Email marketing: speaking to students directly and personally


In early 2010, the University of Minnesota, Crookston, approached us. Their goal? To get potential students’ attention by reaching them in new ways.

How do students communicate? Would they want a phone call? Forget it. Fax? No way. How about a letter in the mail? Trash it. How could we break through the clutter?

Email was our solution, but not just any “canned” email. We wanted to make it personalized—custom to their specific career interests and college concerns.

How it worked

We used the Engage email marketing platform to create campaign messages that were highly personalized. Gleaned from online form submissions, email content empathized with each individual’s pre-college excitement and anxiety and encouraged students to visit campus. Simply put, if prospects visit, they apply.

Here's a sample personalized email from a UMC admissions counselor.

Here's a sample personalized email from a UMC admissions counselor.

Beyond the direct, personalized emails, we used landing pages, surveys and a t-shirt incentive as part of the data collection process. Later, communications came from admissions counselors representing prospective students’ geography and current students studying in their field.

Listen as Eric Piela, Flint’s digital marketing specialist, explains the email campaign in full detail:

Here’s the real ROI

For fall 2010, there were 493 new students enrolled at the U of M, Crookston (a 12 percent increase in enrollment from 2009), and 250 of them were influenced by the Engage email marketing campaign—that’s 51 percent!

Teens can be tricky to reach, but we spoke to them in a way they understood and appreciated. How have you adjusted your message or delivery to connect with your target audience?

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