Updated: Jan 17
by Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree
You open your email and get an immediate dopamine rush.
You see a fresh inquiry pop up in your inbox. It’s the parents of a rising sixth-grader, which is perfect because middle school enrollment needs a boost.
Based on the information presented: parent name, parent email address, student name, grade of interest, you carefully craft an email and hit send.
Two days go by and still no reply.
How could they not return my email? Isn’t their child’s education of the utmost importance?
Here are 5 reasons why they may not have responded and how to fix it.
The Sender If the parent filled out a form or emailed admissions@, they don’t know your name. Even if they read your welcome letter, they probably don’t remember it. A compelling solution is to create a second email account where the name of your school is the sender, e.g., Truth Tree Academy or Truth Tree Academy Admissions.
The Subject Line If you send it from your email address, then your subject line needs to capture their attention. A few suggestions include using the parent’s first name in the subject line, including an eye-catching emoji, or my favorite, using the child’s first name like this: [child’s first name] @ Truth Tree Academy. Psychologically, you are already linking your school with this parent’s child.
The Content Keep it short, for starters, TLDR is a real thing even when it comes to something as important as their child’s education. Use short paragraphs, bold important words and phrases, and most importantly, engage them by asking questions, especially about their child. Who doesn’t like talking about their offspring? This provides you the opportunity for further email exchanges creating rapport, which is critical in the initial stages of the school/family courting process.
The Call to Action Don’t be shy about asking them to take the next step in the process. Therefore, include links to pages they would find interesting, like your upcoming open house, a button to schedule a chat with admissions or a page about their grade of interest. Try to avoid overstepping on the first reply. No one wants to feel pressured at the point to apply.
The Follow-Up Even if you’ve followed the above formula and there is still no response, don’t fret. People are busy. First, invest in an app or extension that allows you to see if the recipient opened the email and clicked on the links. Based on that information and the response rates, use the above information to make successful adjustments.
Lastly, don’t give up until they tell you to. One email is not enough. Set up a schedule to email parents every 3 to 5 days. Vary your timing and, if possible, time your emails for the early morning or late evening when they are more receptive to things other than work and parenting.
Want some more tips on how to attract parents and keep them engaged? Check out our free library of independent school marketing tips.