Email marketing can be a powerful tool for schools to build meaningful connections with students, parents, alumni, and other members of the school community.
With thoughtful strategy and planning, email allows schools to share valuable information, provide helpful resources, and foster relationships that support student growth and success.
In this article, we’ll explore 11 tips for schools to make the most of email marketing. Whether you’re hoping to improve engagement, increase event turnout, drive donations, or simply serve your students better, these best practices will set your messages up for delivery to the right inboxes at just the right times.
Benefits of Email Marketing for Schools
Email marketing comes with little effort and cost compared to the host of benefits it provides schools. A focused email strategy helps schools boost enrollment and retention rates by establishing consistent, positive connections with prospective and current students from recruitment through graduation.
On top of that, using powerful email marketing tools can make the process easier and more efficient, cutting overall costs and time spent on sending emails manually, checking analytics yourself, etc.
Studies show email open rates in education average around 20%, providing a captive audience for messaging. Email also increases event and program turnout by easily promoting initiatives happening across academics, arts, athletics, clubs, and more.
Segmenting your lists allows you to target the most relevant audiences to drive attendance and participation.
Additionally, email facilitates important school-to-home communications around things like policy changes, safety alerts, absence notifications, and more. It provides documentation that key information was connected to families.
Email raises awareness and dollars for fundraising campaigns, from annual funds to capital projects, by sharing highlights and progress to compel donors to give. Expect a 4-5 times higher ROI than postal mail or print marketing.
Strengthening alumni affinity and engagement also happens through email spotlights on alumni accomplishments, campus updates, and invitations to events and volunteering. This builds your database for fundraising and admissions support.
Finally, schools can promote training events, learning opportunities, and helpful resources to better equip teachers and staff to support students.
In short, schools that develop strategic email programs see increased enrollment, higher event turnout, improved communication, larger donations, stronger alumni relations, and better-supported faculty — all from a free marketing channel requiring just focused time and effort.
1. Send Welcome Emails to New Students
Welcome emails set the tone for new students’ relationships with your school even before they first set foot on campus.
- Send personalized emails introducing key staff and administrators that incoming students and families will be interacting with often.
- Share links to “Class of” websites or groups incoming freshmen can join to connect with future classmates.
- Outline the next steps families need to complete over the summer like forms, orientations, and uniform/supplies purchasing.
Also use email automation to get students excited about special academic programs, arts, athletics, clubs, and other student life opportunities unique to your school. Include links to websites highlighting offerings in these areas.
For example, share how your speech and debate team competes nationally or detail service opportunities through your mission trip club.
This warm, helpful welcome gives incoming families and students a taste of your school’s culture and gets the relationship started on the right foot.
Essentially, your welcome email lays the foundation for new students to feel comfortable, supported, and enthused even months before starting at your school.
2. Share Student Achievements
Spotlight student accomplishments in emails to make families and alumni proud of the school community.
Share when the robotics club takes the state championship, the school musical is selected for the competitive Blue Star Awards, students receive academic honors like National Merit or AP Scholar Awards, or athletes make all-state or sign collegiate letters of intent.
Use storytelling and rich media like photos from competitions, videos of musical performances, images of artwork, or press clippings of big school news featured locally. This allows you to highlight student talents across academics, arts, athletics, leadership, service, and more.
When families feel invested in school successes through email updates, they become your best brand ambassadors.
Similarly, alumni beam with pride seeing email stories of student excellence, increasing their affinity to give back.
Regular emails focused on student achievement nurture a “one school” culture while driving enrollment and fundraising wins.
3. Promote School Events
Email makes driving event attendance astonishingly simple by allowing you to promote everything from music concerts to playoff games to curriculum nights.
For each event, communicate key details like descriptions, dates, times, locations, costs, and registration links if needed. Make emails visually engaging with images like athletic team photos, event posters, or venue pictures.
Send initial event announcements 2-4 weeks out, then follow-up reminders 1 week out and again 2-3 days pre-event. Time the most critical reminder email to hit inboxes the night before or on the day of so it’s top-of-mind.
After the event, follow up with recap emails including images, videos, participant lists, or summaries of key highlights. This continues the event energy.
With segmented lists, you can even personalize emails, targeting students participating, parents involved, most engaged alumni and donors, or the full school community.
Think through timing and target audiences to get messaging in front of the right eyeballs when it matters most. The power of email events promotion cannot be overstated in driving turnout and showcasing your happiest, proudest school moments.
4. Offer College Prep Resources
High schools bear immense responsibility in preparing students for college admissions and success. Email removes barriers families often face in finding helpful college planning information across fragmented websites.
Send monthly emails with SAT prep links, test registration deadlines for Juniors, college essay workshops or application boot camp invites for Seniors, and virtual campus tour options. Share email reminders on FAFSA deadlines with links to guides for completing financial aid forms.
Come May, celebrate college acceptances by allowing seniors to submit photos in their new college shirts or hats to collate in an acceptance pride email blast.
Finally, create a senior college prep email course allowing students and parents to sign up for a full year of monthly emails guiding families step-by-step through the admissions and transitions process from Junior year through freshman fall.
Below is an example of a template that works perfectly for schools:
Offering these proactive resources for navigating college requirements shows families your school’s commitment to student destinies extending even beyond graduation.
5. Curate Custom Tips by Grade
Students at every grade level come with distinct needs, challenges, and priorities. Email allows you to speak directly to each by curating custom tips tailored to where they are developmental.
For elementary students, email monthly character value spotlights reinforcing virtues instilled schoolwide.
- Offer links where families can continue conversations at home around kindness, integrity, respect, perseverance, and more.
- Target middle school students with support adjusting to increased homework loads and juggling extracurriculars.
- Share app suggestions promoting productivity and organization in managing new schedules.
