Centralized Email Marketing
UMBC did not have a centralized system for distributing mass communications to employees and current students, relying instead on an antiquated list-serv model, which was difficult to update and lacked many features. In addition, the inability to segment audiences led to an abundance of email messages to the community. The list-serv also provided no way to capture and analyze basic email metrics.
After reviewing and analyzing our needs for an ESP, I led the implementation of an off-the-shelf, web-based email marketing service to not only manage our internal communications, but also external outreach to key stakeholders. Working closely with our information technology department, we developed a set of requirements to articulate our needs and then vetted several systems to identify the best product to achieve our goals. Some of the priorities and challenges faced were:
- Internal communications and CAN-SPAM; authority to distribute to owned domains (e.g., @umbc.edu);
- Elimination of “shadow” databases and rogue actors;
- Email metrics and analysis;
- Advanced template building for specific communications;
- Database integration with fields for segmentation;
- And advanced workflow model and review and approval.
Following product selection, and in concert with IT and the design team, we built a database with custom fields, email templates for campaigns, and workflow documentation to train and educate the communications team on the process for email sends.
We now have a centralized communications system for employee and student communications with advanced segmentation to target specific groups with relevant messaging. More importantly, however, the tool has allowed us to develop and share guidelines and requirements to departments for email communication to the campus.