Why targeted emails are the secret to student engagement

April 28, 2022

In our latest study, 98 percent of today’s careers professionals reported that they are worried about students either not engaging with career development activities as early as they should, or not using the full range of university support available to them. Universities up and down the country offer plenty of advice, support and access to opportunities - but the challenge, say careers professionals, is to get students to understand how they can benefit from fully engaging these services, from the very beginning of their studies.

We believe that there’s an answer to be had - and these issues can be surmounted through laser targeted engagement. Hitting students with the right communications, at the right time, on the right platform, is the secret to delivering real value for the long-term. Crucially, these workflows have to be quick and efficient for the careers service, or they can’t be made effective at scale and from many of the conversations we’ve had, university teams are currently needing to use many separate tools such as a CRM, template creator and a mass email too, just to send one email.

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that a personalised and fully integrated email platform has been identified as the number one tool for boosting student engagement in the year ahead - and the good news is that technology like Handshake enables this work at scale. Our Targeted Emails solution is already helping teams all over the world build vibrant, engaging emails - allowing them to move away from general, campus-wide missives, to focus instead on what students will care most about.

Just as important as design and layout is identifying a relevant set of attendees. With Handshake’s tool, teams can quickly drill down to a specific list of recipients, identifying students by their year, course of study, industry of interest, preferred job function, and much more. This ensures that the careers teams can quickly and easily send appropriate communications to the right people. Indeed, universities like Haverford College are building entire strategies around targeted emails, and reporting success. By harnessing Handshake, Haverford enjoys a 70 per cent open rate to their student communications - a huge jump from the industry standard of 20 percent.

With Targeted Emails, students can receive personalised job postings, events, workshops and articles that will help them not just engage with specific opportunities, but get inspiration about a range of potential career paths and the activities they can engage with to get a head start on their goals. They get to know what a university can offer and build a long term more fruitful relationship with the careers professionals who support them. This personalization is a key method that teams can use to effectively embed careers into curriculum; our tools help ensure that with a few clicks students can receive content that is uniquely relevant to their course of study.

And the good news is that Targeted Emails don’t need to demand a lot of resources to deploy. All of the formatting and layout tools are built in, and follow a simple drag-and-click formatting process. Even better, Handshake platform enables careers services to reuse email templates and automate processes which have traditionally taken a prohibitive amount of time to get right. And importantly, careers professionals can evaluate their success by tracking the number of students who open emails and engage with them - allowing them to tweak and refine their approaches for optimum results. This is all built into one tool, with no need for exporting recipient lists to other platforms or importing HTML.

As respondents to our Careers 2032 study reported, it's clear that technology like Handshake has the potential in facilitating better connections between universities, students and employers - helping to improve the outcomes for today’s graduates and fuel workplaces with a sustainable talent pool.

Need help setting up Targeted Emails? Watch our tutorial and demo now to learn more.  And when you're done that, our blog on how to write great emails will help you hone those communications even further.