Rarely does a week go by where I’m not asked by a client or conference session participant about e-marketing best practices. Usually the question goes something like this: “I’m trying to increase the engagement we’re seeing in our email campaigns. Are there new design or copy best practices I should be following to increase the amount of recipients opening and interacting with my messages?”
And here’s my response: The real opportunity, and the one that I see most enrollment marketers missing out on, is behavior-triggered email campaigns.
Since we wrote Death by a Thousand Cuts – The Email Marketing Practices of Undergraduate Admission Offices in 2008, most colleges and universities are at minimum are complying with CAN-SPAM requirements. Using behavior to drive campaign responses? Not so much.
Here’s the scenario I painted for client who asked me this question recently:
Let’s say a prospective student inquires about your project management certificate program. As any good web form should, the inquiry form has a relevant, well-written email that is automatically sent to the prospective student the moment they complete the inquiry form.
Now, if this student clicks on this first message about your certificate in project management, they will then automatically receive another email with more industry information, articles, and statistics four days later. Then, a week later, they’ll get another message with resources for professionals working in project management.
If they do NOT click on that first message, about a week later they are going to receive an email from your institution that provides an overview of the range of professional certificates that you offer.
Upon receiving this message, let’s say that our prospective student sees another certificate program that she believes may be more along the lines of what she’s looking for and decides to click on that information and explore it further. That action, clicking on a link to information on your Six Sigma program, perhaps, triggers 2 additional emails over the next two weeks with information about the program and a profile of an employer who has enrolled multiple employees in the certificate and speaks to how impactful it was to their organization.
Our sample prospective students in this case have now received a series of messages totally tailored to their behavior and implied, actual interest. And, here’s the best part. If the marketing team plans and creates all of these messages in advance, today’s technology allows you to set up workflows and these triggered messages all go out on their own.
See below for an example of what the communication flow and execution would look like in DemandMarketer, our cross-channel campaign management software:
Looking to improve engagement rates? Develop custom, behavior-triggered scenarios for message recipients. Students will receive timely, relevant information and you’ll achieve your goal of greater engagement with your email campaigns.
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