Built hundreds of website and helped countless schools realise their potential online. Ian should be called upon for straight-talking advice and to make a difference to the way you present your school through every outlet.
Emailing parents can be a bit of a minefield but it's so important to not bin the idea because you don't see the impact you would like to. Emailing can be a powerful tool as part of your wider parental engagement strategy.
This article explains the critical areas around emailing parents you need to understand if you're going to make a success of it.
To understand how to really engage parents via email, you need to get a handle on how they interact with email. So, let's look at a few stats that paint quite a picture:
These numbers are accurate across the board, meaning parents don't engage with email any differently than any other type of email user. To understand the numbers in context, you should approach emailing parents as if they are a 'consumer'.
In actual fact that's exactly what they are! Parents want to consume information on how their child is doing at your school. They want to know what's going on and they do want to engage.
The problem at the moment is that it isn't very easy for them to engage.
Are you sending emails to parents that require you to open a link to view a pdf file? If you received that email from anyone else, what would you do? If any of the people I'm subscribed to (choose from Cotswold Outdoor, Argos and Amazon Prime - sorry!) starting emailing me like that I would unsubscribe after email number two. At the latest.
So why do we just accept that's an acceptable way to send information home to parents?
The best thing to do is shift your mindset and create email templates that parents will engage with. So, the first thing to do is ditch the links to files containing content. The worst thing in the world is having to fight to read content on a mobile device. Parents struggle to read it so don't do it.
If you're thinking of creating a newsletter email then create something that looks good. Make sure if contains the critical information, then link to your website for the rest of the information. You're making your email easy to digest and driving users to your website. Win. Win.
If you're thinking about how to send letters home from your Headteacher, the approach is different. It's all about simplicity and making content fast and easy to digest.
Read more about How to Send Email Newsletters in our previous post.
Don't underestimate just how important it is to craft an email subject line that makes your readers want to open your emails. If you're like me you receive lots of emails every day. The average person receives around 121 emails a day.
That means you have to stand out from the crowd. Historically, part of the problem is that schools and school email providers have believed the lie that they don't need to work hard to get parents to open emails. Parents just should. Do they want to hear about their children's school or not?
That's not the way the world is now. Of course parents want to know how their children are getting on at school and what's going on. But given there are so many other distractions, everyone has to do their bit to stand out.
Here's a few stats to help get to the bottom of what things are really like ...
Ok, that last one isn't, strictly speaking, about subject lines, but wow! What is clear is that it is worth knowing a few tips and tricks to help you get it right. To that end, here's our go to list:
When you come to writing the content for your email, think about what you're aiming for. What is the goal of your email? If it is to keep parents up to date with what's going on in school, use a design that allows you to add in a few news articles, a couple of upcoming events and perhaps some text content. If you're writing a letter that is to parents, perhaps from the Headteacher, the email should look largely like a 'normal' email, without distractions.
Here's our top tips on how to write a great email, no matter what the purpose:
To really get cracking and start seeing significant success in using email to engage parents, spend a little time thinking about what you'd like your email to achieve.
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