Over the last year, I have made quite a few changes to my Strategic Internet Marketing class which is the course that covers Digital Marketing topics at James Madison University. Email Marketing has been given more time and focus in my class. Through trial and error over the last year, I have developed a module that provides students with some good information and hands-on experience.
HubSpot Email Certification
Students in my class complete the HubSpot Email Marketing Certification outside of class hours. They learn best practices in developing lists and composing emails as well as several other topics. By completing this outside of class, I have time to focus on other aspects of Email Marketing.
I use several sources for emphasizing the necessity of compliance. I found a good article from Federal Trade Commission that simply explains compliance and penalties for violations. HubSpot and MailChimp both include education on CAN-SPAM compliance.
I teach the students testing, email design, building a permission-based list, and automation. For an assignment, they take the hex codes and fonts from their style guides for their websites and use this information to create an email. They then create an email to promote their websites using the list they created in MailChimp. This assignment also emphasizes the importance of CAN-SPAM compliance. The students put a link to their websites and ask for feedback from their family and friends. Students then write a report based on the metrics in MailChimp, Another benefit is that MailChimp has some great educational information on automation, personalization, and other important elements of email marketing.
Outcomes of this Approach
As an educator, I constantly ask myself if I am teaching in a way that students have a real take-away that they can apply. A student who finished my class is currently an intern at a local hotel while finishing her degree. She set them up with MailChimp. She was so excited because her first email campaign resulted in revenue. Her manager is thrilled that one email could have these results for the relatively small business.
Using experiential learning to teach digital marketing topics is for me, the best way to teach students. If you have an idea for an experiential learning activity for Email Marketing, please share it with me.