It is Time to Stop the If Yous

Amy Jenkins
December 19, 2023

Adults spend 5 hours a day checking email. 

Five hours.

That is a lot!

So imagine how a parent or student feels when they get an email from their college which says something like “If you see a balance…”  or “ “If you haven’t signed up for a payment plan yet….” when there is no balance because they have already paid or they don’t need to sign up because they already did.

They feel unseen.  They feel unrecognized.  They feel like you don’t know who they are or what they have done.

And they close the email.  

And are less likely to open the next one.

With all of the emails we all get, standing out and getting someone’s attention is harder than ever.

Our inboxes are cluttered with so much noise and many of the emails contain so much information.  To be willing to open an email, to read it and to act on it, it has to feel relevant.  Otherwise we let it sit there and think “I will read that later” and later today turns to maybe tomorrow.  And when 100+ emails have piled up on top it becomes, I will read that…never.  

Sending emails with the right message at the right time and in the right channel matters.  Sending emails with the information someone needs, and only that information, matters.

It is time to stop the “If yous.”

Send emails to students and families when you know they need to take an action and you can explain what it is.  Query who has a balance and email them to pay it (along with the amount and the due date!).  Run a report of who hasn’t signed up for a payment plan and email them about the option, with clear benefits spelled out and a button to click to get started.  

If you don’t know if someone has or hasn’t done something yet (e.g. granted access to a parent, signed their MPN, accepted their financial aid letter) don’t send the email until you do know.  Avoid the “if you.”

Targeted emails get better results.  Send relevant emails only. Use students’ names.  Include important information.  Tell them what to do and how to do it.  And remove everything else.

Want to learn more? Check out our guide to an effective communications strategy or schedule a free consultation here.

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