How to convert more Applicants into enrolled Students

    How to ensure email deliverability

    Eight ways universities can make sure their marketing emails reach their prospects', students' and alumni's inboxes.
    Last updated:
    December 3, 2021

    Email is an integral way for universities to contact prospects, enrolled students and alumni. But as spam filtering becomes more advanced and dictates that messages must adhere to an ever stricter criteria, ensuring an email’s deliverability becomes more difficult for all institutions. As part of our series explaining how to send better emails, read on for eight key ways to help ensure your university’s marketing mail-outs hop, skip and jump right your contacts' inboxes.

    1. Maintain a good recipient list

    It’s best to send emails to an opt-in list, rather than a third party one. This will minimise the spam-factor since the individuals have given you permission to contact them, and will reduce the likelihood of disgruntled huffs and a reputation for hounding people with unwanted mail.

    2. Check your content

    Any copy that sounds too much like hard-selling will raise alarms. Review your wording and avoid spam trigger words such as 'free', 'guarantee' and 'no obligation', or any other terms last heard in Glengarry Glen Ross. Misspellings, use of all caps and red font are also discouraged. The use of too many of the same characters and symbols is also a red flag: as eye-catching as multiple exclamation marks are, a string of several will ensure your email is mistaken for spam!!! When it comes to exclamation marks, anyway, F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: “An exclamation [mark] is like laughing at your own joke.”

    Attachments may cause you problems. If you want your recipients to download something, it's best to include a link to a landing page where that content can be found. A landing page is also the best place to put a form, rather than embedding it in the body of message.

    3. Make it easy to unsubscribe

    If a person wants to stop receiving your emails but the unsubscribe button is difficult to find, the individual will more than likely revert to marking your email as spam.

    4. Monitor engagement

    Engagement metrics are vital when it comes to email delivery. If a prospect has suddenly stopped opening your emails, you may need to change the type of content you send them or even change the communication method to a phone call to re-engage with them.

    5. Manage bounces

    To ensure your list comprises only valid email addresses, it’s essential to have a system with automatic bounce management that intelligently recognises delivery errors. Soft bounces are recognised by the recipient’s mail server but are returned to the sender because the mailbox is either full or temporarily unavailable. Hard bounces are email accounts denied for delivery due to an invalid email address or an unexpected error during sending.

    6. Email frequency

    You need to find the right frequency to stay fresh in your contacts’ minds without overloading them with emails. Frequency should be influenced by a range of factors, but the best advice is to test your email marketing and segment your audience, so messages can be tailored according to contacts' behaviour and engagement. Campaign Monitor suggests once a fortnight is the sweet spot for getting the most people to see your emails without burning out your subscriber list.

    7. Segment your audience

    This means dividing your subscriber list into groups of contacts who have certain things in common. This helps ensure email content is relevant to different recipients' interests and requirements. For instance, if you create a group of contacts who are registered to attend one of your events, you can avoid including them in a mail-out promoting sign-ups, and instead send them an email with specific details about getting to the event or which speakers will feature and when.

    To provide further examples, segmenting by demographic could allow you to contact subscribers located close to where one of your future events is being held, rather than ones who live in a faraway city; while segmenting by level of engagement could let you send a tailored re-engagement message to subscribers you haven't heard from in a while.

    8. Measure deliverability

    Monitoring deliverability once a campaign is sent out allows you to see how many people actually received the email, opened it, clicked on a link, unsubscribed or marked it as spam. As a result, you can also measure ROI and see which kind of emails work best and are worth your time and effort.


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