How many emails has your district sent during the last year? Globally, there were nearly 333 billion emails sent in 2022 alone, and that annual number is expected to climb as high as 376 billion by the year 2025.
Communicating effectively and avoiding email burnout is a delicate balance, but when it comes to district-to-home communications preferences, 82 percent of parents across four generations said email was the most effective way to deliver messages with general information.
With more than just weekly newsletters taking priority, your email newsletter software has had a workout. Going forward, having stronger tools in place to help you do this more effectively will be important, and that’s when email automation comes into play.
Marketing automation allows schools to effectively communicate to their audiences by “automating” repetitive tasks, which allows districts that are short on time and staff stay on top of timely communications.
For schools that are still drafting, designing, and manually sending one-off emails throughout the year, it’s time to automate! Here are just a few reasons why your district’s communications can benefit by using email automation.
1. Work more efficiently, save time, and increase productivity
OK, those are technically three reasons, but automated emails can be used to send reminders, updates, and notifications to students, parents, and other stakeholders, ensuring that everyone stays informed and up-to-date. This can help improve engagement and communication, all while fostering a more collaborative learning environment.
Reusing content, scheduling emails ahead of time, and building automated workflows can save time and resources for your districts by automating routine communication tasks, like welcome emails, and allow staff to focus on more important tasks.
This reduces the need for offices to spend time sending and tracking emails, manually attaching email lists, and recreating content for each email, all of which help school district staff streamline communication processes and get more done in less time.
Colonial School District in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania uses Finalsite Messages to send both school and district newsletters. Relying on dynamic content, it’s a “set it and forget it” mentality, as news and calendar items from each school’s website are automatically pulled and formatted into the weekly newsletters. Automatically pulling content from your school or district’s website to the newsletter keeps things fresh, seemingly without lifting a finger.
2. Measure, track, and improve district communications
Email automation can help your school district improve the overall accuracy and reliability of communication processes, too, reducing the risk of manual errors and ensuring that important information isn't missed or forgotten altogether.
By automatically pulling in calendar content, athletic schedules, and more, email automation can improve communication with students and parents by ensuring that important and accurate information is delivered in a timely and consistent manner — straight from the source.
Metrics like open rates, deliverability rates, and click-through data give insight into levels of engagement and knowing which subject lines work the best, when the ideal time to send an email is, and what’s actually being read throughout your district.
With Finalsite Messages, a dashboard provides key metrics and data points to spot trends, and measure the success of your district’s communications. Once you’ve found that winning combination, you can preschedule communications and know it’s going to the right audiences at the right time.
3. Create consistency and build your district’s brand
Email automation can help to improve a school district's brand by ensuring that all of your email communications are consistent, professional, and on-brand.
How? With Messages and Workfows, automated emails can be customized to include your school district's logo, colors, and brand messaging, helping reinforce your brand identity and building recognition among your community.
In addition, email automation can help make sure that all your communication is delivered in a timely and reliable manner, supporting the overall reputation of your school district while improving trust and credibility.
Bloomfield Hills School relies on Messages to send its weekly communications that are on-brand, easy-to-read, and quick to assemble. Accountability, trust, and better relationships with families? West Bloomfield’s newsletter checks all the boxes.
Finalsite’s Messages software was built for schools as a dynamic, powerful tool to make communications easier, and that means more retention for your district.
Best practices for email automation and districts
Here are several best practices that schools can follow when using email automation to improve their communication:
- For every type of email, develop clear and concise messaging that’s aligned with your school's brand and values. This will help to ensure that all communication is consistent and supports your values.
- Use segmentation and targeting to customize and personalize messages for different groups of stakeholders. This will improve engagement, make messages more relevant, and even boost open rates.
- Use automation rules and triggers to ensure that messages are delivered at the right time and in the right context. This will help improve the timeliness and relevance of communication.
- Test and optimize different email campaigns to ensure that they're effective and that they deliver the desired results. If not, monitor and analyze the results to identify areas for improvement. This will continually improve the effectiveness of email automation for your district.
When your district is coordinating so much throughout the week, the last thing you’d want to think about is drafting yet another email, newsletter, or repetitive reminder to your community. Incorporating automated emails into your communications strategy saves your team time, provides the metrics that allow you to work smarter, and helps establish your school brand as a trusty, timely, and relevant source of information.
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.