A DisrupTV Look at the Disruption of Higher Education

A DisrupTV Look at the Disruption of Higher Education Come Explore the Disruption of Education in This Lively Discussion With Three Respected Higher Ed CIOs Every Friday at 2 PM Eastern/Pacific, Vala Afshar and Ray Wang interview CIOs from across the…

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7 Invaluable Tips for Boosting your Email Marketing Conversion Rates

7 Invaluable Tips for Boosting your Email Marketing Conversion Rates

I’ve been writing to you lately about email marketing for colleges and universities from a really high, strategic point-of-view. Today, we’re going to dive deeply into my 7 invaluable tips on boosting your email marketing conversion rate.

1. Write effective subject lines.

In 2015, the Radicati Group estimated that around 269 billion emails are being sent every day. It’s been said that the average office employee gets 121 emails per day and 49.7% of them are spam!

With that many emails cluttering up their inbox, you’ve got to grab your recipient’s attention immediately and get them to open your email as soon as they see it.

Simply put, your email will not convert if it’s never opened.

To increase open rates, you must learn to write effective subject lines:

  • Keep subject lines to around 35 characters.
  • Mention specifics such as numbers, names, or locations to create curiosity.
  • Promise to solve a felt problem.
  • Keep email pre-headers to around 85 characters. More than that, and most email clients will cut off your words.
  • Use emojis with caution. Do they fit your brand? Does your audience respond to them?

2. Trim it down to one call-to-action.

Unlike print newsletters that can have multiple ad pages calling the reader to action, email newsletters convert best when there’s one clear call-to-action.

  • Link all images to the call-to-action’s landing page.
  • Include at least hyperlinked text to the landing page and ask the reader to click on it.
  • Call-to-action buttons can also be included for emphasis

3. Use images wisely.

First of all, images shouldn’t need an explanation. Don’t place imagery in your emails that doesn’t have a clear, distinct connection to the subject of the email.

If you place an image above the fold at the top of your email, make sure there is text like a headline in the image to draw the reader’s attention down into the body of the email rather than distracting them.

Link images to the landing page where you want your readers to go.

Try emails without imagery and test them to see if they convert better than your emails that include imagery. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a hardcore advocate for rich content—but for some audiences, images may not stimulate the response you’re looking for. And besides, sometimes plain text emails can be more authentic and garner more response because it seems like a personal note.

So… test, test, test.

4. Segment your email list.

Use segmenting features in your email service provider to divide your audience into groups based on interest, age, current spot in the enrollment cycle, program, or other criteria.

Once your list is segmented, craft content strategies that appeal to their interests and answer their unique questions.

Also, by segmenting your list, you’ll be able to test different tactics and see if they improve your conversions for each group.

5. Avoid spam filters.

This one may sound pretty obvious, but it is something you really should keep in mind as you craft your email campaign.

The spam folder/filter can seriously dampen your conversion rates, so you’ll need to follow a few rules of thumb to avoid this digital black hole.

  • Send emails from a reputable email service provider (ESP) such as Aweber, MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Emma. Most of these services have a spam checker as part of the service. Use it.
  • Avoid spammy subject lines using ALL CAPS or exclamation points!!!
  • Make sure your emails are being sent using a valid and secure email address and that there is a reply-to address designated. More conversions happen from a real reply-to address rather than info@ or email@.

6. Send content your audience wants to read.

No trick, gimmick, or strategy will work if you’re sending content that your audience isn’t interested in consuming.

  • Make sure your content answers a real question that your reader has.
  • Don’t write about subjects, events, or issues that are unrelated to your brand. (Yes, we’re happy you have a cute, little Chihuahua—but we don’t want to read about her.)
  • Write in a personal fashion. Don’t write as if to a massive group of people. Write as if you were writing to just one individual.
  • Use effective web copywriting principles.

7. Test your emails.

One of the best ways to increase conversions in your email marketing is to test your emails. Try new ideas and see what happens!

This means you need to be reviewing your email campaign reports monthly and quarterly to see which email marketing tactics and strategies are working and which ones are not.

You can only improve what you’re monitoring.

So, continue to test different tactics and measure the results of your email campaign conversions.

To schedule an in-depth audit of your higher education email and digital marketing efforts, please give us a call or send us an email today!

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The Future Trends Forum – A Weekly Live Convo with Bryan Alexander and Guests

The Future Trends Forum – A Weekly Live Convo with Bryan Alexander and Guests I’ve written here before about Bryan Alexander and his outstanding Future Trends in Technology and Education newsletter, which I’ve considered essential and vital reading since 2013. Bryan is one of…

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The 7-Step Email List-Building Formula for Education Marketing

The 7-Step Email List-Building Formula for Education Marketing

It’s hard, time-consuming work. But there are few investments as worthy of your time and effort as building your college or university’s email list.

Do you remember the time you realized that renting an apartment wasn’t necessarily the best way to accumulate wealth? Or at the very least, it isn’t the most effective way to get your net worth out of the red.

