Smart College Emails, Part 2

by Franz Neumann

Images don't always tell a thousand words. Especially if the images in an email don’t load—which is the default setting on many email clients. In part one of this topic, we looked at how it’s time to stop blaming antiquated e-mail systems for not delivering better emails to prospective and current students. Now it’s time to look at what a difference a few simple steps can make.

LEFT: Here’s an example of a recruitment email. Note how none of the images are loaded. Address and subject line areas take up much of the screen, leaving less than 50% available for you to make an impression on a student.

Obviously, this email was never designed to be read on mobile—and it shows. But it’s still being sent out. (Names and text have been changed to protect the innocent guilty.) Not only is the text too small to read comfortably, it’s impossible to quickly gather the point of the email apart from what can be gleaned from the subject line. It’s forgettable and takes effort to even read. No wonder open and link-clicking rates would be low for a campaign like this.

BELOW: Now let’s ditch images completely, add a background color, apply some text styles and send out the campaign again. While we’re at it, we’ll rewrite the copy to have an inviting voice, while also providing a call-to-action that’s visible without scrolling—even on a small smartphone. We’ve also created a second example to show how color can be used to differentiate message types.

With the simple text-only approach above, students can quickly discern the nature of the email (orange for an important alert, green for a positive message). At the same time, the purpose of the email—getting the student to click a link to apply or enroll—is easy to see. Larger text allows the emails to be read without zooming, while a conversational style keeps it succinct. Most, if not all, of these changes can be made to an e-mail template (it’s just table tags and inline CSS) and sent out using existing CRM software. It’s a low-cost upgrade, without much headache.

Contact us to see what we can do to improve your student email recruiting and communications.

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