higher education email marketing

Higher Education Email Marketing: Alumni Support and Fundraising

In a previous post, we talked about how universities can use email to promote currently-enrolled student engagement. While it’s important to effectively communicate with current students, what about the nationwide droves of alumni that have left your university? Colleges and universities can use higher education email marketing to capture the attention of this diverse target audience through two fundamental email marketing techniques: list segmentation and lead nurturing.

List Segmentation for Higher Education Email Marketing

List segmentation is crucial for ensuring that your higher education email marketing is targeted to the right people. For colleges and universities, alumni can be segmented in a number of ways. If an alumni association of a college or university possesses detailed  records of past students, they will have much more data to work with for segmenting. Here are just a few examples of how list segmentation can improve the effectiveness of your email campaign.

  • Graduation Year – Are they recent graduates or are they reaching their 3o-year class reunion.
  • Current City – Are they close enough to attend events on-campus or should they attend a meeting of a local chapter of your alumni association. Alumni may ignore emails advertising events that are too far away from their current location.
  • Degree Earned – Someone with a B.A. in English may be interested different speakers or alumni events than those with a B.S. in physics.
  • Financial Means (Amount They Can Contribute) – If you have access to this information, you can separate the big donors from the smaller contributors. You should never ignore a group of potential donors. Instead, use calls-to-action that cater to their financial circumstances.

Successful email marketing is all about telling the right story to the right people. Highly segmented and targeted email campaigns will bring significantly more results those with mass-appeal, generic content. However, getting too specific may be more trouble than its worth. Stick to high-level categories and don’t get too detailed

Nurturing Email Lists for Alumni Support and Fundraising

Once your lists are properly and thoroughly segmented, you need to focus on nurturing your leads and  building a relationship that ultimately leads to alumni involvement and donations. For higher education email marketing, colleges and universities should focus on educating and building a relationship with your alumni base through quality email content.

Utilize your list segmentation to let your subscribers know about current events on projects happening at your institution that cater to their interests. While continued education of fundraising “leads” is essential, you should also focus on maintaining a meaningful, two-way relationship with the alumni on your list. Listen to the concerns and opinions of your alumni and respond to them in a compelling way. Always track reader engagement with your email messages to ensure that your emails are not only being read but they are encouraging readers to take action. Whether it’s signing up for an event or making a donation, make sure the calls-to-action are encouraging a response.