While renting has its advantages—and can be beneficial at times to getting you closer to your goals in life—over the long-term, renting just isn’t usually the best financial practice.

This logic applies just as much to marketing as it does to personal finances.

In the digital world, there are only a few things that you own—everything else you rent.

Your social media profiles (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and SnapChat) and all the information they hold are things you rent. They’re all owned by a tech company like Facebook or Microsoft. And they have the right to “evict” you and your higher education institution from their property by shutting down your profile.

Sounds a bit drastic—but it’s true.

More than likely, though, they will simply throttle your reach so as to force you to pay them to get your message out to more people in your friends list.

Sounds unfair? Not really. It’s good business.

They need to make money, and they’re going to make that money from the people who are “renting” their space: Marketers like you.

But let’s not get cynical here. You know that I’m a big fan of using social media marketing.

In fact, here are some articles I’ve written on it:

But while I have a healthy appreciation for the power of social media marketing, you can’t “rent” your way to marketing success.

Thankfully, there are digital assets that you can own.

Your website, your content on your website, and your email list are all digital assets you own.

In this sense, they truly are assets. They generate value for your organization year after year, and no one can arbitrarily shut them down.

All three of these assets are essential for any digital marketing strategy. But so many higher education institutions stop after they’ve created their website and content. Why is that?

Because building an email marketing list is a long-term strategy.

Properly executing a higher education website takes months to conceptualize, draft copy, design, development, and deploy.

Creating exceptional content can take anywhere from days to several weeks to produce.

But building an email list with enough subscribers to generate results for your college or university takes years of consistently applying a list-building strategy.

The strategy isn’t complicated or difficult. It’s applying that strategy over and over again through the years that’s so darn hard—and frustrating!

But you can do it. And you must do it.

  • Over 3.6 billion people have an active email account.
  • The average person spends almost half of a their time on their mobile device checking email. Social media gets a paltry 10%.
  • Over 43.5 million people check their email daily.
  • Email is cheap.
  • Email is personal. No matter how many people are on your email list, each person receives the email as if it were straight from you to them personally.
  • Email is a dependable, proven channel. Sure, things go wrong every now and then, but comparatively speaking, email is “Old Faithful.”

For all of the above reasons, your email list is probably the greatest marketing asset you have.

You could lose your website, content, and social media profile today in a freak stroke of really bad luck. But if you kept the names on your email list safe, you could be back in business tomorrow!

Here’s the simple strategy that will build your higher education email list and bullet-proof your digital marketing strategy.

  1. Decide how subscribers will opt-in to your email list. Creating an email list is not the same as asking the prospective students to request more information, nor is it the beginning of the application. Which means that you can’t just throw in the names and addresses of students you’re prospecting on to your email list unless they’ve given you permission to do so. Building an email list is one of the tools you use to build trust and earn the right to take the relationship to the next level. Even if you do ask some qualifying questions as part of the opt-in, be sure to only to ask for the information you need at that moment to add them to your list and no more.. Bob Johnson illustrates a great way of limiting web forms to the needs of your prospects.
  2. Create email newsletter opt-in forms and place them strategically on your website. Place opt-in forms in such strategic places as sidebar widgets, landing pages, free download pages, at the end of blog posts, and in your header or footer.
  3. Create email newsletter pop-up forms. These are opt-in forms that can appear however you design them to. They can appear when a visitor lands on your homepage, when they try to leave the page, or after having been on your page for a set amount of time.
  4. Offer your visitor something of value in return for signing up for your email list. Create a piece of content your visitor would find helpful such as a college buyer’s guide, dorm life survival manual, or a financial aid reference to help them find the money they need for college.
  5. Encourage subscribers to share your list. Use fun strategies such as contests to win a prize like an iPad, or you can give away a digital item such as an ebook to all subscribers who get their friends to sign up for your newsletter.
  6. Continue creating and publishing great content. Don’t let your email list grow cold by neglecting to send them content that answers the questions that they’re looking to you to answer.
  7. Don’t believe that purchasing a search list and adding it to your email list is the same thing. Your email list is a sacred list, and those individuals have chosen to give you permission to send them quality content. Remember that, and honor the trust.

This seven-step approach is simple, yet highly effective for building your college or university’s email list.

If you would like to know more about higher education digital marketing strategies, like email list building, contact us today for a free consultation!

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NEA President: ‘No Reason to Trust’ Betsy DeVos

NEA President: ‘No Reason to Trust’ Betsy DeVos Lily Eskelsen García sat down with Education Week to talk about the National Education Association’s engagement with the U.S. secretary of education, the threat posed by a looming U.S. Supreme Court case, and the union’s new, tougher charter-school policy. http://ift.tt/2t50fRY

Education and Technology Tweet Recap, w/e 07-08-17

Education and Technology Tweet Recap, w/e 07-08-17 Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers. This week I was a little less active with social media…

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