9 simple ways to improve your email results

The Education Company have been helping businesses communicate with the education sector for over 26 years. In that time we’ve learnt a thing or two about what does and doesn’t work with schools.

These insights will help you avoid the most common mistakes we see on a day-to-day basis. If you are already doing all of the following, give yourself a pat on the back – you’re ahead of the pack!

Mobile means 'on-the-go'

Over half of the emails sent to teachers’ personal addresses are opened on handheld devices. Therefore, if you’re not building your emails to be responsive*, you’re dramatically reducing your inbox impact.

It’s important that your audience can take action on mobile while on the go. Keep forms short, copy concise, and buttons clear and usable and you’ll get the results.

Keep your calls to action visible, but the number of them minimal...

Outlook is one of the most popular email clients in the world. Much to the chagrin of email marketers everywhere, it doesn't automatically download email images. Make sure your audience know exactly why you are getting in touch at a glance by placing your copy and Call to Action 'above the fold' and in the preview pane.

Calls to Action need to stand out. Using big and bold buttons is an excellent way of achieving this. Not only does it differentiate it from your copy, it also highlights itself as the action you want your audience to take.

Too many Calls to Action will dilute the focus of your email and your audience’s attention. You'll always get better results from a simple, singular ask. Don't ask them to watch a video AND sign up AND view a PDF AND go on your social media AND...

A teacher's most precious resource is time

Teachers are a busy bunch. While many will open your emails, the sad truth is that few will give them more than a quick glance. Your email needs to catch their attention and convey everything they need to know from nothing but a quick scan of the page.

Get your message across quickly: keep your layouts simple; use clear, catchy headers; highlight key text in bold, and use concise, direct language.

If teachers do give you their time, ensure you don't waste the opportunity. Make their user journey quick, painless, and as free of distractions as possible. Remember: it is always better to embed content directly on your website rather than send them elsewhere to view it.

Not every school is the same

One school may have a high proportion of children that don’t show up to class. Another may have advanced students desperate for more work. You can't speak to both of these schools in the same way and expect results.

Segmentation helps you identify characteristics across your audience so you can tailor your message around them. In combination with personas, it can give you a better understanding of the challenges teachers face, and how to talk about them.

Personas based on school data are a great way to identify WHAT to talk about with teachers. Everything from Free School Meal eligibility to Ofsted ratings can help you build accurate personas.

Don’t forget the behavioural data you receive from your emails; that tells you about HOW to talk to teachers. For instance, if your audience habitually clicks on videos at the expense of everything else, it makes sense to engage them by designing future emails around a series of videos.

Let the teachers do the selling for you

Make use of this trend by including testimonials, case studies, and videos of teachers supporting your products in your email campaigns.

Speaking of which…

Content pillars

Building your emails on content pillars will allow your audience to engage with your communications. Emails are the perfect opportunity to show people what your product can do, rather than tell them.

Show them your videos and whitepapers; give away complimentary tickets and timed trials; direct them toward meaningful infographics and content-rich websites.

The more tailored and useful your content is to your audience, the better the response will be to your emails.

Drive your audience to opt-in to your emails with amazing content

The best way to consistently improve your Open and Click rates is to use email marketing to build up a sympathetic audience. Whether your audience has signed up for newsletters on your website or opened an email from a previous campaign, actively generating and courting a permission-based audience can give you a consistent pool that will always be open to your messaging.

Ask them to sign up for your content pillars. If your content is helpful, teachers will want to see it.

Emails are bricks, not the road

Don’t expect a flurry of action off the back of a single email. Emails work best as part of larger, long-term campaigns that are part of a holistic, multi-channel marketing plan. Using emails to drive your audience to your website or engage with your social media is only the first part of a continuing dialogue.

Give teachers a taster

There are only three bits of information a teacher sees before opening your email. You have the Subject Line, the From text, and the oft-forgotten Preview text.

Preview text appears under the subject line and ‘From’ text in most inboxes. If the first element in your email is an image, the preview text will display as unreadable code. Not only does it look tacky but it’s a waste of a potential marketing tool.

Consider the preview text carefully; it could mean the difference between a teacher opening your email or deleting it.