25 January 2021
Increase your email open rate and engagement by harnessing your student voice

Your emails are a powerful tool for conversion and yield: but they only work if students open and engage with them. And with more and more competition for student’s attention, creating a compelling email that will get opened is increasingly difficult. 

At Unibuddy, our mission is to connect prospective students with your best advocates – current students. That’s because the authentic, student voice is the most powerful tool for attracting and recruiting students – your emails are no exception. 

Featuring your students front and center in those emails will boost open rate, affinity to your school, and engagement, which can ultimately contribute to improving your yield and reducing your melt. 

Humanize your institution with your student creators

User-Generated Content is significantly impactful on decision making and brand recognition. Check out these stats from Trend.io:

  • 86% of millennials say that User Generated Content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.
  • 70% of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy.

Using the authenticity that comes from user-generated content is a great way to boost brand trust, and also engage your prospective students

Universities around the world are effectively engaging their prospective students by utilizing their students as content creators. They’re digital natives, and it is easy for them to create impressive and creative content in a range of mediums. 

So feature them in your emails! We’ve seen universities have success with marketing emails that are presented as personal messages from a current student, inviting the prospective student to chat or read a blog.

When Middlesex University sent an email highlighting a current student studying the same program that a prospective student was interested in, they found the email open rate increased by 20%. 

You can use the content students are creating in your emails by embedding vlogs into the email or highlighting a recent blog or social post that one of your students created. 

Make sure that the fact your content is student-created is prominent in the subject line of the email. That subject line is your chance to grab attention, so use the words wisely and shout about what they’ll gain from opening the email! 

Some subject line ideas could be: 

  • “A personal message from your program ambassador”
  • “Check out Britt’s vlog about life on campus 📹” 
  • “Your questions answered by current students” 
  • “I’m a third-year student at USC, Ask Me Anything!” 

Give a compelling call to action

In the Netherlands, Erasmus School of Economics found that when :Chat to a Student: was used as the call-to-action across email, social, and the website it increased their clickthrough rate by 150%! 

What is it about chatting to a student that makes it such a valuable resource for your applicants?

The authentic student perspective, the value of speaking to a peer, the desire for someone who has “been there, done that.”

But in a word: it’s about honesty.

In a peer-to-peer study by Intead, one applicant chatted with a current student via Unibuddy. That current student ambassador was able to address the applicant’s concerns and share experiences. The applicant said: “The Unibuddy student really told me what she thought about the study. And the admission representatives usually only tell you about the good things.”

In that study, respondents overwhelmingly suggested that the information they got from student ambassadors was more honest than the information they would have got from an admissions representative.

And for almost half of the students, that honest perspective was the best part of the conversation. It’s just more proof that your students want honesty and authenticity – and if you can deliver that to their inbox you’ll stand out from the crowd. 

Research suggests that young people are becoming less trusting of universities. And so students will reach out to their peers—who they do trust—for their views and opinions. So, in your emails and in your marketing and recruitment strategy, embrace it and put those peers front and center. 

And here’s the good news for you: peer interactions and student generated content improve yield.

At USC Viterbi School of Engineering, 67% of students that chatted on Unibuddy went on to deposit. 

Bentley University found that an incredible 63% of admitted students that used Unibuddy went on to enroll. 

Harness your best advocates 

Your prospective students want to hear from current students. They are messaging current students through LinkedIn, they are watching vlogs on YouTube, your alumni are giving recommendations to their network.

You can harness those current students, who are your best advocates, to enhance your email marketing. Feature their content and profiles in your emails to boost open rates. And give applicants the chance to directly connect with them to boost clickthrough rate and engagement. 

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