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Using e-Marketing to Reach the Millennial Generation


  • Email marketing helps university reach millennial generation.
  • Ennect helps university beat commercial email industry and higher education averages many times over.

The first clue that St. Edward's University is ahead of the curve when it comes to using the Internet comes from Carmella Manges's business card. When you see the words emarketing director -- a title not often found in higher education -- it's evident that this university is committed to connecting with prospective students, alumni and other audiences via electronic communications. Manges uses Ennect Mail as a tool for effective emarketing.

St. Edward's is a private Catholic university of approximately 4,650 students located in Austin, Texas. The liberal arts university has been named as one of America's Best Colleges for six consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report and was selected by The Princeton Review for inclusion in the Colleges with a Conscience guide. It continues to be ranked highly in all categories of the National Survey of Student Engagement.

Delivering Personalization from Email Recruiting to On-campus Experience

As a small university, St. Edward's is able to tailor students' experience so that personal attention is pervasive. An admissions counselor works with students throughout the application and enrollment process. "We use permission based email for recruiting purposes, but what we're really trying to do is open the door for the admission counselor to begin that one-on-one dialogue," explained Manges. Once students arrive on campus the personal touch continues with small class sizes, requirements for community service and numerous involvement opportunities.

Emarketing is an important tool to reach today's prospective students. Students in the millennial generation have the expectation that the Internet and technology will be part of the support structure at a college or university. At the same time, because of the comfort level they have with it, it's the natural channel to engage them for prospecting purposes. Research shows that more students are turning to the Web to find the schools they want to visit and to which they may apply. That was, in large part, the impetus for the university's strategy to move towards an emarketing focus.

St. Edward’s Is Forward-thinking about Marketing

Manges is part of a team of thirteen marketers. "The size of our marketing team is very unusual in higher education," said Manges. "We are fortunate that the university's leadership team values marketing as one of the institution's strategic priorities. St. Edward's is very progressive in that regard, which helps explain why they decided to add an emarketing director. You don't often find someone with my title in higher education."

Ennect Mail has been used to help achieve a number of the university’s marketing goals. "We've used it for domestic and international recruiting, as well as for promoting alumni events and driving online registration. Plus we've used HTML broadcasts for fundraising and a national recruiting program last fall," said Manges. "Most have been quite successful. We measure performance against two sets of metrics: one from the commercial email industry and the other from higher education averages. Here are three examples that come to mind:

  • "An alumni email regarding our homecoming and reunion beat both the industry open rate and the higher ed click-through rate.
  • "An email targeting potential science students tripled the industry click-through rate and exceeded the corresponding higher ed benchmark five times over.
  • "A broadcast promoting the 30th anniversary party of one of our programs exceeded the industry open rate by nearly six times and substantially beat the higher ed benchmark for click-throughs."

Ennect Mail, also, has been useful in reaching out to prospective students outside of the area. The university has sent emails focused on different recruiting audiences, such as international students in Central and Latin America. Knowing that the multi-cultural aspect of St. Edward's is a key attractor for this audience, the university used the email to promote the multicultural events around Austin. Incorporating contextual content in the broadcasts added value for the audience and contributed to its success rate.

"We've used Ennect Mail for domestic and international recruiting, as well as for promoting alumni events and driving online registration."

Carmella Manges

Emarketing Director
St. Edward's University

"We've been very, very happy with Ennect Mail. The performance, ease of use and reporting have all been great. The fact that I can pull down real-time results, a few minutes after a broadcast is helpful. In fact, we wouldn't be using Ennect Mail if it didn't have reporting," said Manges. "For anyone who's trying to get a new HTML broadcast program off the ground and really wants to add this tactic to the marketing mix, it's a great tool."

"If you're a public relations group or a marcom team within a midsize company or a communications firm, Ennect Mail would be a good fit," Manges said. "It's especially good for non-profit organizations because it is so affordable."

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