- Also, use email to foster a growth mindset as students experience elevated academic rigor.
For 9th graders send tips for easing freshman transitions like making new friends or navigating finding classes. Share study methods preparing 10th-grade students for increased testing. Use 11th-grade emails to introduce SAT prep options early and prod Juniors to take on leadership opportunities. Help seniors crystallize post-high school planning.
When families feel personally supported through each child’s journey via targeted grade-level emails, they gain peace of knowing the school truly sees and understands their child, raising satisfaction and loyalty.
6. Spotlight Student Work
Shining an email spotlight on remarkable student projects, articles, research, artwork, and other academic outputs makes learning visible while motivating student excellence. This is among the best email marketing strategies that help to build engagement among learners.
Consider asking teachers from each discipline to nominate 1-2 top projects or pieces of student work quarterly or by semester.
For instance, have an English teacher select two phenomenal poems, pick a student-authored article from the Journalism department on a relevant issue or profile story, or feature complex lab research and findings from sophomore biology students.
Then compile nominated student works and publish an email called “Spotlight on Student Excellence” for parents and the school community highlighting standouts each quarter. The email should praise the students’ capabilities while also promoting the teacher and academic department’s role in cultivating such quality outputs.
You could even link to the full research paper, artistic canvas, or other work so readers access the original output. When families consistently see such outcomes from school learning, it compels both current and prospective students towards your programs while celebrating the hard work of teachers driving results.
7. Foster School Spirit
Email gives schools a megaphone for amplifying school spirit, unity, and cultural traditions unique to your community. Send spirit-focused emails leading up to major events like homecoming, rivalry athletic matchups, talent shows, or beloved events on the school calendar.
Share histories of legacy games and what past upsets teach underdog teams this year. Rally the community to come out painted in school colors and with signs, noisemakers, and contagious enthusiasm.
Use email to also preserve and pass down treasured cultural touch points new generations need to inherit like chants, songs, dances, or ceremonies special to the school. Ask respected alumni or retired teachers to pen “history of” emails explaining the meanings of artifacts, paintings, or other symbolic elements on campus.
Introduce silly or endearing school legends all newcomers should know like famous pranks or unbelievable sports records still waiting to be matched today.
Email gives you a format for defining, uniting around, and preserving a distinct school heritage spanning eras of students and families taking pride in your one-of-a-kind traditions.
8. Share Professional Development Wins
Informing families on investments in teachers directly correlates to perceptions of student experience. Send emails spotlighting exciting professional development initiatives equipping your faculty with the latest instructional approaches.
Share when groups of teachers attend conferences focused on relationship-based learning, trauma-informed practices in the classroom, or culturally relevant curriculum design.
Highlight teachers piloting new educational technologies like VR lessons or leading blended learning model transitions.
Celebrate teaching awards email newsletters demonstrating your commitment to gathering world-class instructional talent. And consider profiling standout teachers monthly in an email series allowing parents to connect names, faces, and backgrounds to the incredible faculty influencing their children daily.
When families witness the priority you place on teacher development and mastery, they gain peace of mind knowing the school fosters an environment optimized for student growth. Use email to lift the curtain on the incredible faculty behind the scenes empowering student success.
9. Survey Needs and Interests
Email surveying gives every family a voice to shape strategic decisions and future directions for the school.
Survey on topics like in-demand extracurriculars or athletics not currently offered but highly requested; ideas to deepen cultural awareness and belongingness; facilities/technology enhancements families would support publicly or financially; satisfaction ratings on aspects from academics to uniforms to lunches and more.
Share back top takeaways from each survey in email newsletters demonstrating you listened and will respond with changes that address the most shared community needs and interests.
When families see their feedback directly shapes school priorities through email surveys and response communications, you strengthen public trust and insignia in the brand.
10. Promote Counseling Assistance
Students today deal with immense social, emotional, mental health, and personal challenges unseen by peers and teachers in the classroom.
Email offers a private channel for reminding students and families that school counselors stand ready to listen, support, and guide students through life’s struggles in complete confidentiality.
Send emails at least monthly promoting counseling services available for crises, mental health conversations, or general advising.
Share the background of each counselor so students can identify the best-fit personality and specialty-wise in topics like anxiety, relationships, substance abuse, etc. Feature student testimonials on the value of counseling while reassuring its absolute discretion.
Promote counselor drop-in hours for no-appointment-needed sessions. Email gives you the means to relay privately to households that personal struggles need not be carried alone when compassionate support is available the moment it’s needed. Our counselors change trajectories when students receive the right care at the right times.
11. Continuously Update and Engage
The schools that feel like family are those that communicate beyond surface-level academics. Set a cadence for email newsletters, like monthly or weekly, updating families on happenings ranging from teacher and student spotlights to campus changes to safety alerts as needed.
Break big news via email like the Board approving a major construction project or the school rallying relief funds around natural disasters affecting the community.
Share good news too, like teachers selected for prestigious awards or test scores and college acceptance outcomes beating state/national averages.
Email allows your whole school community to feel informed, involved, cared for, celebrated, and united around the school’s central role in their lives.
By continuously engaging families with well-timed marketing emails and updates showing the school’s heartbeat, you nurture emotional bonds driving satisfaction, referrals, and loyalty spanning generations.
Email marketing gives schools a direct channel to build meaningful relationships with the students, families, alumni, and communities they serve.
Through thoughtful segmentation, valuable resources, celebratory stories, and continuous engagement, schools can foster connections that support students academically, emotionally, and socially while also driving key outcomes from enrollment to donations.
Whether sending a heartfelt welcome, highlighting achievements, promoting your next play, or offering a listening ear — keep your emails purposeful in serving needs and mindful of nurturing bonds. When done right, email cultivates community and fuels the transformations that unfold student by student, year after year, within your school.