Over the past several months, we've looked at what email marketing is and the different types of emails you can use to promote your Christian school. In this third and final article, we'll examine how emails are built and discuss how you can create your own emails with practical, easy-to-follow tips!

Creating your own Christian school emails is affordable and easy. Keep in mind, however, that there are different types of emails that your school can use. Create your emails to fit the purpose or goal that you have for each email. Also, remember that your emails are only one part of your marketing campaign message and shouldn't be the only avenue you use for advertising your school.

Before we look at tips to make your emails effective, here's a quick explanation of how emails are built.

How Emails Work

Emails are built with background code in several different ways, including HTML (hypertext markup language), rich text, and plain text. Don't worry; these complex sounding names simply indicate what can or can not be included in an email. HTML emails can include links, images, and attachments. Plain text is just what it sounds like, text only with no images or links. Rich text does allow links but does not allow images.

When considering what emails to send, consider your audience and what types of emails would be most effective. Keep in mind that the more images and content you include within the email, the more memory the email will require for both you and the recipient. Email size is an important factor to consider since file size can affect the sending and receiving of emails.

Creating Your Emails

Now you know how emails work, so here are some handy tips to get you started with emails for your Christian school!

Email Copy Tips

Tip #1 - Have a clear subject line and no spam.

Make sure your email subject line is really what your email is about. Try to include all important information. Imagine if the reader never opened the email and only read the subject line. Would they get the message of your email by just reading that subject line? Make your subject lines as short as possible. Also, try not to include spam words in your subject line (or email for that matter). Spam words are words "seen" by email filters as unsolicited or harmful content-and filters block spam-like emails.

Spam words to avoid include free, cheap, guarantee, among others.. Still not sure or worried your email might be blocked? Run a test email with a free spam check website. The best way to ensure your readers receive your email is to ask them to "white list" or add your email address to their list of contacts.

Tip #2 - Create a catchy headline and call to action (if needed).

All emails need a headline, so make it appealing. Also, remember to tell the reader what your email is really about (similar to the subject line). Think of it as if you had 10 seconds to explain your email. What would you say? Look at newspaper headlines for examples of how to make headlines concise and to the point. Following your headline should be your body copy or main message. At the end of your email, have a call to action (if you're asking your reader to do an action like enroll). If you place your call to action at the beginning or the middle of your message, it could get lost.

Tip #3 - Include scannable copy and contact information.

Make your copy easy to read. Help readers quickly scan your message for important information and details. You can do this by breaking up copy to be in smaller paragraphs, inserting bullet points, bolding important text, or altering text size. Your reader is in a hurry, so make your email as easy as possible to read. Also, never ever forget to include your contact information in every email, whether that's your phone, website, or email. Give readers an easy way to respond if they have questions!

Design Tips

Tip #1 - Pick easy-to-read fonts and font colors.

Be careful to not get carried away with font choices. Yes, there are many fun choices out there, but keep your reader in mind. If they can't read your message because of a poor font choice, your email is a waste of time. Avoid glaring font colors or bright highlighting. This is very distracting and could be viewed negatively by your readers. If you're not knowledgeable of fonts, learn the difference between fonts and discover when to use serif and san serif styles!

Tip #2 - Include photos or graphics where possible.

Liven things up a bit! Add images or graphics to your emails when possible. According to Silverpop™, a prominent email service provider, "Mostly image-based transactional emails received 50% higher clicks through rates than text-based transactional emails." Try online photo websites that allow free photo use, but be sure to follow posted terms of agreement and copyright laws. Better yet, add your own artistic touch. If you are not graphically inclined, get volunteer help from your students' art class or an art teacher to help. Borders can be appropriate if used correctly, but be sparing with images that clutter the email. Remember you want to draw your reader in, not distract him. If using student photos, remember to get parental permission first!

Tip #3 - Use free email templates.

Chances are, you don't have a graphic designer hidden in your supply closet. If you're not an artsy person, don't panic. You can still design emails. Take advantage of the wide range of free email templates available online. There are hundreds of websites with pre-set templates with beautiful graphics already made. Just drop in your text and send! Templates come in a variety of shapes, sizes, layouts, and designs, so pick what's right for your school and be consistent with the email templates you use. You can even create a template of your own! Try to incorporate your school logo or mascot within each email. Remember to link back to your website in your emails or include your school's contact information for the reader.

Here's a sample of a website with free email template for you to get started. There are also many others email templates available online!

Reasons to Use Email

Starting your own Christian school email marketing campaign doesn't have to be daunting. Using the how-to tips above, you can start creating your own promotional or announcement emails in no time at all, and for little or no cost. Plus, it's a great economic alternative to print advertising! Emails allow you to meet your budget without lowering your advertising reach. Just remember when creating an email campaign to think about your overall marketing message. Emails should only be one part of the bigger campaign picture. Track results from emails to see if they work and consider changes or variation for improvement to build positive results. Emails can be designed and sent in a matter of hours or even minutes, and you're virtually guaranteed your reader will receive the message in a format they prefer!

Email campaigns are one of the most convenient ways to reach others. As this series of articles on email marketing has examined, only by reaching out to new audiences and building relationships with currently enrolled families will your Christian school continue to grow and flourish.

Put email to work for your Christian school. Help your school reach out to souls in need of Christian education and the message of God's glory and salvation. As the Bible says, "And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things" (Romans 10:15).

Does your Christian school have questions on creating emails or do you have your own tips on email marketing? Share your comments!