By Lauren H. Dowdle
As parents and students prepare to head to the classroom, now’s the time to welcome them with an engaging back-to-school email from your educational institution. But with brands, nonprofits, and school systems all sending emails this time of year, make sure your campaign stands out by incorporating these eight best practices.
Remember the details
There’s nothing more frustrating than not having all of the information you need, especially when it comes to heading back to school. Providing the specifics not only allows families to better prepare, but it also keeps them from reaching out to the school with questions (and we know how busy you are).
You’ll want to cover start dates and times for all grades (including orientations), carpool procedures, bus routes, medication drop-offs, lunch costs/menus, attendance policies, and future dates to remember (like parent/teacher conferences). Not only will informational emails engage your students, but it will also help them feel more connected to the school.
While sending details is good, you also don’t want to overwhelm parents. Instead of long lists of information, include a sentence or two about each topic and then link to your site if they want to see more. For example, share two or three upcoming events in the email, and add a call to action (CTA) button where they can view the entire school calendar.
Just because there’s a lot of information to send with a back-to-school email doesn’t mean the design should be boring. Jazz it up by adding photos to break up the text. That will keep their attention longer and help them better read what you’ve put together.
Try to steer clear of stock images when you can, and instead show off photos of staff or students from the previous school year.
Highlight summer activities
School might not start back until fall, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show off what went on during the summer. If your school underwent updates or work during the summer, share content and photos to get families excited about what it will look like when they come back. You can also share exciting news from students and teachers and what they’ve achieved since school let out.
Introduce new faculty
Starting back to school comes with a lot of change. Whatever you can do to better prepare students and their families for that will help the year run smoother—and get them excited for what’s to come.
In your back-to-school emails, be sure to introduce any new teachers or faculty. Include a photo of them, a brief bio, what they’ll be doing/teaching, who they are replacing, and any changes that will come from the shift. You want students and famiiles to feel in the loop.
One of the best ways to stand out with your emails is by providing targeted content. In addition to your general back-to-school newsletter that goes out to the entire student body, also create segmented content based on things like their grade level, groups (clubs, sports, activities, etc.), or pick-up method.
Email those segmented groups with specific school information to provide them with valuable content you know they’ll care about because it directly impacts them. For example, kindergarteners might have different schedules than other grades, or parents of newly enrolled students could need to attend additional events. It will also make the emails feel more personalized when the content is targeted to them.
Send a welcome note
Help families get excited about heading back by sending them a special note from the principal, superintendent, or teacher. The message should let them know how excited they are to see them and for school to start back. Add a personalized touch by including an image of the featured faculty’s signature—along with a photo of them, of course.
To really help families get to know your team, record the faculty member sharing their note, and include a link to the video in the email. Remember: Never attach videos, since this can cause deliverability issues. Instead, embed them into the email or link to them.
Create catchy subject lines
Before they read the amazing back-to-school email, they first need to open it. That means you need to catch their attention straight away with the subject line.
Keep it short and to the point—while ensuring it explains what’s inside of the email. Adding the school, teacher, or principal’s name will help it stand out with a personalized touch. And don’t be afraid to throw in a few emojis!
Here are a few examples of back-to-school email subject lines:
- Welcome back to [school name]! ????
- What to know before school starts back [date]
- Important dates you can’t miss! ????️
- First day of [school name] news!
- We can’t wait to see you tomorrow! ????
- How to be back-to-school ready ????
- Don’t miss the latest from Principal [name]
Also, be sure the “from” name matches whoever the email is coming from. For example, an email from the principal should show his/her name, whereas a general welcome email could come from the school’s administrative office.
Show some excitement
A new school year can feel a bit daunting for both families and staff, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Show your employees and students how excited the leadership team is to get started and a few things they can look forward to during the year. That could be as small as special treat days at school or upcoming events.
Excitement is contagious, so let yours spread with the back-to-school email campaign!