CHARTER EDTalk: Email Marketing for Charter Schools

Hi everyone welcome to charter and talks today I’m honored to be speaking with Michael barber here with Barbara Hewitt He has been a digital marketing Guru for many including charter school capital for many many years welcome. Thank you thanks for having me and Stephanie Risto who is leading up all of our Demand gen efforts at charter school capital, so if you’re seeing this it’s probably as a result of Stephanie’s work We’re gonna be talking about email marketing today for charter schools, so Stephanie and Michael take it away get started Let’s begin with the obvious question still work Works really really well. I think they’re I mean no matter where you look across the research studies We continue to see that consumers regardless of audiences regardless of industry this continues to be a channel that they gravitate towards Adobe’s probably done the most work around this channel in terms of research and consumption habits and for the past five or six years they’ve put into a into the market a really really good study on email consumer behavior and Year over a year over a year continues to show that email is still The number one revenue generator for organizations that have distilled a channel if brands are going to be pushing out content to consumers Or to their constituents or their audiences it’s still the place. They say they want to receive that message from on the why? This one’s interesting. This is an interesting question I think Personally there’s a lot of research out there That’s looking at the why of this But I think it’s got to do with everything that consumers are being faced with in terms of choices of where they’re participating online They are getting bombarded by Facebook bombarded by Instagram Twitter. You look at what’s happening from a geopolitical perspective right now and The inbox is the one place that everyone understands It’s been largely the same the last you know 25 years if you will since hotmail came out in 1986 so You know they don’t have to get accustomed to the Facebook newsfeed changing, or you know how do they post a story on Instagram? Reply forward reply to all contact lists They’re largely the same that they’ve been since the beginning of email and so it’s a place where people are really comfortable Specifically when we’re looking at charter schools though, how should they be using marketing? I would say not for students and Anybody under the age of 18 unless they’ve got a very specific Reason to have an email like an Amazon account or they signed up for one of these social networks on Using email they probably don’t even have one unless they’ve been required to from their school Which you do see some high schools certainly require students to have email addresses But it really just depends on the school So this is a this is an a this is a marketing channel that you’re gonna want to use for Parents you’re gonna want to use for board members or potential board members for Community and government involvement with your school all of those constituent groups that surround your students So those are the audiences that are that likely have That’s the place you’re gonna want to use email when it comes to charters is largely for all the Audiences that surround the students in the cause you’re trying to bring forward So I know for a lot of these charter schools. They want to know which tools which platforms They should be using from a thousand foot level like if they have the budget and then at a grassroots level what really? Realistically makes more sense for them so in a thousand foot level this really depends on how you want to use email from a tactical Perspective so a lot of the turnkey student enrollment platforms Especially as you get to you know sort of as you’re maturing as the school They will have some sort of email marketing component built into their platform So that can be used for student enrollment activities that can be used for Letting people know what’s happening at the school on a weekly basis What are the activities that students are participating in what a parent’s need to know on any given week month or year if you will? Most of them have got really robust tool sets built into their platform so that you can utilize them as a sort of 360 solution or an all-in-one solution if you will And a grassroots effort if you’re just starting off and you’ve got no budget. No time and no energy which On any given right almost all the almost all the really great platforms that are out there offer some sort of either free or Sponsored model around their platform so for the sake of example MailChimp is a great one to use if you have under five thousand subscribers They will allow you to use the platform for free as long as their little logo can be at the bottom of your email footer so there are multiple platforms that are out there protocol response Constant Contact and They do the same sort of monetization model that aren’t going to charge a lot for a small subscriber base Now I should get more sophisticated Those platforms have got to be able to grow with you, and as you add more subscribers You’re probably going to be having to pay for that email service provider that being said not a huge expense Even at ten twenty thirty thousand contacts if you’re not doing significant activities around the platform You’re probably getting away with something under the neighborhood of say a hundred dollars per month But as you get more sophisticated these platforms get expensive And there’s certainly more platforms out there that you could do a lot more with as you mature as a school so Some folks out there that haven’t used a platform before and might not understand the benefits of it. What’s the benefit? I’d say a MailChimp over a thousand person BCC live Question this is this comes down to really two things one deliverability So when you’re BC seeing a thousand people if someone marks your email address You’re you know at charter-school calm or whatever your domain is as spam That reflects against your domain really heavily And the last thing you want to do is compromise the deliverability of just your normal day-to-day professional to and from emails getting Characterized as family so having an email service writer gives you some layer of protection from that deliverability perspective The second big piece of this is it’s just all the data that goes around these users in these contacts any one of these email service providers whether it’s Constant Contact vertical response MailChimp Or any one of the hundreds that are out there They allow you to build data profiles around this email address right from what’s their first name in last name so that you could do some personalization inside of that email campaign It allows you to segment groups, so let’s say you’re gonna do you’ve got grades one through five you can segment your Parents or whoever is in those lists by you know where their students are at so that you can target those communications really well Also a lot easier to manage the communications if somebody unsubscribes the provider deals with that unsubscribe for you You don’t have to manage your list that way So there’s a lot of benefits to get you so many better features than just having a thousand people on a BCC list And then certainly from how you’re building your brand as a school right so one of the most important things that schools can do is Build their brand right what does the school stand for and how do you bring that to life facial age of your logo and your? identity and your colors and your fonts and certainly Designing an email inside of Outlook or Gmail is not great you know you can only do so much so if you want to have an email that looks great regardless of whether You’ve got a parent That’s on a phone or whether they’re on a Mac right then all of those email service writers will help you create templates That’ll look great. That’ll work for your brand It’ll build that brand identity for you So there’s any number of key features that you know going outside of Outlook or Gmail or wherever you’re doing that thousand-person BCC list is that you’ll get from an email service provider like MailChimp One more bonus question for you because I think we have the time I know Often when we talk to these schools, they’re like great I want to do email, but how do I start my list like? How do I create a list to send to people I know that that’s a gorilla of a question question? But hey in a 30-second clip. What do you think you’d say there? I’d say the first thing is make sure you’ve got your data cleaned up So you’re not gonna want to import what we would call a dirty list so old subscribers Or parents that aren’t part of the school anymore The second thing is is there’s a couple key campaigns that you want to try and set up if you can you got the bandwidth? You’re welcome series Which is the first email that someone receives when they subscribe is by far the most important email? You’re going to work on You want people to get that right away? Beyond that make sure the data is clean And test your campaigns always make sure is before you send out that first campaign. Have a group of subscribers That could be a parent a teacher could be admin individuals it can be a group of people we trust to be able to send Out that custom paint So they can see what your emails are gonna look like and then you get a little bit in depth actually having day That’s it back to all the hundreds or thousands of people before you send it out awesome, I would like to make one more plug if you want additional resources on how to get those leads in the first place or some of the Tools and platforms that Michael talked about we have those on our site. Just search digital marketing and/or resources on charter school capital work Thanks Michael Thanks, thank you for showing up

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