The meeting point for digital marketing in higher education

You’ve got mail: Why responsive email is the perfect match for higher education

Email is pretty much the perfect marketing tool for higher education. With email marketing universities and colleges can attract new students, solicit alumni donations and effectively communicate with future students, past and current students.

The benefits of email marketing to higher education institutes include:

  • Costs less than traditional advertising media
  • Further geographical reach than traditional marketing methods
  • Increases fundraising efforts and raise more money
  • Send targeted emails to drive recruitment
  • A/B Split line testing

When targeting prospective students, universities and colleges need to take into consideration that the average age of their target audience is 16 to 18 year olds and therefore the majority of students will be checking their email from a mobile device. In fact, regardless of the age of your audience, new data from the US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q4 2013, 65% of all email is now being accessed via mobile devices in the U.S.

We’re all familiar with the importance of responsive design for websites, particularly when you’re in the business of marketing to students who never leave home without their smart phones and tablets.

In the same way, it’s imperative when sending out email campaigns to have them optimized for mobile. There is something inherently frustrating about being unable to correctly read an email on a mobile device that makes you instinctively want to hover over the delete icon.

Responsive email design considerations

There are a number of issues that a developer needs to overcome when creating a design for an email including:

  • The majority of mobile devices normally block images by default to save on data
  • Alt text for images is often over written with a download button for the image 
  • Content will often either be scaled down and the text will be hard to read or it won’t scale at all which makes it hard to navigate with the small screen

When developing an email design a developer will need a different approach than if designing a one-page website. The design is different as there are a number of constraints:

No Navigation

Email will normally have only have one or two links to different locations as the function of an email is to direct the reader to visit a particular page.

Media Queries

Are not supported on all clients and some clients will overwrite them with built in queries (web based clients).

CSS and HTML Standards do not apply

Not all clients support HTML therefore a number of browsers will remove html commands; this will break the layout of your email causing it to display incorrectly.

No standards defined for email

There are currently no standards for email designs.

Designing Responsive email

When beginning the design process for email you need to understand the sections you will be designing within a single email:

1.Inbox view

This is made up with the From Field, Subject Line and Pre-header

2. Email/Body

This is the main content area.

3. Page/Link

Create a link to the page you wish to navigate the person to. All the sections will be designed within one page; using inline CSS as not all clients support media queries.

Useful links

There are a number of resources currently out there to help you with the design ideas and tips; I’ve listed a few below:


Email is a channel that can consistently deliver high-quality prospects particularly when clean and responsive in design, in-line with the university’s brand and the subject matter is relevant to its intended audience.

Tagged: Responsive, Email, marketing tool, universities

Leave a comment

Previous Post | Next Post


Back to top Back to main listing

Follow Us

Back to top Back to blog home