3 tips to improve attendance with email marketing in the Education industry
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3 tips to improve attendance with email marketing in the education industry

What if you could get a lot more sales and engagement out of your email list without growing its size?

Well, it turns out this is definitely possible.

Today, you’ll learn why you might need a more effective email marketing strategy, not more subscribers, in the higher education industry. Pay attention because you could have untapped opportunities in your existing email list.

Before: Lackluster Results With Current Higher Education Marketing Campaigns

Our client is a technical school with five campuses and six programs. Enrolling in higher education is a big decision. Prospects have to carefully weigh the costs and advantages of attending a technical school.

One of the best ways to turn prospects into students is getting them to attend a campus open house. It’s an excellent opportunity for potential students to see if the school is a good fit.

These events historically have low attendance rate. It was a constant challenge to get people to attend.

Their existing email campaign only generated 50 opens and 3 RSVP’s. Their average open rate was just 6%, and their average clickthrough rate was a measly 0.10%.

When WebMechanix stepped in, results increased by over 1000%. If you’re interested in learning how to increase admission in school, keep reading…

The Higher Education Marketing Strategies We Used

We examined their email campaign. One email was sent a few days before the event inviting prospects to the open house.

Using Hubspot workflows, we created a multi-part email campaign to increase attendance.

This campaign ended up dramatically increasing opens, RSVP’s, and in-person engagement.

The best marketing strategies for a school can be unpacked in three steps…

1. We Sent More Emails To Remind Them (But Not Too Many)

We built a campaign to send multiple promotion emails rather than just one. The first invitation email was sent eight days before the event. Two additional reminder emails were sent the week before.

Emails could be missed or lost in an inbox. Even if people see the first email and are interested, they could be distracted and fail to open it. You have to remember that your product or service isn’t at the center of their lives.

People have other priorities that can prevent them  from RSVPing even if they meant to do so. Anything from a TV show to a family emergency can lose the click.

Sending more than one email was a great way of reminding them and keeping  the school top of mind. People don’t sign up for your email newsletter to not hear from you. As long as you set expectations and send value-packed emails, they want to hear from you.

We made sure to make the emails valuable so they weren’t detected as spam. We steadily increased the frequency of emails but not so much that we were sending too many and annoying them.

2. We Leveraged Plain-Text Versions

Send plain-text versions of emails. It’s a must for email marketing in education. as well to avoid ending in the “Promotions” folder in Gmail.

Plain-text emails appear more personalized. They are less likely to be detected as a promotion and more likely to load across all browsers and devices.

The Gmail Promotions tab isn’t a spam folder since it displays in your inbox. But users are less likely to open your emails if it falls into this tab.

3. There’s Power in the Follow-up

We sent a follow-up email after the event with more information about the university’s programs to people who did not click the RSVP link.

We discovered many prospects were interested but just couldn’t attend the open house.

This email re-engaged people who couldn’t attend. It reminded people to reach out to the university to discuss participating.

The Results

The emails we sent generated 1,500 opens and 179 RSVP’s compared to 50 opens and 3 RSVP’s.

This means that the open rate increased by 3000% and RSVP’s increased by 5966.66%.

With some knowledge of what works in marketing automation and a few tweaks to their email campaign, we yielded results that caused our client to tell us that they had the “best week in years.”

They had four people enroll on the day of the open house at a hefty tuition cost. Before, their average open rate was 6%. Afterward, it was 12%. Before, their average clickthrough rate was 0.10%. Afterward, we increased it to 0.40%.

Marketing strategies to increase attendance don’t have to be sophisticated or fancy. We didn’t have to increase the size of the email list.


The arrival of email marketing paves the way for new strategies in higher education marketing. There could be a lot of untapped money lying in your existing email list if you use effective email marketing strategies in higher education. You can increase engagement and conversion without relying on constantly obtaining more subscribers.

You may not get as dramatic of an increase as us. But you can increase email open-rate, CTR, and online or offline conversions with these tips.

Most people believe that their problem is solely in growing their email list. But what matters more is the engagement and relationship you develop with your list.

What’s the #1 lesson you learned that you can act on now? What’s the #1 email marketing obstacle you’re struggling with? Let me know in the comments, and we’ll try to help for free.

Get a free gift from WebMechanix: “Everything Email: How to Execute & Measure Successful Email Marketing for Beginners.”

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About the writer
William Chou
William Chou
William Chou has years of experience in the world of corporate digital marketing. He is proficient in SEO, paid media, email marketing, and copywriting.

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