Email Outreach FAQs

Can I target particular members of the USF community for email outreach through the Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM)?

Absolutely. You can send emails to the following USF target groups: prospective students, students, faculty/staff, alumni, donors, and parents of current USF students.

The emails that are sent out by OCM follow best practice by always targeting the smallest relevant group based on your criteria and goals. All emails to external audiences are optional and allow the recipient to opt out of receiving further communications. 

If you want to regularly send required emails to USF students, faculty and staff, you need to use USFconnect emails. If you want to send optional emails, you can get trained in an email system called iModules to do so. Contact the Office of E-Communications at ecommunications@usfca.edu to find out who your unit’s USFconnect or iModules email administrator is. Read more in the internal email standards about how to send messages to internal audiences.

If you are planning outreach to prospective students you need to contact the Office of Enrollment and Admission Services. You can request your email campaign through this form.

How do I request that an email be sent from my office?

Easy. Just fill out the OCM project intake form. The form guides you through basic questions about your message, goals, target audience, and deadlines. Or contact Thomas Listerman, e-communications director, at (415) 422-6097 or ecommunications@usfca.edu, who can help you begin the intake process.

What should I consider before requesting an email?

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Name of the sender: Consider using a personal name that many of the recipients recognize or the name of the office/department behind the email.
  • Sender email address: This is the email address that the recipient will see when receiving the email. Consider using an official alias email address that represents the sender. If you send many emails to the same group over time, it is a best practice to use the same sender email address for all emails to that group.
  • Reply-to email address: Consider whether you want to provide a separate email address for recipients’ default replies to your email. For example, you may want to send the email out from an official email address but use a personal email address to collect responses.
  • Subject line: Give the subject line considerable thought. Keep it short and relevant. The subject line is the key to persuading recipients to open the email.
  • Email content: Keep it short and to the point. Make it as easy as possible for the recipient to take the action that you are asking them to take after reading the email (e.g. click on a link to register, visit a website, share the content).
  • Your target group: Define the target group you want to reach. Please be as specific as possible. For example, we can target your email by recipients' age, home address, reunion year, and school/college.
  • Your preferred send date: Let us know what day and time you would like the email to be sent. We will try to find an available time as close as possible to your request. Please note: OCM coordinates email requests so that the same target group does not received multiple emails from USF at the same time.

How long does it take to create and send an email?

The turnaround time for an email request is four to five business days. If you are an email administrator and prepare the email yourself, the turnaround time is one to two business days.

How do I become an email administrator?

Email administrators can prepare their own emails in the email marketing system and decrease the turnaround time for email requests to one to two business days. Email administrators receive training in the email marketing system USFconnect (for required messages to students, faculty, and staff) or iModules Encompass (for optional emails to students, faculty/staff, alumni, donors, external audiences). The next training session is scheduled on the CIT training calendar. This training is advisable if your office sends out a lot of emails.

Why can't I gather a list of email addresses and send emails on my own?

By using OCM email outreach services, your email or e-newsletter will:

  • Be sent using professional email marketing systems, making it less likely that your email will be misidentified as spam.
  • Be reviewed and optimized based on best practices
  • Be consistent and coordinated in its use of templates and formatting
  • Benefit from detailed targeting that allows you to define your most relevant USF audience by age, class year, school/college, region, etc.
  • Benefit from detailed metrics that allow you to see who opened it and what links they clicked on
  • Benefit from short turnaround times

Important: If you are considering using your own email marketing system, please take into account:

  • It is rare to receive full functionality from free or cheap email marketing trial versions. OCM offers you full email marketing functionality for free.
  • Fully functioning email marketing systems are usually expensive. Duplicating existing functionality, generally, isn’t the best use of university resources.
  • It’s important to test and optimize your email template in a wide range of web browsers and email applications. This is a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process. OCM has completed this testing and optimization for the templates in the email marketing systems we offer.
  • If you take the training to become an email administrator, you can set up your emails yourself and decrease the turnaround time to one to two business days.
  • OCM coordinates outgoing emails to ensure that the same recipient does not receive multiple emails from USF at the same time. This practice decreases the opt-out rate and increases the opening rate. If you use a separate email marketing system, there is no way to guarantee coordination. The result may be a lot of angry emails or phone calls from recipients who thought they had opted out of further communications.