It can be a challenge to engage your audience, and to focus their attention on important announcements and updates. That’s why we’ve put together some tips and tricks for how to get your audience of parents, community members, and staff to not just glance at your emails, but to actually read through your emails and newsletters.

1. Write an Intriguing, To-The-Point Subject Line
It may seem obvious, but your subject line is the first thing that your audience sees.

  • Keep it short, especially because it’s likely that your audience is opening the email on a phone or tablet.
  • Make it tempting to open, so use catchy text, for example, “Next Week Will Be Exciting!” or “Here’s Why I’m Looking forward to April.”
  • If you send out a weekly update, it’s good to vary your subject line, such that recipients have a bit diversity in their inbox.

Parents and staff are often pressed for time, and so it’s important to be direct about why you’re emailing them. Instead of using a subject line like “Field Trip,” it’s better to provide a bit more detailed information, like “Field Trip to Zoo Next Thursday.”

2. Use a Tempting Lead Sentence
It can be hard for school communications to compete with various other notifications that parents and staff get throughout the day. That’s why it’s important that the first few words of your email pack a punch. Try using questions like, “How is your fall semester going?” or statements like, “Last week’s color war was pretty amazing.”

Opening sentences like these induce curiosity and encourage the recipient to keep reading.

3. Keep It Short
Parents and staff have a lot going on, so it pays to keep your emails brief. Use bullet points to distill complex topics, and pictures and links to reduce the length of your email.

4. Use Bold, Colorful Text and Headers for Important Info
In order to make it clear what parts of your email are important, it’s useful to employ bold or colorful text and headers to make it obvious what segments of your email should be your audience’s focus.

5. Add Photos or Video — Especially if it’s of Their Kids
If the content of your email is conducive to adding media, we strongly encourage you to creatively add relevant content like videos or pictures. It’s incredibly easy to add links from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, or Viddler, and we’ve compiled a handy list of sources for free stock photos.