Watch the recording of our recent Email and Resources office hours session and explore best practices from the Handshake team as you prep and implement your student marketing strategy for the semester.
Create relevant messaging
Your emails are in competition with every other site or service your students subscribe to, so relevance is key. Subject lines, calls-to-action (e.g. Register for this event or Apply for this job), email language, and audience segmentation all contribute to marketing performance. Here are a few best practices to maximize the impact of your email:
- Keep subject lines concise and action-oriented (we recommend 40 characters or less!)
- Include your call-to-action in the subject line or at the top of the email language
- Limit the length of the email to two scrolls on any given device
- Market events and opportunities that are no more than two weeks away
- Segment your audience by class year, major, industry interest, career development stage, and more
Pro-tip: Students with up-to-date profiles will see more targeted jobs, events, and resources—especially when we launch the student feed!
Align timing to student trends
There are many variables to think about when deciding the timing of an email, which makes it an art, not a science! Email testing run by Handshake has shown that students are generally more active earlier in the day and earlier in the week. With that in mind, we recommend sending heartier information at the top of the week and following up with reminders and/or supplemental social media posts as the week goes on. Ultimately, though, you’re the expert on your students and should align timing with their tendencies!
Put your marketing to the test
Hoping to improve email performance but not sure where to start? Consider creating multiple versions of the same email and sending to a control group and test group to compare the results. Here are some tips for running informal A/B testing in Handshake:
- Choose only one element to change and keep the rest of the content exactly the same, like subject line, call-to-action, or a design element within the email
- For one-time testing, filter and select two groups of students directly from the Manage Students page
- Students > Manage > Apply filters > Select students > Send email to users
- Repeat this process for your second group of students
- For ongoing campaign testing, use labels to split your audience in half and differentiate them from each other for future campaign testing
Let metrics inform your strategy
Review email performance metrics like open rate, click rate, account activations, and more in the Targeted Email tool. This data will help you visualize which type of emails are most engaging or what times of day seem to work best, for example. While there are no standard marketing metrics that every institution can align to, there are two general considerations to keep in mind:
- Engaging subject lines will boost open rates
- Relevant content in the body of the email will boost click rates
The Targeted Email tool also provides insight on how your students are engaging with the Handshake content you pull into your emails—like jobs, events, and employer collections.
Pro tip: Use the bulk download feature to easily compare how your emails and campaigns perform against each other over time.
Get creative with your design process
Creating visually compelling marketing can be challenging, especially if you work on a small team, wear many hats, or don’t have access to a design partner on campus. Keep these tips handy when deciding on design needs for future campaigns:
- Establish a consistent and engaging look by creating duplicate header images in different colorways that can be easily swapped out from email to email
- Save time by overlaying text on student photos that are relevant to the event, job, or opportunity you’re promoting
- Explore different aesthetics, design elements, and templates on free sites like Canva
No designer on your team? No problem! One of your most valuable assets is right in front of you—your students! Consider giving an emerging artist on campus the opportunity to collaborate with your office on compelling designs that resonate with their peers while building their portfolio in the process.
Supplement your marketing efforts with Resources
While students may not be in their inbox all day, their career exploration and job search knows no timeframe. Adding curated content to Handshake’s Resource Library is a way to establish a centralized hub with helpful information and best practices that students can access anytime.
Pro-tip: When creating resources, try adding a compelling cover image, attaching relevant documents, and even embedding videos to further engage students.