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Writing Effective Responses to Student Enquiries: Tips & Tricks

3 min read

Ashlee-Maree Courtney-Eman

Replying to students can be delicate and take some time to perfect. 

We’ve compiled a list of tips to help craft the perfect email to students, focusing on boosting engagement rates and responding to requests for information. 

Short and sweet: When it comes to initial emails, keep your first response short. Leave out overly detailed information or administrative specifics for future communications. Identify the main goal and center your communication around that. If you have too many points for a single email, it may be better to segment this content into a series of emails. Or better yet, use these emails to form a sequence of lead nurturing emails. 

Length of email:  Include no more than 100-150 words for an introductory email. If emails require more detailed content exceeding 200-300 words, consider using links instead. Emails are designed for transmit messages and key pieces of content, so refrain from large chunks of text. 

Use links, not attachments: If you want to share marketing materials such as a program prospectus or an application guide, upload the file online first and share as a link within the email. Attachments can significantly increase the size of your emails, reducing the time it takes to download it and signalling a potential spam threat, making them at higher risk of ending up in Junk. 

Capture them with a great title: A great title is key to a successful open rate. How can you incorporate text to spark curiosity or interest the recipient? Look at using words that prompt action or ask a question.

Don't let the title become too long as a long subject line will drop your open rate, and be more likely to get cut off when viewed on a mobile device. 

Copy of Anatomy of the Perfect Email Response to a Student (1)

Optimize images: In a world saturated with marketing emails, photo-heavy emails can be a big no-no for spam filters. Resize images if they are too big and keep formats to JPG and PNG files.

Add a human touch: Some schools sign off their official email communication on behalf of a faculty, program or the university. Always try to sign off with a specific contact person when able to avoid it feeling generic. 

Ask questions and guide with a call to action: Rather than passively providing information, look to ways you can prompt a response from the student. Questions can be simple as "Do you have any questions?" or "Would you like to set up a call with a counselor?" It can also be helpful to include a direct call-to-action regarding the next steps the student should take. Remember the student doesn't necessarily have to take further action straight away, but let your communication get them on the right path. 

Include multiple contact methods: A student researching their education is likely to look in more than one place to find out about your program or institution. Make it easy for them to reach you, whether by telephone, email, Facebook Messenger, Skype or WhatsApp.

Share social media: Social media is as important, if not even more important than providing a phone number. If you haven't already, begin sharing and including links to your social media in all of your emails and other communication.

Remember the AIDA model: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action — use these four stages as benchmarks to plan your email communication to specific steps and goals. Propel a student from the attention to interest stages with your initial response, then move them to desire with lead nurturing emails, followed by action with later application announcements and other calls to action. Doing this can help steer your students towards a natural conclusion — application.

Overall, these are just a few tips and tricks to help to make your emails more engaging and interesting for your student audience. Do you have more? Share with us here.

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