Blog by Nicky Adams, Marketing Consultant
‘You’ve got mail’ used to be one of the most exciting phrases a fledgling computer-user could hear, perhaps a decade or more ago. But now we take it for granted that email is a part of everyday life – and one that most of us simply couldn’t manage without. So letting parents know what’s happening at your school by pinging an email straight to their inboxes makes a lot of sense for them, as well as for you – have you seen the price of stamps?
If you want to get in touch with someone in a hurry these days you’d no more use the postal service than you would a carrier pigeon. It’s a sad fact that many businesses simply can’t afford to use Royal Mail and if they do unfortunately there is little chance of their missive arriving the next day, or the day after for that matter. Just getting it to the right address at any point in time seems to be a challenge on occasion.
This is something of a tragedy for a country that revels in its reputation for a bright red pillar box on every corner. However, just as snail mail lives down to its name, technology marches ahead, and today we have the miracle that is email – contact anyone, anytime, anywhere with no more than a click of the mouse.
No wonder then that so many businesses – from Amazon to Travel Zoo – use email to sell their wares on a regular basis, and organisations that we have once expressed a fondness for while perusing their engaging website like to use it just to keep us in the loop. How we feel about their jaunty email communications depends a lot on how much we really count ourselves as customers, but, as schools, one of the many excellent things about our customers is that the parents of schoolchildren have a serious vested interest in what’s going on behind closed gates, so when a newsy email from the headmaster pops up in the inbox, they will be more than keen to read all about it. Hopefully just as much as they will the new Boden catalogue anyway.
Certainly communication by email from school to parents is the way forward and many are already using it with great success. Whether a short announcement or notice (an e-shot) or a longer recap of what we’ve all been up to (an e-newsletter) parents appreciate the chance to pick up and read information from the school at a time – and for the 27% and rising of adults with a smart phone (many of whom are parents), a place – to suit them.
Making digital communications look professional used to be a challenge, but thanks to the introduction of easy-to-use templates, all emailed marketing materials from your school can be created according to your school’s design and style guidelines and in a surprisingly short amount of time. Compare the faff of writing the half-termly newsletter items, sending them to the printer, waiting for a proof, correcting any errors, waiting for another proof (multiply according to your confidence in your design and print service’s ability to spot or create a spelling mistake), finally passing for press and, while you’re waiting for the box of printed newsletters to arrive, merrily labelling an envelope for each and every child in the school and looking forward to the joy of an afternoon of envelope stuffing.
Your school’s e-newsletter template is set up with the basic framework of the newsletter – your school’s logo, colours and choice of columns and boxes –with space for headings, text and images. All you have to do is type the newsletter content either directly into the e-newsletter’s Content Management System (not unlike a website), or paste it from a Word document or wherever you’ve been assembling it, and the system will make sure it appears in the pre-determined font, size and style. Upload images and they will also appear, and you can create hyperlinks to pages on your school’s – or other – websites, or host longer documents as PDFs to open when clicked.
Your e-newsletter created, one click will email it direct to all the recipients whose addresses you have uploaded to the distribution list.
For a low-bother, low-cost method of staying in touch with current and prospective parents, alumni, local sports coaches, music teachers, and anyone of influence, digital marketing for schools really can’t be beaten. It’s a good thing those lovely red pillar boxes make such attractive street ornaments…
To find out how mtmconsulting can help you create a bespoke e-newsletter or e-shot template for your school, or to attend our “Schools on the Internet” Workshop on 14th June call Chris Smith on 01502 722 787 or email@example.com
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