The recent few years have drastically changed the world as we once knew it and many organizations and educational institutions were faced with a new set of challenges. One challenge that stood out for many school districts was student engagement.
Elementary, middle and high school faculty struggle with forming (and keeping) an open line of communication with students and parents. That’s where email comes into play. With nearly 4.26 billion email users worldwide, email is still one of the most powerful means of communication, providing a one-to-one connection and meaningful engagement.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), as of 2020, there were 130,930 recorded K-12 schools in the US. Research shows that more than half of those schools do not use email to communicate.
Why is email an important tool in your marketing toolbox?
- 1:1 Connection: Allows you to connect with students, parents, and faculty on a personal level.
- Affordable: Email is relatively affordable and easy to set up, so it’s an excellent option for schools that want to engage more parents and students without breaking the budget.
- Easy integration: Integrates with other digital platforms like social media, surveys, or event marketing.
- Sent targeted messages: Can easily build target segment groups to send more personalized messages.
- Insightful data: Gives you access to advanced tracking capabilities to fully comprehend how students and parents are engaging with your email messages.
Reach, connect, and engage through email programs
#1 Tailor your messages to segment groups or classes
As a school administrator, one of your key roles is communicating effectively with different segments and groups within the school community. Email is a powerful tool to help you reach, connect and engage with students, parents, and faculty. However, it’s essential to tailor your messages for each group to maximize your communications’ impact.
For example, when sending an email to parents, be sure to include information that is relevant to their needs and interests. When communicating with faculty, on the other hand, you’ll want to focus on messages that relate to their work as educators.
#2 Create visually appealing email messages
It’s essential to design messages that stand out. Here are a few tips:
- Keep the message short and to the point. No one wants to read a long, rambling email.
- Ensure the email looks good on mobile devices. This includes using larger font sizes and avoiding complex graphics.
- Include a call to action. Whether you want people to click on a link or reply to the message, make it easy for them to take the next step.
- Make the email interactive by including polls or surveys. This is a great way to get people engaged with your content and provides you with valuable feedback.
#3 Connect with parents to share progress reports
Keep parents updated on their child’s progress by providing a detailed progress report or link to view online. Parents and guardians can see how their child is doing and what areas need improvement—allowing them to offer support and encouragement.
In addition, school email programs provide an easy way for parents to stay in touch with their child’s teachers and school administrators and helps build strong relationships between parents and the school community.
#4 Share tutoring and other opportunities
Tutoring can be a great way to get ahead in school, but it can also be a great way to meet new friends and learn more about your classmates. School email programs that share tutoring opportunities and schedules can help ensure that everyone can benefit from these valuable resources, those who tutor and the tutees.
Include quick links within the email message that allow students to sign up for these resources and provide in depth information on the types of tutor programs that are offered.
#5 Offer a safe space for students to reach out anonymously
High school can be difficult for students to navigate, and those students may not have the resources at home to aid in trying times.
Offering an anonymous email address or access to an online group where students can share their concerns can help to build trust and encourage engagement. When students feel like they have a place to voice their concerns, they’re more likely to participate in school activities and feel invested in their education. Furthermore, anonymous email addresses can help protect students from retaliation or judgment from others.
#6 Use storytelling to build a personal human connection
As mentioned above, email can help build strong relationships, promote your school’s brand, and increase enrollment. But how do you make sure your school email program is effective? One fundamental way is to use storytelling to build a personal human connection.
Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with people on a personal level. And when it comes to schools, email can be an excellent way to engage your audience and get them excited. Sharing stories about your school’s history, success stories, or even student and parent testimonials can create an emotional connection that will make your school email program more effective.
#7 Provide the ability to share on social media channels (awards, student of the month, etc.)
In today’s world, social media is a powerful tool for engagement. And when it comes to email, providing easy access to share on social media channels can be a game changer. Awards, student of the month, and other recognitions are great examples of how this can work.
In addition, you’re tapping into a powerful motivator by making it easy for students to share their successes with their friends and followers. Not only will this encourage more students to participate in your program, but it will also help to create a sense of community and pride.
#8 Extracurricular activity and event sign-ups
Many school email programs allow faculty to quickly send messages to all parents or students to encourage engagement with extracurricular activities and events. You can use email to promote sign-ups for activities and events, provide information about upcoming events, and even send reminders about deadlines,sports games, or important dates.
#9 Quick access to student portal access for submitting assignments
Send dedicated emails focused on the student portal where students can quickly log in and submit homework and assignments. This portal should be easily accessible from the email itself and designed with students’ needs in mind. By making it easy for students to submit their work, you can encourage them to check their email more frequently and get more out of their education.
Another way to engage students is to offer email program incentives. For example, you could provide fun games and points to students who submit their work through the email link to the portal.
Finally, make it easy for students to stay connected by allowing them to set up alerts when new assignments are due or when there are changes to the class schedule. Providing these tools directly in the email makes it easy for students to use the email program and encourages greater engagement and participation.
Quick tips you can implement right away
Use short subject lines
As any busy student knows, managing a school email inbox can be daunting. Inboxes are often overflowing with messages from teachers, classmates, and administrators. To make matters worse, many of these messages have long, convoluted subject lines that make it challenging to figure out what they’re about at a glance. That’s why it’s crucial to use short, descriptive subject lines when sending email messages in a school setting. Not only will this help the recipient quickly identify the message’s purpose, but it will also make it more likely that the message will be read and responded to in a timely manner.
Personalize with students’ or parents’ name
As any teacher knows, engaging students can be a challenge. One way to help ensure students are engaged is to personalize email messages with their name, grade, class, etc. Students who see their name in the email message are more likely to open and read the content. In addition, including grade and class information or online links (for security reasons) helps to ensure that the message is relevant to the student.
Avoid inbox overload
In education, it’s crucial to avoid over-communicating with students and parents. Too much email can make people feel overwhelmed and cause them to miss important information. It’s essential to be concise and transparent in your messages and only send emails when necessary. People will start to tune out if you’re constantly sending messages. So, when sending emails to students and parents, always think about whether the message is truly necessary.
The key to improving student engagement in schools is finding the best recipe for success. We’ve shared some creative ideas above and we hope you can find at least one or two that you can implement in your schools today.
Continue learning about email programs for educational institutions and check out our other post School District Email Newsletter Guide here.