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Best Email Practices

Email Marketing for Educators

A proper and ongoing email campaign has been proven to boost the bottom line in education facilities. However, this task requires an investment in time and effort: When you make the determination that the time has arrived to launch a targeted email marketing campaign, it is necessary to ensure that a number of critical aspects are carefully considered.
Email marketing departs from traditional placement of a Yellow Pages or local newspaper display advertisement or notice. In traditional advertising, negligible liability is created should the ad need not adhere to a severely stringent series of legal qualifications. In conventional advertising, if the claims are verifiable then the advertiser need not be concerned with legal ramifications. In the case of email marketing, two levels of legislation apply: federal and state laws, as well as industry self-regulatory standards. If all of the conditions required in both of these standards are not fully met or exceeded, the resulting campaign can create a considerable amount of legal liability for your education facility.
Any educational institution collecting information through some form of physical signup sheet or at school fundraisers, etc. is required to state that direct and unequivocal approval has been obtained from your client prior to placing their email address onto your list. The governmental legislation states that before any prospect can be placed on your email list, direct approval must be obtained from that potential subscriber and that approval be formally logged in such a manner that it is available for a future audit.
CAN-SPAM Must Be Respected
In the U.S., the primary authority governing all forms of email marketing is administered under the CAN-SPAM Act, which illustrates criteria on how all email marketers must behave when interacting with the public. The legislation is based on the facilitation of any subscriber to instantly opt out of your list at their primary request. Violations of the CAN-SPAM Act are considered as a clear infringement of Federal regulation and could lead to penalties and even long jail terms.
Unsubscription Facilitation
As soon as any subscriber informs your education institution that they want to be taken off of your email newsletter receiver list, federal legislation specifies that they must be deleted from your list irrevocably and immediately. Your education institution must make sure that the procedure your customer can follow to be taken off your list is easily locatable in every email you send them and simple to use. Failure to honor demands for unsubscriptions constitutes a crime with serious penalties.
Bouncing Email Management
When any educational institution sends out an email, be it a personal message, a business reply, or a marketing campaign newsletter, one of three separate things can occur:

It can be delivered correctly.
If your email has bounced you will receive a message from the Mailer Daemon informing you of the situation and explaining reasons for the bounce. If the bounce is soft, the condition occurred after the message left your computer. In cases of a soft bounce it is considered good email practice to attempt to contact the customer through an alternative form of communication in order to inform them that the emails are being returned.
A hard bounce is a more serious problem, as the fault lies with the sender. If you are repeatedly sending emails to an address that is non-existent or blocked for any reason, the various ISPs that route traffic around the Internet will place you among the lists of criminal spammers. Being placed in this type of blacklist has serious consequences for your education institution, as you may find that you will no longer be able to send out any email marketing missives whatsoever. The boycott may extend to your personal and business emails as well.
Privacy Policy
Your privacy policy should never be simply copied from the website of another similar education institution. To avoid possible unfortunate legal entanglements, you should always consult your education facility's attorney to have a custom policy drafted for your online applications.
Properly Segment the List
Segmentation means categorizing your subscription list according to the demographic aspects of your subscriber base, as well as the types of education services they are likely seeking. Segmentation is effectively unlimited, and therefore can be broken up in a variety of ways including commercial, public, psychographic, lifestyle, life cycle, and behavior patterns. By analyzing your subscription list and developing specific content for each stratum, you will be able to precisely appeal to the individual's requirements.
Keep Testing the Content
Many education directors and managers may have a predetermined belief as to what "should " appeal to each segment of a subscription list. These beliefs are insufficient unless they are verified and validated by a series of what is known as A/B tests, conducted by compiling content designed to appeal to each particular subset of your list and then testing small samples. These tests provide data that allows you to finely hone your marketing appeal, and ongoing A/B testing will maximize positive responses.
Obtain the Subscriber's Data
Most customers are hesitant to divulge personal information about themselves. Many email marketers have discovered that motivating surveys or other types of incentivized polling forms may be a boon in obtaining personal data upon which you may base your segmentation methodologies.
Analyze the Subscriber's Behavior Patterns
The primary method of determining the success of your email marketing campaign is through scrutinizing various email metric statistics. There are some clients on any subscription list who simply will not open your emails at all, and continuing to send to these subscribers is not likely to modify that type of behavior pattern. These email addresses are best eliminated from your email newsletter campaign list. Other customers may open and read your emails but usually fail to respond to the call to action. These subscribers should not be deleted from the list since they are reading your emails, and that often equates to their eventual response to your education institution in other ways. The most lucrative category are the prospects who both read and click through to your landing pages, as these are the customers who are the most responsive from an email marketing perspective, and thus very valuable as online communications recipients.
Good Email Practices
It is important to use good email practices to ensure an improvement in client compliance and maintain the highest level of efficiency, while generating positive results from your educational efforts' fundraising returns and bottom line. Lines, preheaders, and subject lines should be meticulously crafted; the differing display abilities between PC and mobile browsers must be accounted for when designing landing pages, and these must be synchronized with your A/B split testing efforts and segmentation methods.
Email Metrics
Statistics prove that almost 80 percent of education facility directors and managers did not know their click-through rate, and about a quarter were unaware of their open rates. Failure to track important email metrics such as open rates and CTRs when engaging in email marketing campaigns is a fundamental error. This shortcoming denies the education entity director or manager the ability to analyze a wide spectrum of factors that can be identified in order to engage the recipient and build the success rate of your email marketing and promotional campaign.