Google just announced a Block Sender feature in its Gmail service. This certainly will affect higher education marketing. How much remains a question.
For years now, email providers have been giving users power over their email inboxes. In 2013, Google announced a feature that allowed users to segment certain senders into tabs like “Social” and “Promotions.”
With Google’s new Block Sender function, if a student finds that an email address is being disruptive, she can flag the email so that she never sees email from that sender again.
This service began yesterday on the web and will roll out on Android over the coming week. Once a sender is blocked, all subsequent emails will go to spam. Additionally, Google is adding an unsubscribe function to Android so that students can unsubscribe from a list directly in the app.
What does this mean for Higher Education Recruitment?
Based on our database, 60% to 75% of Inquiry campaign email addresses are Gmail accounts. That’s a pretty significant number of potential students that can now specifically request to never receive email from your school.
Every fall, colleges and universities fill up student inboxes with email addresses acquired from ACT, NRCCUA and other providers. To say that it’s overwhelming, is an understatement. This new feature could significantly affect response rates.
What Can You Do To Increase Your Response Rates?
There are a few things that you can do to keep your response rates up as well as increase enrollment.
First, use a multi-channel strategy. Add content marketing, remarketing and PPC to your mix to expand your inquiries at the top of the funnel. Manage your lead generation sources like a portfolio of stocks. Students who opt in online are more like to respond to visit emails from a school that they have specifically requested information from.
Second, wrap your entire campaign in social media. Throughout the enrollment funnel, it is important to build excitement and a relationship with prospective students. Relationships matter. Use social media to maintain an ongoing conversation throughout the student enrollment cycle.
Google will continue to give inbox power to users so that they can control their content. It’s up to higher education marketers to adapt and give students what they want.