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Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps GreatSchools increase educational engagement to help parents support their child’s learning and wellbeing in school.
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GreatSchools Increases Educational Engagement with Marketing Cloud

Many nonprofits are focused on unlocking educational opportunities for children but very few are directed at the people who are guiding these children day to day. GreatSchools is a nonprofit focused on providing parents with the resources and information about PK-12 schools and education in an effort to place their children in the best schools for their needs and enable parents to support their child’s learning and wellbeing once in school. With a small but mighty staff, GreatSchools serves over half of all K-12 parents in America, 45 million unique users each year.

GreatSchools understands that their parents need support everyday and want to engage on topics that are most important to them and relevant to where their children are in school. However, without the right technology platform it was nearly impossible for GreatSchools to send tailored content to all 45 million users in a timely fashion.

In order to support their impact without growing their staff, GreatSchools began using the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and now sends over 76 million emails that are targeted and personalized for each and every parent in the GreatSchools ecosystem.

GreatSchools Leverages A/B Testing to Improve Open Rates

With Marketing Cloud, GreatSchools launched a weekly newsletter that reached 1.2 million parents and a monthly “My Schools Stats” newsletter that reached 1.1 million. These personalized newsletters allow the GreatSchools staff to deliver compelling and engaging information to parents but also get creative with the content. With Marketing Cloud’s A/B testing, staff can try different content and understand what’s resonating with each audience. For example, staff sent one set of newsletters in which the content focused primarily on emotional stories and a separate set of newsletters that focused solely on academics. The A/B test results revealed that the emotional stories were gaining far better click-to-open rates than the newsletters that focused solely on academics. Staff also had the ability to test the quantity of content in each newsletter and emails with images and visuals versus no images or visuals. The results showed that the newsletters and emails with images and visuals were far better received compared to content without images. With A/B testing and analytics tools that have optimized formats, messages, frequencies, and delivery strategies, the small communications staff at GreatSchools has boosted email open rates by 57% in just 12 weeks of testing.

Keeping It Personal, On a Mass Scale

In addition to A/B testing, the GreatSchools staff leveraged Marketing Cloud dashboards to dive deeper and optimize content based on reporting insights. “With Marketing Cloud dashboards we can now understand what the kindergarten parent cares about vs. the high school parent and then tailor the email content to fit their interests and needs.” – Carol Lloyd, Vice President, Editorial Director, Great Schools

Creating rich, tailored content for every GreatSchools parent across the nation was just the beginning for GreatSchools. All of their content is mobile responsive so that parents can easily access the resources that they need while they’re on the go, from any device and at any time of day. Now, when parents are rushing to pick up their kids from school or need information about a last minute school field trip they can access these updates conveniently, in a matter of seconds from their mobile devices. According to Lloyd, “more than 40% of users are low income and 67% of parents are reading emails from their phones. Being mobile responsive is critical for the GreatSchools mission and ensuring that we reach our users where it’s easiest for them.”

GreatSchools now has the flexibility to be innovative with their work and expand their reach by creating 1:1 personalized journeys for each and every one of their constituents.