5 Places to Collect Prospective Parents' Email AddressesJune 29, 2017
A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in June 2017. We've updated it to include more relevant information.
In case you missed it, email marketing campaigns are still a crucial part of a school's inbound marketing strategy. Even though email marketing started in the 90's (making it one of the oldest digital tactics in the book), it's evolved and changed into a powerhouse that delivers great ROI for businesses and schools.
One thing that's stayed the same, however, is the requirement to have a quality mailing list — otherwise your campaigns are not going to be very successful. The good news is, with a few tweaks to your current marketing, you will be well on your way to building a list of engaged contacts who are interested in what your school has to offer. Without further ado, here are our top five places that you can collect contact information from prospective families.
1. Your existing student database
This one’s a no-brainer but it's certainly worth mentioning. The system you use to manage your existing families' contact details — whether software or spreadsheets — already has a wealth of data available to use. Start by cleaning up your contact details by removing all outdated or incorrect information. You can then migrate your database into your customer relationship manager (CRM) or your email marketing provider. It's very important that you ensure the data is clean before you move it across — this will save you from dealing with and sorting years of outdated records in your new system.
Learn how to tap into your existing network in our post,
Once these details are in your CRM or email provider, you can start reaching out through your email marketing campaign (just make sure you have their permission to do so!). At first, it might not make sense to reach out to existing members of your school community. But there are a number of reasons why communicating with this group is still important.
Reaching out to their network
Every person in your network likely has family or friends who might be interested in what your school has to offer. Sending strong, consistent and meaningful email communications to the parents of existing students keeps your school top of mind, particularly when their family member is looking for school referrals.
Building your reputation
Emails to your student database also significantly affect your reputation and branding in the eyes of the school community. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful sales tool, and engaging, thoughtful emails can go a long way to building rapport.
2. Your website subscribe form
There's no doubt about it — if you want to build your email contact list, your website needs a simple and clear subscribe form. Ideally this form will slide in, pop up or be embedded on all relevant pages on your website, and feed contact data directly into your CRM or email marketing provider. Many schools place their subscribe form in their header or footer, as well as on their blog or news page.
But not all subscribe forms are created equal. In order to ensure your website visitors fill them out, there are a few key things your form should have:
- a clear benefit to subscribing
- some information about how often you will be contacting them if they provide their details
- a strong call-to-action button that stands out from the page.
Another important thing to keep in mind is removing any barriers to subscription. The more information or fields that a subscriber has to provide, the less likely they are to complete the form. Usually the only contact details you will need to get a parent onto your subscriber list will be their email address. You may also want to ask them for their name in order to personalize your communication, or about their communication preferences.
3. Your contact forms
You likely have a number of forms on different pages of your website to capture contact details for a range of various reasons (e.g. to request a prospectus or to book a tour or to ask a question). A great way to build your subscriber list is to include a checkbox requesting permission from the user to add them to your email list. This is a really easy way to gain relevant, new subscribers who have enquired with your school.
4. Your Facebook page
Facebook has a lead generation product which has the objective of collecting email data from Facebook users. This paid product allows you to run a Facebook campaign that captures data directly from the Facebook newsfeed. Having a subscription option on your Facebook page within a tab is also a valuable and easy way to collect email contact details.
Learn more about using paid social media to accomplish your school goals.
Read our post, Spotlight on Paid Social Media for Schools
5. Open days and events
Events, open days and tours are a great opportunity for your team to gather data from a captive audience. To gather the data, you can make providing an email address a part of registering for your event (just don’t forget to ask for permission to send marketing emails when you do it!). If your event is open to the public, you can also have team members or students stationed to gather these details when visitors arrive. You could also have a competition or giveaway at the event to gather names and email addresses from families in your local community.
Wrapping it all up
No matter where you are collecting emails, lead generation and nurturing should always be a part of a well thought-out marketing strategy. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to inbound marketing for schools. It covers all the latest tactics that schools can use to attract, engage and convert prospective families into enrollments.
We also have a number of resources to help you out with your email marketing campaigns: