When does an email qualify as marketing? How to know when one's crossing the line between the informative and the promotional? 🤔 A mere few years into the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), these can still be confounding questions, so we wrote the present article in the hopes of shedding some light on this somewhat murky area and helping you best communicate with your applicants and students.

ℹ️ Disclaimer: Please note that Full Fabric doesn't audit GDPR compliance. We merely provide the tools to ensure that full compliance is possible at all times, and our chief concern is to assist schools in being prepared to avoid failing a data protection screening or having someone lodge a complaint against your institution.

In this article

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➜ What are marketing and non-marketing communications?

➜ Which emails do unsubscribed users receive?

What are marketing and non-marketing communications?

Very broadly speaking, marketing communications are promotional messages sent out to advertise a product, a service, or an entity. More concretely, promotional content tells your readers about your products and services in an effort to raise awareness and interest, as well as convert leads into applicants, applicants into students, and so on. 🎯 Since it's designed to entice potential customers to take action, such as submitting an application or enrolling in a class – in other words, to steer them farther down your sales funnel –, it may be helpful to think of promotional content as decision-making content.

Transactional and informational emails don't fall into this category. Let's look into why.

Transactional emails are triggered by specific interactions with Full Fabric. 👋 For example:

  • Resetting one's password prompts the sending of a password reset email;

  • Submitting an application prompts the sending of an application submission confirmation email;

  • Having a referee submit a reference prompts the sending of a reference submission notification;

  • Changing a profile's primary email address prompts the sending of an email address change notification;

And more.

In short, transactional emails are automated but personalized messages that are sent when triggered and comprise account alerts, event notifications, action confirmations, and messages to facilitate or even complete an operation initiated by the recipient.

Informational emails are similar to transactional emails and could be considered members of the same "family", but they're not necessarily automated and they don't require a trigger in the molds described above. They consist of manual one-to-one emails or personalized automated emails that are solely intended to inform, not compel the recipient to take a certain action or decision. In essence, informational content seeks to provide useful information and answer questions. 📣 For example:

  • To remind an applicant about missing data on their application form;

  • To introduce a new lecturer;

  • To warn students that there will be filming on campus and what the footage is for;

  • To announce the cancellation of a field trip;

  • To inform netizens that the school's official website will be temporarily down for maintenance;

And so forth.

Context can only partially clue you in as to whether the content of an email should be classified as promotional or informative. Let's say your school is going to host a Q&A session about a particular program and you're thinking about sending registrants some facts and stats about the program to help them prepare questions in advance. It could be argued that this is an informative email because it is relevant to the event and actually serves the event. 😁 That said, please be mindful of how you convey your message and that there is no ulterior agenda, such as pushing attendees to apply, because you could easily stray into marketing territory. 😬 Good judgment is well advised.

In Full Fabric, the nature of the content takes precedence over the means of communication because mass communications can be made to look like one-to-one emails through the use of substitution tags, even campaign emails. Please read the article Email substitution tags for more information on this subject.

Which emails do unsubscribed users receive?

Campaign emails

Emails in which the following setting is enabled:

Emails sent via automated workflows

Emails in which the following setting is enabled:

One-to-one emails

All emails

Event reminder emails

All emails

Transactional emails

All emails

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You have reached the end of this article. Thanks for reading! 🤓 If you have any questions or comments on the topic at hand, or if you enjoy reads like this and have article requests, let us know. Also, please leave a rating below. Your feedback is highly appreciated! 💖


PUBLISHED: August 1, 2022
LAST UPDATED: August 18, 2022 at 11:53 a.m.

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