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2 min read

Email is dead! Long live email!

Email is dead! Long live email!

Any marketer that has been working for more than just a few weeks has done it. We’ve all pushed out a tactic that we knew wouldn’t get much traction.  

Because, as a former colleague once poignantly said to me, “Sometimes you have to buy a billboard along the CEO’s commute to work to get through the day.”

That’s not sustainable in any industry, but it is especially true in higher education where budgets are incredibly tight and the target audience can be fickle, channel agnostic, and shrinking as a group due to the demographic and search cliffs.

While social media, web, SMS, search engines, ChatGPT, and other digital channels (including CollegeVine) have exploded in popularity, the use of email across most industries continues to grow. In 2015, after two years in higher education marketing, I boldly declared that email is not dead but needed to be integrated with other channels. This guy clearly didn’t get the memo because a couple years later he forecasted its demise in this little magazine called Inc.

Email is dead. Long live email.

The fact is, about 347 billion emails are sent and received each day – a number that’s expected to hit 392 billion by 2026. Of course, there’s some artificial bloat in this number as marketers see the challenge and escalate by doing the unthinkable – they send more emails.

It’s like an arms race where more means less for everyone.

Zooming out this means the fight for relevance in an inbox is becoming increasingly intense as everyone continues to hit the send button. Case in point, during the last two years in institutional roles, my average nurture campaigns went from 10 emails to each student to more than 15 to get the same number of inquiries. In talking with several of my former colleagues in higher education, I know I’m not the only one. We’re all tossing emails towards the 392 billion number and wondering why our rate of return is shrinking. 

What I offer you is a giant pause button.

Email performance scorecard

It’s November and most schools have launched a good number of campaigns, but now is a good time to assess what’s working and what should be eighty-sixed. Check out our AI powered email content optimizer (ECO) to see if your subject lines and body copy are resonating with students. Ratings from ECO are built from a dataset of more than 20,000 student ratings of real college emails. It will tell you how students will likely react to your email from an overall score, subject line score, spam factor, school perception and more.

We’ll be digging into email and how it fits within the overall comm flow strategy on the November 9th episode of the VineDown hosted by Emily Smith. She’ll be joined by industry experts and recruitment marketing veterans Joe Bellavance and Roger Jones. I hope you’ll join us.

Now about that billboard for your boss…go with a digital sign with rotating slots. It’s way easier to produce and you only have to buy a couple of thirty-second rotations each day. Otherwise, save your energy for tactics and campaigns that actually resonate with students.

José Mallabo is a marketer at CollegeVine but in a previous life served in cabinet-level positions driving awareness, admissions and enrollment at Morehouse College, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and Helms College. He has also held global communications positions at eBay Inc. and LinkedIn.


Learn More About CollegeVine


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Any marketer that has been working for more than just a few weeks has done it. We’ve all pushed out a tactic that we knew wouldn’t get much traction.

Read More