5 steps for creating an automated email communications strategy
As you plan for the upcoming recruiting year, you’ll want to make sure you have one critical element in place – an automated email communications plan.
First, you’ll want to respond as quickly as possible to a submission or request for information; automating this step can ease the burden on the admissions staff and give your prospects confidence that they can expect good customer service from your program.
After the first contact has been made, it’s up to you to stay “top of mind” and “top of inbox”. Sending consistent messages over a set period of time can allow you to slowly disseminate key information and answer your prospects’ questions so they can make decisions.
Here are five simple steps to creating your automated communications strategy:
Segment your programs
Many marketing and admissions departments are responsible for recruiting for multiple programs at one time. Although it may be tempting to send out blanket emails that include links to all programs, it can actually hinder you being able to communicate critical information. Be sure to create a separate communications flow for each program, or develop sub-groups based on program type. For example, if you have an in-person MBA, hybrid Executive MBA and online Professional MBA program, each should have its own set of emails. However, if you have an online MBA with 3 different concentrations or tracks – it may make sense to start out with one flow and then supplement with additional information as necessary.
Segment your audience
Just as you will have different audiences for each program, you may also be able to break out your audience based on certain criteria. For example you may have one communications flow for all MBA prospects, but within that flow add extra emails for key demographics like women, URM and military.
Aim for a slow, targeted build of information
The way you structure your communications is ultimately up to you, however, we suggest these key areas as a starting point:
- Introduction from your program manager or dean
- Student life
- Program structure
- Key program benefits (although these can also be infused into each email)
- Program differentiators, such as a client project, internship, international immersion, etc.
- Career paths
- Call to submit an application
Create a simple format
Your prospects are likely receiving communications from several schools. Make sure your sender is consistent and that your branding is clear. Make key decisions on greetings, intro paragraphs, how you will present information and how you will give your prospects a clear call to action each time. Try to develop a word count max so each email is similar in length.
Create a schedule
Depending on what works best for your program, spread your emails out over a period of weeks or months. You could opt to send one email per week or bi-weekly. Many schools benefit from sending emails on the same day at the same time (for example Tuesdays at 10 a.m.). Your prospects know when to look for information from you. Setting a clear plan ahead of time can minimize panic sending and eliminate jamming up your prospects’ inboxes
It’s important to develop your automated email communications so they can be sent at any point during the year. You will want to avoid any time-stamped information and reserve this for your event and application emails.
With a clear plan, you can develop a robust email communications flow that can yield applications and give your prospects the information they need to make decisions.
GPRS is your communications partner
If you need help developing an integrated automated email communications strategy, GPRS can help. Our team of experienced writers and strategists can develop a plan that works for your team and provide guidance for disseminating your message to your prospects. Start the conversation today.