Take a second to think of how many emails you get a day. Work emails, personal emails, sales emails. It’s annoying. There is no other word. Nobody opens their inbox and says “57 coupon emails and newsletters and a sale at Nordstrom, what a day!” When I was told one of my duties as Marketing Director was to create the school emails, I had a moment of panic. A little voice in my head said you can’t be the person to bombard the inboxes of innocent parents! and then I realized that this was a great opportunity to consolidate the number of emails we were sending and to make full of meaningful information. I still had to create marketing emails for camp, school events, and fundraising. The only thing I could do was make sure all of our emails were as engaging as all of the other materials I produced.
The Weekly Newsletter
Weekly newsletters can really be a double-edged sword. On one hand, your audience knows it’s coming. On the other hand, your audience knows it’s coming. The last thing you want is for people to roll their eyes when another “useless” newsletter falls into their inbox. To establish an expected, reliable email I created a branded email with the same format and sent it each Friday at 5:00. Each week I made sure the most important information was at the top, jazzed up with a clever GIF or fun photo. Links were easy to find in a bright, contrasting color. By the end of the year I had established a consistent and content-filled newsletter that parents came to expect and enjoy.
Marketing Emails: Creating a Subject Line
In addition to the weekly emails, we used Constant Contact to send marketing emails. Since these emails were generally going to people who didn’t have a pressing need to open them (as opposed to the parents who were looking for events and calendars for the next week from the weekly emails), the first thing I had to do was think of a catchy subject line to entice our audience to open the emails. I think the best way to create catchy subject lines are to save catchy ones that have landed in your email inbox for inspiration. I always tend to want use a number (“10 Reasons to Send Your Child to a Montessori School” or “10 Days Left to Register!”). Creating a sense of urgency is great, and I think people like a number list sounds like a quick read. But when I looked at my inspiration inbox folder, I found myself wanting to click emails with emojis. When the school put on The Little Mermaid, I used fish and octopus emojis in the subject line. Look for things that make your emails stand out.
Great, They Opened It. Now What?
You want the layout of the email to say “we’re creative, classy, and innovative” as son as they see it. Make sure your lines are clean, colors pop but are easy to read, and it is mobile friendly. Most of your emails will be opened on phones or tablets. Make sure your photos or graphics are engaging. Nobody wants to see stock photos from Microsoft Word. Send a test email to yourself and click ALL THE LINKS. All of them! Spell check yourself and look for errors. Then send it to 3 people who haven’t seen the email and make sure at least one of those people are not related to the event or product you’re marketing. Does it make sense? Do people know where to click? Once you’ve proofed it, send your email at a good time. Monday mornings are a great time to send emails because people like to check their inbox before starting the week. Of course, if you’re sending a restaurant coupon, maybe Thursday is your better day to catch people heading out for a Friday date night. Just be aware that when you send your email is also important!