Email marketing can be an effective and low-cost way to distribute information to large audiences. Sending mass emails can help you reach a wide, targeted audience without bearing design, printing or postage costs associated with print publications. Mass email communications can be used for event invitations, newsletters or general announcements, and can reach specialized audience groups such as local alumni, general department alumni, students, donors, etc.
Email Protocol by Audience
The process for sending emails differs, depending on your audience.
Emailing an Internal Audience
At the College of Arts and Sciences, two methods for emailing internal audiences are through CWRU Gmail or MailChimp. In some instances, you may want to send a mass email to the College of Arts and Sciences’ department chairs or administrators. An easy way to do that is to email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com respectively.
Please contact us if you need assistance in planning and sending a mass email communications message. (You can even join us for CAS MarCom open hours; contact us for more information.) It is important to send emails only to those who are affiliated to the relevant college, department, activity, or to those who have intentionally signed up to receive such content (e.g. a listserv). If you send email blasts to recipients who are not interested and did not ask to receive such messages, your emails may be marked as spam.
Emailing an External Audience
- Non-alumni donors
- Prospective graduate students
In some cases, you will want to email alumni or donors to send a newsletter or event invitation; in other cases, you may be recruiting graduate students to your programs. In either case, it is important that you are aware of the guidelines.
The preferred method for emailing prospective students is through Hobson’s Connect or MailChimp. Please consult with Lisa Chiu, the college’s director of marketing and communications, with questions about emailing prospective students.
Alumni and Donors
The method for emailing alumni and donors is through software called iModules.
IModules is integrated with the university’s database of alumni, donors and community supporters. Due to CWRU’s information privacy policies and an effort to adhere to the CAN-SPAM Act, only development and alumni relations staff members have access to this emailing system. While these staff members can’t share email addresses with you, they can send an email on your behalf.
Please use this form to submit the information necessary to send an email through iModules.
For questions, contact JT Render, development administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 368.0100.
Using an Email Alias/Google Groups
Using Google Groups to create an email alias (ex: email@example.com) for your department has several advantages over using one’s personal email address, especially with regards to use on websites or in marketing materials. Aside from looking more professional, using an alias allows people to contact the department in general rather than a specific person. Also, multiple people can access the email alias through Google Groups. This is helpful so that if one person is out sick or on vacation, another person can respond to any emails that are sent to the alias. While it is a good idea to designate one person as the lead responder for the alias, having the ability for others to also access the alias is very useful.
How to Create a Google Group/Email Alias
In order to create an email alias, you must create a Google Group. Google Groups makes it easy for organizations, such as departments, project teams and student groups, to collaborate and communicate. Here are the steps for creating a Google Group/email alias:
- Visit https://case.edu/utech/google/groups/
- Click “Create or Delete Group” in the right column
- Select “Create a new group” then “Continue”
- Group email address = firstname.lastname@example.org (ex: email@example.com)
- Group name = name of department (ex: Department of Biology)
- Group type = Administrative Alias
When you are sending an email, you may need help finding contact information for you audience. Sometimes you will want to contact alumni, donors and/or community members outside the university. When we do so, it is important to use the most up-to-date contact information available.
Using the Alumni and Donor Database is important because…
- It helps us avoid contacting the deceased and/or upset their living relatives
- It prevents us from contacting individuals who have asked the university for no contact or no solicitations
- It prevents us from wasting time and money sending mail to the wrong address, duplicate mail to spouses, etc.
- You’ll reach a wider audience
The university policy does not allow alumni or donor emails to be shared with departments; however, emails can be sent on your behalf through iModules. For help sending an email to alumni or donors, contact JT Render, development administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 368.0100 and/or read the section above on Using iModules.
To request a list of updated physical addresses for your audience for a USPS hard-copy mailing, contactJT Render, development administrator, at email@example.com or 368.0100.
Defining Your Alumni/Donor Audience
- Based on majors and/or minors
- Based on class year
- Based on a geographical area (ex: within 50 miles of Cleveland)
Sometimes your department’s best donors are not alumni. Don’t forget to include these special supporters!
- Based on time frame (ex: in the last year, 3 years, 5 years, etc.)
- Based on a donor’s geographical location (ex: within 50 miles of Cleveland)
- Based on a giving threshold (ex: donors giving $1,000+)
When you’re sending out bulk emails to a list of your own, it is best to follow the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 guidelines. Although the website covers commercial messages, the laws also apply to nonprofit organizations.
The key points of the CAN-SPAM Act are:
- Include a physical contact address on the email
- Make sure that the email details how to be removed from future mailings (and that these requests must be honored)
- Ex: “To unsubscribe from this list, please reply to this email and add the word “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.”
If you choose to send a mass email through Outlook or Gmail, you’ll need to make sure you take care of all the points laid out on the CAN-SPAM web site. Other programs such as MailChimp and iModules take care of this for you.
Tips on Message Weight
Sometimes messages can be…
What affects email size?
- Length of the email
- Coding styles
- Custom fonts
Why does email size matter?
Gmail is one email host that clips emails with a message size larger than 102KB, hiding the full content behind a “View entire message” link. File size matters because it determines how much bandwidth is needed to download the email. Heavy emails take longer to fully render, which can deter people from reading your email.
Techniques to decrease file size
- Compress images
- Consider using fewer images
- Remove unnecessary frames from GIFs
- Use web safe fonts instead of custom fonts