Imagine a system that operates with clockwork precision, ensuring no inquiry or question goes unanswered and every communication with prospective family is timely, relevant, and personalized.
Then, picture a "workaholic" on your team who never sleeps or takes a break; whenever a parent or student reaches out, they respond immediately. They're like your behind-the-scenes robot, ensuring everything runs smoothly.
It might sound too good to be true, but this is the magic of automated email workflows — the trifecta of efficiency, nurturing, and engagement. Don't overthink it — use these examples for your own inspiration, but first...
Why is email workflow automation important for schools?
1. They save time
First off, automated workflows save a ton of time. Instead of manually sending hundreds of emails one by one, the system automatically sends communications based on a user’s engagement level or your predetermined intervals. This means your communications are sent without you having to lift a finger, and your staff can focus on other important tasks.
2. They build connections
Secondly, automated workflows can help your school build strong connections with students, families, donors, and other stakeholders in the background. You show you're attentive and caring by sending out the right messages at just the right times — with information families care about. Think of it like having a conversation where you always know the right thing to say!
3. They increase engagement
Lastly, your school can grab and hold the user's attention with the right content. When families get helpful and exciting information, they're more likely to engage, meaning more students attending events, families participating in school activities, or prospective students deciding to enroll.
Automated email workflows are more than just a tech tool —they're a fantastic way for your school to communicate, build relationships, and showcase your best qualities.
But finding the right mix of emails and engagement triggers can be tricky when there are endless variables to consider, like messaging, content, timing, workflow triggers, etc…
Here are a few helpful suggestions for workflows to get you started and communicating more effectively than ever before.
Email automation workflow templates for schools
1. Open House or Admissions Event Registration Workflow
Your school often relies on open houses or admissions events to woo prospective students and parents, and a seamless experience from registration to attendance can make all the difference. When a parent registers for your next open house, have that be the trigger for this 4-step admissions event workflow and get them started with:
1. Registration Confirmation Email:
Right after a prospective student or parent registers, sending out a confirmation email is crucial. This ensures they have all the details—date, time, sign-in location —at their fingertips and can easily save the event in their calendar.
2. Tailored Event Experience Email:
Based on the information collected during registration (like academic interests or hobbies), schools can tailor the event experience. For instance, if a student is interested in the arts, an email highlighting art showcases during the event could pique their interest.
3. Event Reminder Email:
A little nudge never hurt anyone! A few days before the event, a friendly reminder ensures a better turnout, shares day-of information, and can rekindle the excitement of prospective attendees.
4. Post-Event Thank You and Feedback Email:
Post-event, thanking attendees goes a long way in creating a lasting positive impression. Including a call to action for submitting their application and feedback form can also provide valuable insights for future event improvements.
Eagle Hill School includes a “Voices” email in its workflow series — a great way to help introduce prospective families to its school community and then encourage recipients to take the next step and fill out an inquiry form.
2. School Inquiry Submission Workflow
When prospective families submit an inquiry, it's a golden opportunity. Your school needs to harness this interest with timely and informative responses.
1. Acknowledgment of Inquiry Email:
It’s simple courtesy and highly effective. When someone sends an inquiry, automatically letting them know their message has been received can set the stage for what's next.
2. Detailed Response Email:
Each inquiry about admission procedures, curriculum specifics, or facilities deserves a thorough answer. This email should be detailed, addressing the specific questions raised and offering additional resources if necessary.
3. Event Invite:
Invite the prospect to the next admissions event, like an open house or shadow day. It's a great way to get inquiring families and students back on to campus to experience it themselves.
4. Pending Inquiry Reminder or Escalation Email:
Suppose there's a delay in addressing an inquiry. In that case, automated messages can serve as reminders to staff or even escalate the query to higher authorities, ensuring it gets the attention it needs.
3. Online Donation Acknowledgment Workflow
Donations are the lifeblood of schools, and recognizing and appreciating donors can foster a culture of giving, build lasting relationships, and perhaps, most importantly — increase the odds of a donor making another gift.
1. Immediate Thank You Email/SMS:
It sounds simple, but immediately acknowledging a donation with a personalized message can make a donor feel valued. Mentioning their name and donation amount adds a personal touch.
2. Milestone Donation Acknowledgment Email:
Recognizing a donor's consistent support or a particularly generous contribution can be done by sharing how donations are used or a testimonial from a student who benefited directly.
3. Impact Update Email:
Donors love to see their gifts in action. Periodically sending updates on how their donations are making a difference can strengthen their bond with your school.
4. Viewbook or Content Download Management Workflow
Prospective students and parents download content like viewbooks or financial ad brochures to get a deeper insight into your school. You can harness their interest effectively through tailored communications.
1. Download Confirmation & Resource Email:
Once someone downloads content, an immediate acknowledgment ensures they have the right links and resources. It’s also a great opportunity to offer more related content or resources.
2. Follow-Up Engagement Email Series:
Building on the initial interest, a series of emails can further showcase your school's strengths. These emails can nurture the prospect's journey from student testimonials to highlighting unique programs.
3. More Resources for Engagement:
By analyzing how users interact with downloaded content, your school can offer additional personalized resources, like blog subscriptions, event invites, newsletter sign-ups, and more. For instance, if a user frequently accessed science-related content, they might appreciate an invite to an upcoming science fair.
After a request to download its viewbook, Hebron Academy nurtures users with a workflow introducing families to different aspects of their campus experiences, like academics, athletics, and boarding life. It’s a great way to expand on what’s introduced in the viewbook, link back to your site, and develop even more interest.
5. Accepted Student Communication
Once a student has been accepted, the hard work isn’t over yet — they still need to enroll! When managed correctly, this phase can set the tone for the entire student experience at your school and ensure that these students not only enroll but do so with enthusiasm, eager to start their new journey! Share the acceptance details, celebrate the student's achievement, and lay the groundwork for the next steps.
1. Personalized Accepted Notification:
Once a decision is made, send an email congratulating the student on their hard work. This shouldn't be a generic template; ensure it's personalized, reflecting the student's accomplishments and how excited you are to welcome them to campus.
2. Digital Hub Introduction:
Direct students to a dedicated online portal to find all relevant information for the next stages of enrollment. This hub can host FAQs, enrollment procedures, testimonials, and other resources.
Send them some virtual swag to celebrate the good news! This could be a coupon at your online school store, a virtual badge with a branded hashtag, or even a video message from alumni or current students welcoming new members to the community.
4. Enrollment Guidance
Offer clear and step-by-step guidance on the enrollment process, ensuring the student feels informed and supported. Include a checklist detailing the enrollment process's various stages, and as enrollment deadlines approach, send automatic emails or SMS reminders, ensuring the student is on track and has all the necessary documentation.
Baylor School knows the importance of continuing to nurture prospective students, even after they’ve applied and have been accepted. With a streamlined process using Finalsite Workflows, they can keep presenting the value of their experience with automatic messaging about their student and boarding life.
Plus, with detailed statistics about open rates and click-through rates, they can fine-tune their messaging to find the perfect mix to increase engagement and get families to enroll officially.
Marketing and admissions workflows can greatly improve your school's outreach and operations when enhanced with the right messages and content. These workflows save time and effort and ensure each interaction is meaningful, timely, and effective. The key lies in understanding the touchpoints, crafting the right messages, and ensuring consistency. When done right, these emails can be the bridge that connects your school to its most valued stakeholders: students, parents, and donors.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.