Email Marketing for Schools: A Step-by-Step Guide to a Successful Drip Campaign

school marketing email drip campaign

You’ve got a new inquiry! 😁

Whether you’re a big school or a hidden gem, we all get excited when a family show’s an interest in our school.

Your next move should always be some form of personal outreach. I don’t care how large and in charge you are; it needs to be personal.

After your outreach, it’s time to trigger the email drip campaign.

For folks new to the idea, let’s tackle what a drip campaign is and why it’s important. 

Those in the know can skip down a few sections.

What is a Drip Campaign?

A drip campaign, also called automated marketing, is an email marketing strategy where prospective families receive a set of pre-written automated emails.

It’s called a “drip” because, just like a leaky faucet, you can expect a slow and steady sequence over a period of time. (Also, like a leaky faucet, email drips can get annoying). That’s why the right combination of timing, content, and CTAs (“Calls To Action”–a compelling and clear “next step”) will help you develop a drip that rocks.

What is the Goal of a Drip Campaign?

Your ultimate goal is to enroll new students. 

But the journey from consideration to signing an enrollment contract is a long one for families. Therefore, you should consider multiple drip campaigns based on where the user is in the admissions funnel.

For example, a drip for those who’ve applied and one for those who have been accepted and you are awaiting their enrollment decision.

For this blog, we will create a top-of-funnel drip after the user (presumably a parent) has inquired.

The goal of this drip may be to have them sign up for an admission event, schedule and attend a parent interview, or complete the application.

To achieve your goal, there are three primary objectives.

  • Open
  • Engage
  • Action

We want the user to open each email, engage by reading it, and take action.

Tips to Meet Your Objectives

Sender and Subject Line

When you send the first email in a drip, it’s imperative they open it. So you want to ensure the sender and the subject is easily identifiable.

Choose the sender and subject line wisely to ensure a high open rate. If it comes from the admission director, the user won’t recognize the name if they filled out a general form. 

If you are going to send it from a person and not Truth Tree Academy, make sure your subject line stands out and is easily identifiable.

Experiment with senders and subject lines to see what works best for open rates.

Set the Tone

Decide if you want the sequence to be formal, informal, conversational, authoritative, or some mixture of “voices.”

Make sure the tone is pointed at the right user type. You will want to speak to the parent of a 3-year-old differently than a parent of a 14-year-old. In all cases, ensure the content is simple to read and easy to understand. Your emails should be written at a 3rd-grade reading level and be free of admission-lingo.

Length and Format

According to Boomerang, 75 to 100 words per email will maximize engagement and increase the chance they take an action.

But Trevor, there’s so much information to share!

I hear you, but that’s why this is a drip and not a one-time deal.

Briefly describe the information and then link back to your site to keep the words per email down. 

Use short paragraphs and lists whenever possible to help make your emails more digestible.

Make It About Them

Raise your hand if you have children.

Keep your hand up if you love talking about your kiddos.

Now, be honest, did you really raise your hand? 😏 

Your email doesn’t have to be a one-way info dump. Make it interactive; ask questions about their child, and, if you have it, definitely use the child’s first name.

  • What are Bonnie’s favorite subjects?
  • Would Clyde enjoy learning a second language?
  • What is most important for you, Rachael, when looking for a school for Ross?

Continue to make it about them by leading…with the child.

  • E.g., At Truth Tree Academy, our students…
  • E.g., Stanley will [state the benefit] because [explain the tactic(s)] at Truth Tree Academy.

Build Rapport

All of the above tips are meant to build rapport.

Once you’ve asked them about their child, tell them about you. 

Why do you work at Truth Tree Academy? What’s your background? Tell them a quick story that may relate to information they’ve shared. 

The more you ask and share, the more likely they are to at least reply and hopefully fulfill the action you’ve put in front of them.

Closing and P.S.-ing

The last paragraph of your email should inquire about a general understanding of all that was included in the email. Coupling a closing paragraph and a postscript, a great one-two punch is to tier your calls to action.

For example, the closing paragraph should give them multiple options to schedule a campus visit. Then in the postscript, suggest they complete a bigger step, like applying.

Now that we know our goal, understand our objectives, and learned some tips to create a compelling email drip, let’s break down potential content for FOUR sample emails.

The Email Sequence Breakdown

Email #1

Sender: Truth Tree Academy
Subject: [Parent first name], let’s chat!

