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Best practices

The Non-Marketer's Guide to Creating Student Campaigns

by Sirley Carballo · Oct 18, 2021

On our latest In Your Element Live show, Ardis Kadiu and Erin Newton outlined best practices for student-driven campaigns. Campaigns are a tried and true strategy for recruiting students. But in today’s resource-stretched admissions department, how do you provide a timely, personalized experience for your students, while keeping costs low, reducing workload, and ensuring success?

A student-driven campaign is made up of communications meant to engage students to take a particular action whether it’s to schedule a visit, submit an application, or complete their registration. 

Campaigns comprise multiple touchpoints and should ideally begin when a student has interacted in some way with your school. For example, completed a request for information form or attended an event. Of course, search campaigns, in which a school launches a campaign using a prospect list, remain a big part of student recruiting.

In this episode, Ardis and Erin reviewed a Senior Search Campaign designed to encourage prospective students to submit an application for admission.

With Element451, email templates are ready for your finishing touches and campaigns are scheduled and sent through automated workflows that eliminate the need for manual scheduling. But there’s more that goes into an effective campaign. Ardis and Erin reviewed best practices that anyone on an admissions or marketing team can put to use. They don’t require a degree in marketing, writing, or design.

Best practices for a successful campaign
  • Personalize subject lines by using keywords relevant to students situation, location or interests
  • Put the attention on the student in the first sentence rather than your school (think about meeting someone for the first time in person; you’d likely ask about them before going on about yourself) 
  • Don't repeat info that can easily be found on your website 
  • Move up the Call to Action link or button in case a student does not scroll down
  • Follow the Call to Action with more relevant info that can help inform their decision
  • Feel free to repeat the Call to Action somewhere else in your email
  • Make sure your email is mobile and tablet friendly
  • Your branding and graphics should easily show who is the email is coming from
  • Send the message on more than one channel and customize the content for each channel. In Element451, for example, you can create and send an SMS version of your email in the same editor. 
Engaging students at the right time with automated workflows

Students need to be engaged much earlier than when they submit an application. That way, both students and parents have time to get to know your school, program offerings, campus life, and more. That's why we've put all of our communications experience together and created Packs, so you can easily develop and implement complete, professional looking campaigns long before a student has decided to apply. Packs are pre-built campaigns that include: 

  • Content for weeks-long campaigns (landing pages, emails, texts)
  • Professionally written and designed templates and copy
  • Drag and drop content blocks 
  • Easy personalization to fit your institution’s messaging, characteristics, etc. 
  • Easy personalization to match the students’ interests and more
  • Pre-made automation workflows set up with recommended message cadence 
Generating relevant email topics for your campaigns

You can be sure that students will always want to know more about financial aid and campus life but there are other important topics you can inject into a campaign. Health and well-being is now more important than ever to Gen-Z students, and of course, academics and career outcomes are a must-have. You can survey your current students to know what they wish they would've heard during their enrollment journey. 

By implementing these best practices and utilizing features like Element451’s Packs, your students’ experience will be seamless and more engaging. Your team can work more efficiently with no coding, designing, or marketing degree required. Plus, you’ll be able to look back and see how effective your campaigns were and build better for the future.


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