School communicators juggle a lot of different jobs, and that often includes email marketer.

Being tasked with managing emails and being an expert on email marketing are two different things. And for many school communicators, it’s difficult to get a handle on all of the ins and outs involved in the task.

Expert or not, it doesn’t take very long to figure out that just writing an email and pressing “send” isn’t usually enough to guarantee high open rates. In order to get your email seen — and better yet, get the preferred action or response out of your audience — you need to make sure you’re reaching the right people with the right message through contact list management.

Why Your Contact List Matters

An email newsletter can only be effective if it reaches the right people.

For school communicators, this may be students, parents, community members, or faculty, all of which represent distinct groups that often require specific, targeted information.

List management is crucial within these groups, especially when it comes to ensuring that your emails actually end up in your subscribers’ inboxes. Bounces, dead-end addresses, and unintended recipients who mark your message as “spam” can all lead to difficulties with your outreach. That’s a big deal when so much of the information you’re sending out is time-sensitive and requires some sort of direct response from the reader.

To make sure your emails reach the right people at the right time, you’ll need to regularly manage your contact list. And fortunately, we’ve got some easy tips to help you do it.

How to Manage Your School’s Email Contact Lists

You don’t have to be an email marketing expert in order to efficiently manage your contact list(s). Here are four things that any school communicator can (and should) do to keep their list as clean and accurate as possible.

1. Use an all-in-one marketing automation and CRM platform to keep track of your subscribers

All of your contact list information should be centralized in one location. Ideally, that’s going to be your marketing automation and CRM platform, which doesn’t just store email addresses but also integrates them with other need-to-know contact information so that you can keep everything sorted in one place and easily access key contact data. 

If you’re managing your contact list from here, a lot of the hard work involved in the process will already be taken care of. It will also be easier to make large-scale updates and see at a glance what your lists look like.

2. Use tags and segmentation to send personalized emails

Segmenting your audiences is important for ensuring that you get the right messages to the right groups at the right times.

Your marketing automation platform will be integral to making this happen since it takes a lot of guesswork out of accurately organizing each contact into the right list. Also beneficial are tags, which can be used to further categorize each contact and what types of outreach they should be receiving.

Both of these tactics will allow you to send more relevant, more personalized emails to designated contact groups—the result: enhanced effectiveness of your outreach efforts — and some serious time savings.

3. Sync your contacts with your SIS 

Out of the K12 communicators that we surveyed, 69.2 percent said they sync up with their SIS when adding new email recipients.

By syncing your SIS with your marketing automation and CRM, you’re able to ensure all your contacts are updated. So, newly enrolled families, students who have withdrawn, or any other enrollment developments won’t be lost. 

How you do this will depend on the systems that you have in place. If you’re not sure where to start, contact your marketing automation provider for next steps for SIS integration.

4. Offer a simple sign-up process for new subscribers

Make sure that everyone who wants to join your newsletter list can do so by offering ways for people to enroll in your email marketing right from your website.

Landing pages and pop-up forms are two great ways to do this and will help you keep your list fresh — again without the need for manual input. 

Any sign-up form you include on your site can be linked to your marketing automation platform so that additions are tacked on automatically. You can even add in additional signifiers on the form so that new addresses are properly tagged and segmented from the outset.

5. Regularly clean your list

It’s good practice for any email marketer to regularly go through their list to ensure there are no spammy email addresses, and the same applies to K12 communicators. If you continuously email spam accounts or accounts that are no longer active, you can hurt your deliverability, affecting your future ability to send emails. 

If you’re noticing a lack of engagement with your newsletters, first try various tactics to increase engagement, like A/B testing or sending your newsletter on different days. If you still don’t see an uptick in engagement after trying various tactics, examine the email accounts that aren’t engaging to determine if they should be removed from your list altogether. 

What all of these tips have in common is that they offer foolproof contact list management that doesn’t require a ton of oversight and action on your part. Get each tactic up and running, and you can spend less time managing your list and more time on all of the other things on your to-do list — no marketing degree required.