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Email Marketing Best Practice for UK Adult Education Buyers

Marketing How to Market Courses

 

Email marketing is a cost-effective way to deliver targeted messages, convert leads, and build a deeper relationship with your subscribers.

Email marketing is especially effective in the adult education sector where professionals and adult learners alike can receive updates on new course offerings and dates straight to their inboxes. Share the most relevant courses with your subscribers based on their industry or program of interest and watch the leads roll in!

With ten years of experience offering email marketing services, we've learned a thing or two about creating a great email. Our email marketing service for adult education providers now boasts an average open rate of 27% and a clickthrough rate (CTR) of 10% (compared to the education and training sector average of 23.42% and 2.9%, respectively).

 

Chart comparing open rates between findcourses.co.uk and training industry average

 

Chart comparing click-through-rate between findcourses.co.uk and training industry average

 

We analyzed our email campaigns since January 2019 to illuminate some email marketing best practices. By comparing the top ten highest and lowest performing emails, we can pinpoint what works and what should be avoided in your next email campaign. Read on to discover our email marketing best practices for adult education buyers in the UK.

 

Target the right education buyers

The first step in any email campaign is to get to know your target audience: Identify their needs and wants and direct them to the most relevant content on your website.

Adult education buyers are usually over the age of 18 and are looking to acquire, update, complete or expand their knowledge and skills for professional or personal development. Through speaking with users on findcourses.co.uk, we’ve learned that adult education buyers most often look for local courses at fair prices that can be delivered conveniently and work with their busy schedules.

To make sure your emails are engaging the right education buyers, segment your member database by the following categories:

  • Sector

  • Purchase history

  • Job title

  • Location

Emails that are personalised and relevant to the recipient have higher open rates and lower unsubscription rates than those that are sent to entire member databases. Eight out of ten of our emails with high CTRs were sent to targeted audiences, while only two out of ten of our emails with the lowest CTRs were targeted.

 

Select a short and sweet subject line

Use the subject line of your email to make a great first impression

 

The subject line of your email is your chance to make a great first impression and can make or break your open rates. Make sure to keep your subject line short so that it isn’t cut off when read on a mobile device. We recommend fewer than 60 characters.

Our emails with the highest open rates mentioned a specific date, location, course, or professional area. For example: “Three finance courses with space in July” informs recipients about course subject and dates and “Legal training used by others to get ahead” mentions course subject.

Increase your CTR by asking a question in the subject and answering it in the body of the email. Six out of 10 of our emails with highest performing CTRs asked questions like, “Are your HR skills up-to-date?” and “The oil & gas industry is changing. Are you ready to change with it?”

Finally, your subject line should not make false promises. Offering a discount in the subject line and not following through in the email is a recipe for low CTRs and high unsubscribe rates. If you do offer discounts, avoid the use of exclamation marks and caps lock to keep your emails from sounding spammy and being sent to the trash bin.

When in doubt, many email marketing services allow you to A/B test subject lines so you can choose which one performs best before sending it to your entire recipient list.

 

Keep them reading with relevant content

A catchy subject line is your chance to make a great first impression, but how do you keep recipients interested? Personalisation!

If you’ve segmented your member database of education buyers by sector, purchase history, job title, or location, make sure the content of your email is relevant to them. A newsletter with industry insights or an email featuring your upcoming courses in their industry or location are great ways to personalise your email.

Our analysis has shown that emails featuring a specific course or courses perform much better than emails with general information about the provider. One of our highest performing emails provides a quick statistic about new skills required in a particular industry, and then follows up with courses that help strengthen those skills.

 

Examples of our highest performing content

Industry news highlights new skill opportunities:

 

findcourses.co.uk Industry news highlights

 

Upcoming industry-specific courses are highlighted and described throughout email:

 

findcourses.co.uk industry-specific courses

 

Industry-specific courses available online:

 

findcourses.co.uk industry-specific courses online

 

Encourage clicks with calls to action

Once you’ve grabbed your reader’s attention with relevant content, encourage them to click by inserting strong CTAs. Most clicks occur “above the fold,” or before the reader needs to scroll down, so putting your most important CTAs front-and-center is key.

Bright, beautiful header images without overlay text almost always get clicks so choose an image that will grab your reader’s attention. The first CTA button should then be placed right after a short text and tell your reader exactly where they will be redirected when they click.

Our analysis shows that most people click on course-specific CTAs over vague CTAs. For example, “view all legal courses” or “take this course” perform better than “learn more” or “find out more.” We also noted very low clicks on any CTA promoting something free, like a free consultation or a free trial, which may seem spammy.

Finally, while it is important not to overload your email with CTAs and links, they shouldn’t be hard to find and should always accompany your text. Our best-performing emails feature about 70 words per CTA, while the lowest feature 100+ words per CTA.

 

Choose the best day to send your email

Once you’ve crafted a compelling subject line, created a personalised message with strong CTAs, reviewed your email for spelling mistakes and checked that all links work, it’s time to schedule your email! But when is the best time to hit send?

There are certain times and weekdays when emails are more likely to be opened. Generally, email marketing campaigns perform best on Tuesdays, followed by Thursday and then Wednesday at 10 AM. However, this can vary based on your unique customer set.

Our analysis of the adult education sector has revealed that emails sent on Friday actually have the highest average CTR. Every audience behaves differently, and in our experience education seekers are more likely to interact with emails sent on Fridays.

 

Highest CTR by weekday, January 2019 - June 2020

Weekday

Avg. CTR

Friday

14.75%

Tuesday

10.83%

Thursday

9.95%

Wednesday

9.16%

Monday

8.75%

 

Whether you test how your emails fare on a Friday, or stick to the traditional TTW schedule, one thing is certain: Monday emails will get buried!

 

Ready to experience the power of email marketing?

Whether you’re new to email marketing or looking to improve your existing campaign, we hope our list of email marketing best practices will take your emails to the next level.

If you’d like to take advantage of our high open rates and CTRs that surpass the education and training industry average, we’re happy to help! Read more about our services to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.

 

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Picture of Keely Witherow
Keely Witherow

A native Texan, Keely moved to Sweden in 2016 to complete a Master's Degree in International and European Relations at Linköping University. A strong believer in the importance of study abroad, Keely also studied in Paris at Sciences-Po and the American University of Paris while earning her Bachelor's Degree in Global Studies. She now writes for educations.com, hoping to inspire other students to begin their own study abroad adventure!