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10.22.19

5 Things Killing Your College's Email Open and Click Rates

Andrew Helland

Coming up with great materials and campaigns is only half the battle for college and university marketers. Strategy and implementation are just as important. In the world of email marketing there’s a lot of opportunity to be had. But what’s the point of marketing if your emails aren’t being opened?

According to marketing platform service HubSpot, the average education email open rate is 32 percent. Unfortunately, that is five percent less than the national average open rate of 37 percent.  With all the clutter and noise going on in email inboxes, it’s easy for your messages to stay hidden amongst the masses.

Below are five things killing college marketers' email open and click-through rates.

Sending at the Wrong Time

An easy way to get your emails forgotten is by sending them out at poor times. If your emails get lost in the chaos of inboxes, they’ll never get opened. While every email interaction is particular, there is endless research on when and when not to send emails. If you’re looking for the highest open rates, Thursdays are the best days to send emails, according to one particular study by Optinmonster. According to the same report, Tuesdays are the best for click-through rates.

Weak subject lines

Subject lines are great opportunities to preview your messages in succinct formats. It’s typical to forget about paying extra attention to the subject line before sending out an email, when there’s already a lot of emphasis on the content of the email. However, using solid subject lines is one of the best ways to achieve high open and click-through rates. Use short and sweet language, and make it audience-specific.  Also, be sure that your subject line’s promise will be met and worth opening, while trying to ease recipients through the buyer’s journey.

Poor Email Design

Choosing a college or university is an important decision in anyone’s life. Make sure your email’s design is attractive. No one is going to want to open a link in an amateur-looking email. Well-designed emails give off trustworthiness and should reflect the reputation of your institution.  Your emails are representations of your institution—make sure they look appealing.

Ineffective Language

This could be anything from poor or unrelatable word choices to grammatical errors to sales-heavy language to click bait-y vernacular. The language of your email can the determining factor of it staying in an inbox or going straight into the trash. Along with design, having unprofessional or ineffective language can make emails appear untrustworthy.

Bad Formatting

Make sure your emails are readable on all types of screens. Young people primarily use mobile devices to read emails, and if your emails aren’t mobile-friendly, it’ll make your open and click-through rates plummet. Making calls to action clear and readable will also help your leads better qualify.


Emails should be a part of any higher ed marketer's strategy. By taking the time to avoid these above mistakes you’ll see your open and click-through rates thrive.  Check out our higher education blog for more great reads.

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