Email Marketing Without Subscribers: Getting Started At Your School
Email may just be one of the digital platforms that have transformed exponentially since the dot-com bubble formed. What started as an exciting new way for people to communicate with friends and family has shifted into a multi-million dollar industry where companies compete for prospects to open their messages first.
Of course, email as a means of communication hasn't gone without intense scrutiny. Once scammers and spammers realized more and more people were using it, they moved away from sending physical mail and making phone calls to sending phishing scams and endless offers and coupons through this platform. At this point, you may be wondering, "Is there any point to using email marketing at all?"
In short: yes. There is one big reason for this, and it is the rise of smart phones.
Why Email Marketing?
Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your students on a regular basis. As a marketing method, mailing lists provide some of the highest returns on investment. In fact, HubSpot reported that email marketing generates roughly $38 for every dollar spent—an astounding 3,800% ROI!
Not just that, but email marketing is incredibly versatile. It is one of the most effective ways to reach students on their mobile phones—HubSpot also reported that mobile phone email opens account for 46% of all email opens. Even if there is competition, it is a tool with high visibility and strong engagement with your students. Not to mention, it takes a fraction of the time to connect with them all, opposed to making several phone calls or text messages to each one.
How To Get Started Email Marketing—Without A Subscriber List
So you want to get started email marketing? That's fantastic news! But you will need one crucial thing to starting sending emails: a subscriber list. Without one, your emails will serve no purpose, because there's no one to read them.
Luckily, building your email base isn't as difficult as it seems. Here is how to get started building an email list who will open and read your messages.
Gather Email Addresses Through Your Students
Your first big source of email addresses for distribution is your current students. When students register for your school, they should be prompted to consent to emails from you. At best, emailing to addresses that haven't consented to newsletters results in unopened emails, and at worst, may result in fines under your federal anti-spam laws.
To prevent that, you will want to build lists from addresses you know have expressed explicit consent to receiving updates and newsletters. Once you have gathered email addresses, it's time to look at segmenting your audience.
Segment Your Students Accordingly
Think about the last time you received a generic, boring email that clearly was sent to other people. How fast did you exit the email and carry on with your day. Without segmentation, your students are subject to this kind of newsletter experience.
Segmenting your email database means building tailored lists of similar contacts so you can create unique messages for them. This is a helpful way to drive meaningful interactions and engagement with your students. So how should you be segmenting your audiences? Here are a few ideas to get started:
- New registrants: Send special messaging to new students to make them feel welcomed.
- Long-term students: Send special offers and perks to show your appreciation.
- Attendance frequency: Send specific messages to deter them from dropping out.
- Email engagement: Segment email addresses who don't open their emails frequently to boost your open rate.
There are many more ways to segment your audience. Explore your CRM and see what your students have in common, and what differentiates them. You may be able to build quite a few lists with this information!
Set Up Workflows For Registrations, Bookings, And Other Events
You want to give each of your students a unique, memorable experience at your school. But how much time would it take to write to or call each individual student? Likely more hours a week than you have at your disposal. The good news is that you don't need to sit down for hours to write emails—workflows can do that for you.
Workflows are an organized systems of messaging automated for customers at a specific part of their journey. There are several events you may want to set up a workflow for, such as:
- New registrations: Send a welcome email along with resources they may need.
- Class bookings: Send a confirmation email, reminder, and follow-up for feedback.
- Special occasions: Send wishes for a happy birthday, or a celebration on their anniversary of joining your school.
Students notice when you reach out and send personalized emails, and mastering an automated workflow will help you build stronger bonds with students in your gym, and the ones who are currently away.
Make it easy for students to sign up for updates they want
Finally, one of the most important factors about email marketing is to make unsubscribing an easy option to take—especially if they are prospective students. This isn't just a formality and an issue of politeness, it can also violate anti-spam laws if you don't make unsubscribing from their list simple and clear.
For this, we recommend adding a link at the bottom of your emails, and allowing unsubscribers the chance to tell you why they didn't want to subscribe any longer. That information will help inform you if you are sending emails too frequently, if you're not sending relevant enough content to them, or any other reason someone may not be opening your emails.