• University Marketing

Specificity in College Search Emails

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

One crucial element of successful admissions search marketing is a robust and highly specific email campaign.


Email campaigns that are successful at delivering on the vision of the schools they represent will have these three key elements:


  1. Specificity

  2. Personality

  3. Impetus


This article examines the first of these three elements: specificity.


By specificity we mean that the messaging is directed at prospects in such a way as to entice them to open, and ultimately elicits an action such as signing up for a campus visit. Top tier marketing companies, such as Stewart 360, create specificity in email campaigns through “micro-targeting”. Micro-targeting is the use of HTML code to allow for variable email messaging. These emails read like choose-your-own-adventure stories with the story details being chosen based on the demographic and academic indicators that our clients choose.


Increase Admissions with Email Marketing | Stewart 360



Variables are determined based on the needs of our clients. Any raw prospect contact list can be broken into an infinite number of variable groups. If, for instance, a school has a strong Biology program, and regularly purchases prospects who indicate an interest in Biology from test score and list companies, then it would make sense to send specifically Biology related marketing materials to those students. This is where mirco-targeting comes in. Through the use of clever computer coding, Stewart 360 and other top tier search marketers, are able to direct specific messaging about the Biology program only to those prospects that have indicated an interest in Biology. Taking this a step further a Biology prospect, who also qualifies for a scholarship based on test scores should get messaging that indicates both of these facets to them.



Target your prospects with better email marketing. | Stewart 360


A typical Stewart 360 recruitment email will have no fewer than 3 levels of specificity per prospect. Beginning with a first-name targeted subject line, followed by direct messaging that pertains to either the prospect’s major interest or scholarships they qualify for (often both), and ending with the contact information of the admissions counselor whose territory they are in. This is what is meant by the adage that emails allow for a personal touch at scale.


Without specialized marketing tools and the ability to code variability into recruitment emails, typical admissions departments could never hope to make a personal impression on a list purchase of 30,000-150,000 prospects.

At best (and with the best of intentions), we see many departments that choose to send out basic, unspecific, and nearly informationless first touch emails through their CRM’s.


Stayed tuned for the next article in this three part series on Successful College Search Marketing Emails. Next, we will talk about email personality.


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