Segmenting email marketing lists is a tactic that a surprising amount of schools’ admissions teams overlook. If your marketing teams are not segmenting your email subscriber lists, you’re not optimising your email marketing campaigns to their full potential. Here is how segmenting your school’s email campaigns can benefit your email marketing strategy.
Why is segmentation important in email marketing for schools?
Email marketing segmentation is the difference between sending a general blanket email marketing campaign to your whole email list versus mailing targeted emails to smaller segments. Email segmentation allows you to send more relevant content to your audience. The more relevant and personal your email communication is, the more likely your audience will engage with it.
Prospective parents aren’t all the same, they have different interests and requirements so splitting up your email list based on certain audience characteristics can help you increase relevance.
The lack of a proper lead segmentation strategy can be a big limitation holding schools back. With the right email marketing platform, know-how, and preparation, your admissions team can create a segmentation system that will help you to personalise your email campaigns, improve your response rates and maximise your conversions.
How could you organise your email lists? What should I consider?
Segmenting email subscribers can seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry. It’s an evolving strategy and most email marketing tools are set up to handle multiple segments.
Before you start segmenting, it’s a good idea to clean your email list. Separate inactive users brand new subscribers and active prospects. Now you’re ready to define your data points. You can’t build segments without data. Decide what customer data you need, how you’re going to organise that data, and how you’re going to collect the data that you don’t have. Don’t worry if your data is limited though, you can collect information as you go.
Next, you’ll need to create different personas for the prospective parents on your email list. To do this you’ll need to consider what demographic information you have and what their interests and requirements might be. Once you’ve created different personas for your prospects you can choose your email segments.
Then you’ll be ready to create content for your email campaign. Don’t create email content and then decide which lists to send it to. The smartest strategy is to decide which segment you want to communicate with and then send targeted emails to that group.
Once you’ve created your targeted email campaigns, you can send them out using your email marketing tool’s segmentation feature. Finally, measure, adjust and repeat.
What are examples of email marketing segmentation for schools?
Prospective parents can be segmented by many different data points. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to segment your email subscribers so it could be helpful to think about your school’s needs, goals, and resources.
It might be useful to start by defining who is likely to be the key decision-maker and who the influencers might be. For example, mum and dad might jointly have the final sign off, but grandparents could be key influencers if they will be helping to fund school fees or even doing the school drop off. With this in mind, age and gender might be useful data points.
Location and nationality might also be helpful data points. You could segment your email marketing lists by their geographic location; UK based parents versus international parents. Your email communications might also be different for international parents who are based in the UK.
You could also segment your email list based on subject interest. For example, perhaps a prospective parent is most interested in your school’s science department and less so in your school’s sports provision. Therefore, sending them emails about your school’s sporting achievements may make them less likely to open, read and click through.
Demographics could also be another data point to consider. For example, socio-economic group, household income, and profession of prospective parents. You could also use psychographics to determine data points. For example, what are a prospective parent’s values, attitudes and motivations?
Prospective parents on your email marketing list might also be at different stages of the sales funnel. They may just be starting to think about potential schools for their child, or they could be ready to sign up. This will mean that they need different information and communication depending on which point they’re at. Failing to recognise this could be a huge missed opportunity.
What impact does segmentation make on email marketing?
Research shows that segmented email send-outs outperform un-targeted sends. This means higher open rates, more clicks, and ultimately better conversion rates for your admissions team.
Segmenting your emails will improve your email reputation as well. Over time, your audience will recognise that the content they are receiving from you is relevant to them. This means that they are more likely to open your emails and engage with them.
Segmenting email marketing lists will also mean that you probably won’t be sending as many emails to all demographics as before. But this is a positive thing, as when admissions teams email too frequently they run the risk of being marked as spam by recipients. By sending fewer and more targeted emails email marketers personalise their messaging and decrease the risk of their communications ending up in the delete folder.