When it comes to recruiting students, drip marketing is proven to be an extremely effective strategy. Not only does it give you more power to segment and personalize, but this multi-touch approach allows you build a continuous streamline of communication with students that’s not intrusive. Plus, 87% of prospective students indicate that email is their preferred communication channel.

Whether or not you’re currently employing a drip email strategy at your institution, here are five ways to boost your strategy and communicate better with your audience:

1. Zero In On Your Target Audience

When it comes to determining a target audience for your drip campaigns, think “quality over quantity.” Personalization is important to students (PDF), and while broad targets allow you to reach more eyes at once, narrower targets allow for more specific content based on students’ background and interests. Students expect to receive only the information that feels most significant and unique to them, so narrowing targets can help ensure that they are only receiving relevant messaging.  

After sending an email, you can take it one step further by retargeting engaged students. This could be through one-to-one emails, a call campaign, direct mail, or a combination of different methods to further develop the relationship, and ultimately gain conversions. 

2. Identify and Address Key Pain Points

By now, we know that students are hungry for information, but more specifically, they’re looking for useful and relevant information. When planning your email content, put yourself in the students’ shoes — what questions might you have? Are there any barriers to overcome?

Keep in mind, different types of students will have different needs and motivations, and their questions will vary accordingly. Think about factors such as:

  • Programs of interest (eg. arts vs. health sciences)
  • Career goals (eg. research vs. internships)
  • Lifestyle (eg. students coming from a dense city vs. rural town)

Once you’ve identified your audience’s key pain points, the campaign can be built around addressing those needs.

Looking for content ideas? In a recent survey, students told us that the most important topics to them are scholarships and financial aid, programs, deadlines, and student life.

3. Optimize Your Email Templates

Legibility is key here — make it easy for students to engage with your content. Keep any copy minimal and concise to ensure that students can find the information they need quickly. Text that is too difficult to read could frustrate the reader, and ultimately have a negative impact on your relationship-building. Using headers and lists can also help break content down into digestible sections and increase scannability.

Other best practices for optimizing email templates include:

  • Using personalization (first name, program of interest) in the subject line and body
  • Designing mobile-friendly emails
  • Employing a clear Call to Action (CTA)
  • Including relevant graphics
  • Adding a signature to make the emails feel more personal

4. Have a Clear CTA and Recommendations for Next Steps

Finding the right school and program is often a new (and daunting) experience for students, and they don’t know what they don’t know. Including a clear CTA is an easy way to guide students through the research process and build a relationship with them.

For a strong CTA, be sure to consider the result of the desired action. A prospect may click through to your school’s website, but if they don’t see the information they were expecting right away, they won’t stay very long.

To get the most out of the engagement, try to minimize the number of additional clicks needed to get the desired end result. For example, you can use anchors to link to specific sections of webpages or lead students straight to a registration form when inviting them to an event.

5. Communicate Often

In the marketing world, the rule of thumb is that it takes six to eight touchpoints to make a sale, and recruitment is no different. Students want communication from schools — in fact, one third want to receive emails at least once a week, and another third want to hear from a school whenever there is something important to share.

The advantage of drip marketing is that it allows you to tell a story over a period of time and slowly build a relationship with prospects. Make the most of this by breaking up your content and focusing on just one or two themes per email. Not only will doing so create opportunities for more touch points, but it will also help ensure that your communications stay relevant and are easy to absorb.

To learn more about The SchoolFinder Group, please email us at info@schoolfindergroup.com.

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