The stories that lament the death of email marketing are high on hype and low on reality. The truth is that for generating school tours, email marketing continues to hit 80 percent usage, easily outperforming all other channels.
But as with all channels, there are both winners and losers. To come up on top, you have to create emails that catch parents' and students' attention. Marketers write about all kinds of strategies all across the web.
The most effective of them all? Playing to parents' emotions.
We studied near 630 of our email campaigns since December 1st, 2017. We found that campaigns with emotional content performed nearly twice as well compared to those with rational content. The emotional emails yielded a 19% visitation rate on average.
What does this mean for you?
Your primary goal is to inform prospective families about all the great things that are happening at your school. But before educating them, you have to grab their attention. So here are a few extra powerful techniques to spice up your campaigns.
1. Master the art of FOMO
If you’ve ever attended an event because you thought “maybe something exciting would happen,” it was likely due to FOMO – the fear of missing out.
A study of millennials by Eventbrite found that as many as 69% experience FOMO when they are not able to attend an event where their friends are going. Similarly, parents are afraid of missing a fantastic experience.
But FOMO doesn’t only apply to attending events. It applies to all aspects of life and business.
Can you write copy that produces FOMO? Here are some examples:
- Instead of "Join Our Open House" use "Get An Invitation To Our Open House".
- Instead of "Subscribe" use "Access Our School's Updates Reserved Only For Our Inner Circle" (kind of like joining a members club).
- Instead of "Learn Our Tuition" use "We're Updating Our Tuition Rates, Get Them Before Everyone Else".
- Instead of "Request a visit here" use "Chat With Joanna From Admissions Over Coffee In Our Cafeteria".
2. Show the Excitement
Excitement is known for its ability to increase impulsivity and make people quicker to act.
So, if you manage to get a parent excited in your email, they are a lot more likely to decide to visit your school based on the momentum.
The author of 'The Psychology of Social Shopping', Paloma Vasquez points out that:
“In a state of excitement or arousal, people think and behave very differently. Emotional states trump rational thinking; it’s easier to sell to consumers when they are excited.”
A few tips for creating exciting emails:
- Use bright colors in the template design.
- Use exclamation marks and keep your copy short.
- Showcase your school at the most exciting moment of the year.
- Make sure that your school visit or open house sounds interesting in your description.
- Include an additional benefit a the end of your school tour to give the final nudge and make your email irresistible.
3. Create a Curiosity Gap
Put simply the 'curiosity gap' is the discrepancy between what we currently know and what we’d like to know.
And it works wonders if your goal is to get parents clicking.
Copy Hackers (check them out at copyhackers.com) was able to get a 927% boost in clicks on their pricing page after applying the tactic.
And of course, you can also incorporate the 'curiosity gap' into your email copy.
Main tip: Use questions in the headline.
The reason why this works is that people have a natural tendency to want to connect the dots and discover the answers. It will be hard for them to resist reading your email after you have asked a fascinating question.
A 2nd way would be to write a statement that creates a 'curiosity itch'.
We're not chasing clicks here.
We're tickling parents' curiosity so as to then share knowledge with impact.
The template goes as follows:
First share a piece of information, then highlight something your audience doesn’t know yet.
We arouse curiosity and push them to want to find out more. This way, when we eventually divulge the information it has a longer-lasting impact on their memory.
As educators, we are also mentors for the parents in our community. We live in a world of instant answers.
Instant answers are useful to help them get unstuck.
But it’s the memorable knowledge that will make them make a decision.
Try to think of each of your emails as thoughtful educational tips full of insights that make life a bit better for them or their children.
Only this way will you make an impact on their memory and push them towards taking action.
For example: "Only 1 in 3 of our students were choosing our STEAM program -until we made this one change to our curriculum."
Or a little more elegant: "This one change to our STEAM curriculum boosted enrollment 2.2x."
4. Offer A Brighter Future
We all hope that we’re going to be prettier, smarter and funnier.
That’s one of the reasons we try new things — to improve our lives.
In communicating your programs, don’t rely on the negative consequences should families pass on enrolling at your school. Instead, focus on how your school will benefit your students next year as well as 10 years from now.
This also goes for when you reach out for practical reasons. Most negative words can often be reframed.
For example, "We can’t respond until we hear from you" could become "As soon as we hear from you, we will respond".
5. Create a Sense of Urgency
When you give parents too much time to make a decision, they’re going to postpone the conclusion and will likely forget about it.
When presented with limited time, they'll get worried about missing out on the amazing offer.
Applying scarcity and urgency to their website copy helped one of our clients increase inquiries by 332%.
How to create a sense of urgency for your Open House?
- Offer a great offer at the end of your event, e.g., “Enter Our Lottery And Win 10% Off Your 1st Year Tuition ”
- Define clear dates, e.g., “Today only” or “Offer ends in 24h.”
- Keep your offer brief and straightforward.
- Match your emails' offer to a landing page.
Emotions can go a long way in helping to create click-worthy emails.
According to a 2016 Nielsen report, emotions are central to marketing effectiveness.
Applying emotional marketing tactics to your email campaigns isn’t as difficult as it seems. All it takes is smart copywriting and original design. And of course, a touch of creativity.