There are two main reasons why schools must send emails to their contacts. Firstly, to update current or prospective parents and pupils on key event dates, and secondly, to move prospects further along the customer journey towards enrolment. While other types of content such as social media and blogging are important too, emails remains highly effective, allowing you to personalise the content depending on who (which persona group) is set to receive it. Here are three clever emails to send to increase open day attendees and admissions for your school.

A foreword

The way to ensure you are sending the right content to the right people is to collect the correct information through sign-up forms. This is an easy way to see what kind of content each person is interested in receiving. Make sure you ask: ‘Are you a pupil,  student or parent?’ and: ‘Do you already attend the school?’. It is important to not ask too many questions on form fills (this leads to reduced conversion rates) but rather to focus on asking the right questions. For more advice on creating effective forms for conversions, read our guide about questions you should ask on forms.

Once you have effective form fills, you can use them to segment your contact list and send appropriate emails to each group. For the purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on three effective emails to send to prospects.

1. Informative resources

These emails are ideal for prospective students and parents who are early on in their journey to signing up to your school and would benefit from more information on the syllabus, course material and subjects offered. Advice-led content such as ‘How to choose the right prep school for my child’ will be relevant here.  You should also think about downloadable content such as ‘Choosing a Prep School: FAQs,’ and include information about financial aid initiatives, bursaries and scholarships.

If you know that a student has spent a lot of time on your drama and theatre page, then sending them some links to videos of previous shows or details of past productions will be relevant. If a prospective parent has shown interest in your alumni page, they may be looking to see what kind of opportunities your school will create for their child. Send them a link to an article about your students’ acceptance rate at Russell Group universities, or you could even send them research written and conducted by your alumni. These emails are great for prospects who are at the top of your funnel, answering questions they may already have in their mind, or even questions they didn’t know they had –  and thus pushing them further down the funnel.

Here’s an example:

2. Pre-event: emails to increase virtual open day show rates 

If a prospective parent or student has already signed up to attend your virtual open day, then reminder emails are a great way of increasing show rates. Not only are you reminding them of the date, but you can also send useful content that may further persuade them to attend. Here are some examples of emails you should send before your virtual open day:

  • Confirmation email to thank them for signing up to our virtual open day – this confirms their place and makes things feel official. Don’t forget to include a link, such as your zoom link,  to the event here too.
  • Save The Date links to their online calendars – this ensures they won’t forget about the event.
  • Attach digital versions of your prospectus.
  • Video greetings from the Head – a simple video from the Head saying, “we look forward to seeing you at our virtual open day event” can be extremely powerful, especially if they have the time to personalise it for each attendee.
  • Invite people to send in their questions – in this email, make it clear that questions sent in will be answered at your virtual open day – this is likely to boost attendance rates of those who asked questions.
  • Event agenda and checklist – having a clear agenda encourages attendance and sets expectations. Provide a list of everything that will be discussed at the event to be sent a day or two in advance, along with a link to access it. 

Here’s an example:

3. Post-event emails to increase admission rates

Post-virtual open day emails remind parents of the admissions deadline and give them a chance to send feedback. Encouraging parents to confirm their place in advance of the deadline is proven to boost admission rates, as well as helping you improve any further events. In addition, sending useful follow-up emails (automated sequences) about the process with ‘soft deadlines’ such as when to ask for references or when your children should begin preparing for entrance exams can also be very helpful and bring your school to the forefront of their mind. For  anyone who was unable to make the event, you may want to offer a private one-to-one zoom call. As prospects move further down the funnel, you may want to offer meetings with an admissions officer, head of year, subject teacher, the school board or even the headteacher.

Here are some ideas of post-event emails you can send:

  • Thanks for attending – include useful information such as deadlines, financial support info, links to admissions applications and prospectuses. You can also include a post-event survey here. 
  • Sorry we missed you – send this to those who didn’t attend. Include a link with the recording, or invite them to join you on another day, whether it’s a personal call or another virtual open day event.

Final note

Make sure your email includes a call-to-action (CTA). Example CTAs include ‘book your place’, ‘find out more’ or ‘download our prospectus’. This strengthens the relationship  between your institution and the prospect and gives you further information on what kind of content they want to receive more of. If executed correctly, this should increase open day attendees and admissions.

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