Hi [Parent first name],

Thank you for your interest in Truth Tree Academy!

My name is Trevor Waddington, the Director of Admission. As you can probably tell, this is an automated email. I will reach out soon to learn more about your family and tell you more about Truth Tree.

Are there any questions I can answer before our conversation?

With gratitude,

Trevor

P.S. – If it’s more convenient, please consider finding a time on my calendar. Here, you can schedule a phone call or personal tour.

Note: If this email is not opened, schedule a follow-up email (Email 1A) with the same information, but change the sender and the subject line.


Email #2

Sender: Trevor Waddington (if they opened email 1 or 1A).
Subject: Let’s explore Truth Tree Academy for [Child first name]

[Parent first name],

The best way to explore Truth Tree is through our current families! They have already experienced what your family might one day.

Below are some examples of what parents love AND don’t love about our school.

That’s right, we are not perfect. But for so many students, we are the perfect fit for them.

“The teacher-student relationships are phenomenal. My wife and I never understood all the benefits of small classes until Trevor and others explained how much more interactive time our son would have and the academic and social benefits of it. They get to talk and share ideas and experiences, not just get called on to answer questions a few times a day.” Raymond Q., Current Parent of a 4th grader.

“Our first year was a bit rocky. Melinda was new, and the class had been together for several years. She had a hard time fitting in. After we addressed this with her teachers, they created a plan to help, and after about a month, Melinda couldn’t wait to go to school to learn and, of course, see her newly developing friends.”Lauren S., Current Parent of a 2nd grader.

“I love how individualized everything is for my kids. There’s great flexibility allowing the students to show what they learned. My youngest son doesn’t always see it that way. He sometimes thinks the other kids have easier assignments but admits he loves showcasing his knowledge in ways that make him want to learn more.” Abigail V., Current Parent of a 7th and 9th grader.

Now that you’ve heard from members of our community, it’s time to visit and see it for yourself!

Our next open house is Wednesday, October 12, at 10 AM. You can RSVP here. If you’re unavailable on that date, click here to schedule a one-on-one tour.

If you’re unavailable on that date, click here to schedule a one-on-one tour.

See you soon,

Trevor

Email #3

Sender: Trevor Waddington
Subject: What’s NEW at Truth Tree for 23-24

[Parent first name],

For our October 12 open house, we are inviting the entire [Parent Last Name] family. 

We want [Child first name] to interact with our teachers so you can see for yourself how our program could impact [Child first name].

The morning starts with refreshments, followed by a brief introduction from our Head of School, Meredith Kyle. Then we will send you to one of our classrooms where your child will work on a small project with our teachers.

Then, we’ll wrap things up with a campus tour so you can fully experience why Truth Tree Academy is the #1 ranked PK-12 school in the Metropolis metro area. And, of course, the programmatic updates and campus expansions [Child first name] can experience in 2023-24. Open house attendance is limited to ensure ample elbow room, so please register by this Friday, September 30. REGISTER HERE.

With gratitude,

Trevor

P.S. – If you plan to attend the open house and are ready to apply, click here.

Email #4

Sender: Truth Tree Admissions
Subject: Top 5 reasons to attend our October 12 Open House

[Parent first name],

Independent school open houses are all the same, right?

Not at Truth Tree. Here are 3 reasons to attend our upcoming open house.

  1. There are a lot of steps in the admission process. Starting earlier makes it less stressful, and visiting campus is the perfect first step.
  2. If you bring your child(ren), you’ll get to see them interact with our teachers while working on a small project.
  3. We have an expansive campus filled with outdoor learning spaces. Our October open house is much warmer than our January one.

If you can’t attend and would like to schedule a one-on-one tour, we have priority scheduling through November 10.

Register for the open house

Schedule a one-on-one tour

See you soon,

Trevor Waddington

In Closing

Once a person registers for the open house or signs up for a one-on-one tour, a trigger needs to be in place to exit them from this drip.

At the end of admission season, review the data and ask questions like:

  • Which emails were opened the most?
  • If people opted out, which email triggered it?
  • Which email received the most “action.”
  • Did the drip work? How does its effectiveness compare to previous campaigns to get inquiries on campus?

Contact us today if you’re interested in developing your own email drip campaigns but don’t know where to start or how to manage them.

by Trevor Waddington, Founder & President, Truth Tree

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