Graduate Management News

January 2017

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Make it Happen: Five Tips for Writing Email Copy that Converts

It’s one thing to generate the right leads, but it’s how you nurture your leads through effective email communication that counts. Consider these five actionable steps to write email copy that converts.

Professional Development Tips

Whether you’re targeting candidates through a Graduate Management Search Service ® (GMASS®) search or through other methods, your success depends on communicating effectively with them. Whether you’re extending brand awareness to potential candidates who are early in the admissions process or following up with candidates with whom you have already established a relationship, your ultimate goal is conversion – and most likely the conversion process starts with email.

  1. Write an attention-grabbing subject line. Your prospects receive dozens of emails every day, so be sure that your subject line captures their attention and invites them to open the email and read on. The best way to do this is by making the subject clear and easy to understand while adding a creative personal touch. Consider also that many emails are opened first on a mobile device, so aim to make your subject lines no more than 50 characters long.

  2. Personalize your emails. You’re competing with hundreds of messages in your prospective student’s in box. Make the effort to personalize your emails by segmenting your audience. Admissions professionals can segment through the GMASS search service or by using the GMAC Global Segmentation Study.  Make sure your email message includes a personalized connection beyond your recipient’s name.  Consider writing in the second person by using “you”, “me” and even “us” to convey a tone of friendliness. This is really the simplest way to give your email an immediate tone of friendliness. Use plain language that reflects the demographic and segment to which you are communicating. In the age of social media, your email copy should reflect this.

  3. Match your subject line with your email copy. Your audience is inundated with spam and irrelevant content. You can engender trust and credibility aligning your subject line with your body copy. If you make a promise or a claim in your subject line, then make sure you back it up in your copy.  To that end, write your subject line after you’ve written your content.

  4. Include a clear and compelling call to action (CTA). Motivate your recipient to respond by providing a compelling CTA in your email body. Use words that motivate your readers to take action, whether it’s to visit your website or inquire directly about your program. Consumers (and let’s face it, the people in your audience are consumers) respond more frequently when they’ve read more verbs. Short, simple action words are most effective in emailed CTAs, such as: “start,” “get,” or “sign up.” Keep your CTA above the fold in your email content and use color contrasting buttons to create a visual distinction to optimize your “ask.”

  5. Format for scalability. In today’s information overload world, you need to make your content easy to read. Be cognizant of a short attention span when you write your copy. Ask yourself if your readers can understand your message in five seconds. That’s all the time you’ve got to convince your reader to engage with you further.