NYU Tests E-Mail for Master's Program

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In a bid to fill more classrooms, the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies plans to use e-mail to promote its master of science program in digital imaging and design.

The university this week will send 10,000 e-mails to graphic designers, artists and technicians in the New York metro area.

"NYU is trying to support registration and enrollment for its master's-level program when traditionally universities and colleges try to promote undergraduate programs [through e-mail]," said Olivier Leibowitz, managing director and vice president of Direct Impact Marketing Inc., Norwalk, CT.

The two-year, full-time program in digital design and imaging costs $42,000. Each year, NYU enrolls 24 students.

Prospects for this e-mail push were prequalified through media sourcing to reach candidates seeking a career in computer animation, industrial design, medical illustration and digital filmmaking. Only opted-in lists were used.

The majority of e-mails will be HTML, with a sprinkling of text-only messages.

"One of the criteria that we had was to source files with a high HTML accessibility," Leibowitz said, adding that this would better deliver the creative message.

Sixty percent of the e-mails will go to men.

"The drop will be scheduled for midweek, when you have a higher propensity of open rates based on historical response rates," Leibowitz said. The most likely drop date is Oct. 3.

Because Direct Impact is helping NYU reach a defined target audience, the headline becomes very relevant to prospects' industry or discipline. It reads, "Are you really on the cutting edge of digital design?"

Recipients who click through are urged to request information, particularly the NYU bulletin and program view book. They also can download the application online.

Consumers who give their name, address and e-mail data are taken to a landing page that offers more program and school information. Other calls to action include referrals of friends and associates as well as an invitation to attend an information session in New York.

"This test that we're doing now is more sophisticated," said Dorothy Durkin, associate dean for public affairs at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. "It allows us to go directly back to the inquiry, so that we can tag and track people separately in the HTML format. And so, going forward with that individual customer, we won't send them stuff that they're not interested in and only that what matches what they want from us."

Another round of e-mails is scheduled for early November. Only non-responders to the first push will receive messages.

"Being a closed-loop campaign, it truly gives NYU the ability to track and prospect responses to quantify the effectiveness of leveraging e-mail as part of an integrated approach," Leibowitz said.

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