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  • Writer's pictureUniversity Marketing

Personality in College Search Emails

Updated: Apr 1, 2019

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 second of these three elements: PERSONALITY.

Improved college email marketing with stewart 360
Improve your open and click rates by adding personality to your email marketing.

Prospective students are more tech-savvy and privacy weary than they have ever been. This poses new challenges to college admissions and marketing departments who have increasingly more competition to create messaging that is relevant, captivating, disarming, and ultimately elicits action.

ProTip: “Relevant” means using common language, contemporary lingo, and appropriate references. This is one area where we often see collegiate marketers struggle because they assume that they must maintain a collegiate air about their recruitment communications; forgetting of course that those communications are with high schooler students. High Schoolers use language like “ProTip”, “hashtag” and “life-hack” (ps, did you know that there's an entire website dedicated to life hacking?); they have been virtually trained to click on links that read like the title of BuzzFeed articles.

Despite what we know about staying relevant, many colleges we work with still believe it is more important to remove personal pronouns from their email scripts and aim for absolute grammatical correctness than it is to achieve a conversational and informative tone. Unfortunately, in our experience, these ‘perfect’ emails tend to fall flat when it comes to click and open rates.

To steer clear of this "missing the mark" mishap, we suggest aiming for personality rather than perfection.


Creating emails with personality is actually really easy!

  • Make sure all emails are addressed to their recipient. This goes back to specificity (our previous article).

  • The subject line of each email should be directed to a person.

  • Also, include a picture of the person who is addressing the prospects and draft the email so that it sounds conversational*. To whom should the prospect direct their response? A guidance counselor or admissions department staff? Include a picture of this person and draft the email so that it feels like a conversation between these two parties.

Remember...An email is not a brochure.


We weren’t lying about the BuzzFeed style article titles...

The next step to creating more personality in emails is to release oneself of the strictures of academic language.

Write the way you speak. Don't be afraid to use contractions.

Make lists with catchy titles, eg. ‘5 easy steps to filling out your FAFSA’.

Use current language including slang, eg. ‘How lit is that’?

And above all, have fun.

Remember, writing emails that are relevant and contemporary does not make your communications sloppy, it makes them relatable to your target audience, high school students.

Stay tuned for the next article in this three-part series on Successful College Search Marketing Emails.

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