The relationship between a school and its graduates is a very special one. Long after they walked across that graduation stage, students feel as though they made a great impact on the school. Once the alumni have moved on with their careers it can be hard to keep in contact. Some alumni may even feel prompted to donate back to the school that gave them their degree. That is why it is always important for a school to keep in contact with them, to ensure that they feel valued. Emails are the primary method of communication between school and alumni.
You will be hard-pressed to find someone who does not check their email at least once per day. However, the email that you send will not be the only thing that they see. Amongst your email will lie a litany of other emails and potential spam. You don’t want yours to be lost in the shuffle, so how can you strategize to send emails to alumni that will make them pop? Here are five suggestions.
Remove Old Templates in Favor of Personalized Emails
While sticking to your guns with a newspaper-style template can be convenient, it is also almost guaranteed to be ignored by the alumni. Why is that the case? Because there is no sense of engagement or a relationship. Odds are if you send a newspaper-style template email to one alumni, they may get the impression that this is just a computerized message that many others received. Therefore, the alumni may feel as if they are just another person on your email list. Instead of a more professional template, add a humanistic touch and send an email as though you are a friend wanting to catch up. They already receive hundreds of emails in that format every week. You don’t want to make the same mistake.
Include Their Name in The Email
This all has to do with the psychology of the mind. People are more likely to open emails that have their name written in the subject line. Otherwise, they will get the impression that it is just an automated message. While it is important to include personalization into the actual body of the message, you will want to set the tone by introducing their name in the email as well. They may feel that they are needed for something important, and this prompts them to read and even respond. If you haven’t noticed, the prominent theme here so far is including a personal touch into your emails. Do this combined with a call to action, and the alumni will feel like a valued member of a family.
Follow Up with Those You Engage In Multiple Ways
The sad reality is that you are not going to be able to engage everybody that you send emails to. That is all the more reason why you should focus on those who do respond and are engaged with their former school. You can combine sending them emails with other forms of communication. Research has shown that one on one personalized text messages can be very effective. You may see school donation rates increase with the increased engagement that comes with communicating across multiple platforms.
Have A Clear Call To Action
Why are you sending the email? Are you here to send an update on how the school is doing? Or is there a specific call to action that alumni can help out with. In the subject title, instead of a general summary of what you are trying to communicate to them, simply request that they do something. Ask them to click the email that will redirect them to join a community, or simply say that you need something from them. Clear messages and demands will register with people, but the tone is on you to clarify that message.
Place A Photo/Signature at The End
Some people may say that it is merely a formality to add a photo and a signature at the end of email. Once again, this is all about communicating with your alumni in a humanistic way. If there is a picture of a faculty member that many in the school community respect, the alumni may feel an obligation to at least reply to it. You can never go wrong with making alumni feel valued, a picture of the person you are helping may be proof of that. Alumni like to feel there’s an actual human there.
Because of the extra effort, your alumni may even feel prompted to donate back to the school that gave them their degree. That is why it is always important for a school to keep in contact with them, to ensure that they feel valued.
Caryl Anne Crowne is a contributing writer and media specialist for Allegra Network. She often produces a variety of content for marketing blogs.