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Effective Email Marketing Part 2: Creative Tips and Tricks

Brian Rahill

July 7, 2016

Our thoughts here at CourseStorm never stray far from trying to come up with new ways to help you make course registration impossibly simple. No matter the season, we’re hard at work, drafting up tips and tricks to help save you time, and grow your enrollments!

We’d like to formally welcome you to the second post in our effective email marketing series: (see our first post on how to build an email list). In this post we’ll be talking about some creative ways you can leverage your email list: for example, reducing cancellations for classes, increasing enrollments, and even having instructors help get the word out about your offerings.

Are you ready to hear about the different ways you can add a boost to your programs through email marketing? Let’s dive in!

Combatting Class Cancellations

It’s the nightmare scenario that all education-providers worry about, and may have experienced: a class that’s been created, organized, and scheduled (for months), but doesn’t — with just a few days before it begins — have enough students enrolled.

Of course, no program wants to cancel a class, last minute! Especially since the students who have signed up won’t get the educational opportunity they were excited about, and the instructor will be out of work for a few weeks. So, what to do?

Option #1 – Emailing the Enrolled Students

Well, there are a couple of options for you and your class! Let’s assume that four people have signed up for this class — a yoga class — taught by an instructor named Kiara. The first option would be to email the students who have already signed up for the class to inform them, a week or so from the deadline of enrollment, that the class roster is low and needs some reinforcements!

If the potential students who have enrolled know that the class they’re excited about is in danger of being canceled, they will often reach out to their own network of people – friends, family, and co-workers – and attempt to recruit for the class. Galvanizing already-enrolled students is a great way to market the class, especially if the roster is low because they know the value the class has; they’ve already signed up for it!

Option #2 – Leveraging your Email List

As we mentioned in our first post in this series on email marketing, email lists help with sending out messages super quickly, and can also help with filling up classes!

Let’s assume that your class offering hasn’t had any students enroll yet, and it’s getting close to the deadline for enrollment. Send out an email to your whole email list, and inform them of the dilemma! If you include in the email information about the class, who the instructor will be, and how the class may be canceled, we’ve found that you can often fill a class in a single day.

The point is, with effective email marketing and communication, there’s never reason to lose hope for your classes! Just a few clicks and you’re on your way!

Increasing Enrollment

Let’s quickly recap. In the first section of this post, we covered how, by sending out emails to already-enrolled students, or to entire mailing lists (or both!), you can avoid a potential class cancellation. That’s the worst-case scenario: a class cancellation.

Right, but let’s flip the scenario. What if you have a lot of interest?

Remember how we suggested sending out emails to already-enrolled students when your class had low enrollment? Well, a similar strategy can be applied in situations when you have a lot of students already enrolled!

Just send out an email to all of the students who are currently all signed up, and even to your entire email list, and let them know that there are only a few spots left in the uber-popular Jedi Knight class! If you inform everyone in your email list that there aren’t many spots left (and that enrolling is impossibly simple) they’re more likely to tell friends, family, and other connections about the “Star Wars class”! (Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to learn how to use a lightsaber?) This strategy can make a borderline class into a real money maker for your program.

Instructors as Advocates

So far, we’ve established that already enrolled students and your email lists can help fill up class offerings. That, finally, leaves us with the instructors.

Of course, the instructors play an integral part in the whole class process: they’re teaching! But, they can also help you and your classes well before they teach the first class. Let’s remember, instructors are people, too. And more likely than not, they have their own social media pages, network, and “brand” (their popularity as a yoga-instructor, for example).

If your instructors have access to the class rosters and emails (which they should), and are kept up-to-date with class information, they can email students with class roster number updates, post dates and deadlines on their own social media pages, and generally get everyone excited about the class! By utilizing this trick, instructors can be just as effective as your own marketing team!

Just think of all the time and energy you’ll save (not to mention how many more students will be signing up for your class offerings) when your instructors begin helping with the marketing!

The Take Away: Email Marketing Made Easy

Of course, when you first start, email marketing doesn’t seem quick or easy. Part of the process is building a great email list, and establishing a positive rapport with your students and clients. But once you have the foundation, there are a bunch of creative ways to work with your connections and offer a great catalog of classes for every season.

So, to quickly summarize, here are some of the tips we covered in this second of our three post series on effective email marketing:

  1. Email enrolled students to avoid canceling classes
  2. Use email lists to avoid canceling classes
  3. Email both enrolled students and your email list when classes are almost full
  4. Work with instructors to help market class offerings

And there you have it! With just a few of these practices in place, we here at CourseStorm think you’ll be well on your way to establishing super effective email marketing campaigns for each and every season.

We hope this second post in the series has helped you brainstorm some creative ways to leverage email marketing for your class offerings. But, as always, there’s still more to come!

For our next, and final, post in this series, we’ll be covering how to perfect each and every email you send – both for marketing campaigns and for personal, one-on-one marketing to individual students. From how to personalize each email, to defining clear and compelling goals (as well as focusing on email engagement), we’ll be exploring how to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

Until then, and as always, if you have any questions or just want some more information about email marketing, how CourseStorm software makes class registration impossibly simple, or what it takes to be a Jedi Knight (we know a few people), email us at, and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

Happy Emailing, everyone!

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Brian Rahill

Brian is a scientist-turned-education technology executive. He has founded and led technology companies for more than 20 years and uses his analytical mind and experimental approach to spur growth in small and medium businesses and start-ups. He is passionate about using technology to enhance access to lifelong learning.

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