has been featured in the media, won plenty of awards and most of all, helped schools demystify the digital marketing space to attract enrolments and better communicate to their communities.


Send this to a friend