One of the most popular trends within the past decade has been the rise of social media. Not wanting to fall behind the times, industries, including higher education, have recognized the benefits of having a social presence. After all, your audience – prospective students, current students, and alumni – are already on social. (Do you know what the top accessed social media networks are in higher education? Find out here!) It’s undisputed that embracing social media platforms are important, however, email should not be counted down and out.
While it may not be considered as flashy or exciting as social media, email has been around much longer and is still very much alive. Here are a few email statistics to keep in mind:
- Larger user base than social media networks – an estimated 3 billion users by 2020
- One of the most popular modes of communication – 205 billion emails are sent daily
- People tend to check their email more frequently than their social media accounts
- 88% of smartphone users actively check email on their phones, multiple times a day
- Responsive design emails get 24% more clicks on mobile devices than unresponsive emails
Think about all the emails you receive on a daily basis. How many do you view on your mobile device, and then forget about moments later? Or delete because the email isn’t relevant to your needs? To ensure your school’s communications don’t fall victim to these scenarios, it’s essential that each email is unique to the intended recipient.
For example, it may make more sense for current students to receive emails about class registration or on-campus events than a donation campaign, which may be better suited for alumni. Email lists can be segmented to target your audience with customized messages, whereas social media has less targeting potential since posts are publicly viewed.
In addition to compelling content, it is also important that the visual design of your emails work on all devices. While computers and laptops are still widely used, people are turning to smartphones and tablets to access emails. Your email may not resonate if it cannot be properly viewed. Responsive design optimizes the display on the screen based on the device being used, thus creating a better experience for your audience, while also possibly increasing click and engagement rates.
While it’s important to incorporate social media as part of your overall communications strategy, you don’t need to be on all platforms, but rather be in the right place to reach your audience. Email is still one of these places!
Some in the industry advise focusing most of your resources on email, and using social media and other strategies to supplement your efforts. Social media can be a great tool to create awareness and drive traffic, and stay in-tune with conversations happening online. It should be approached strategically as part of a well-rounded, diversified communications strategy to get your message across. Some of these messages, however, may be more appropriate and preferred for email than social media. It’s essential to know your audience and their communication preference, what’s important to them, and what valuable information you can provide them.
So, is social media the end of email? No way!