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From nature
to email nurture

How taking initiative helped me improve customer acquisition and online enrollment in just a few months


No experience with email marketing 

1 email sent to leads per month 

Broken lead journey

Lack of usable data 


Switched CRM platform

Created email strategy

Designed branded templates

Re-designed lead journey


$10K annual savings

25% compound annual growth rate contribution

7% online enrollment increase

15-20% avg open rate

I wasn’t hired to do email. 

That job belonged to a guy named Joel S. I’d only met him a handful of times before he was let go during the mass layoff that led to my hiring as social media content creator. Despite our limited interaction I learned he was funny, clever­, and...well, thoughtful. The latter was confirmed by the very detailed instructional binder he left for the very inexperienced new gal who’d apprehensively agreed to send a monthly email through the very non-novice-friendly CRM, Marketing Cloud.

During the hiring process, email marketing
was never discussed as a potential responsibility.


This was meaningful because while I’d resolved to help my new 3-person team keep email marketing on life support so we could continue having another avenue to encourage student enrollment, I’d never seen the inside of a CRM platform. I had no idea how to be effective in this part of my job.


Missed opportunities for memorability

Emails can present many business opportunities, from lead generation to customer engagement to, in our case, student enrollment—and our team was missing all of them! Why?

  • We were only sending 1 conditional email per month (and it was hard to do that)

  • We learned our lead journey had been down for months (and didn’t know how to fix it)

  • We weren’t clear on how to access our data (and customer service was hard to contact)

  • We had great difficulty trying to update our design and layout (and resources were limited)

  • We didn’t know how to use Marketing Cloud (and hiring consultants was expensive)

Our department was spending more than $15K per year for a platform that we weren’t benefiting from and no one knew what to do about it.

New experience brings new engagement

Digital Summit provides marketers an opportunity to sharpen their skills through sessions and workshops—and I found it to be an incredible tool for career growth. Attending their social media masterclass had helped me grow our fan following and increase engagement by 37% YOY, so I decided to see how taking a masterclass in email marketing could be beneficial. My course inspired me to set up some informational meetings and trial services like Active Campaign, Hubspot, and Zoho.

Switching to Active Campaign allowed us to immediately and easily increase the number of conditional emails sent monthly.


After conducting extensive research and a thorough competitive analysis, I was prepared to present my findings to my team and VP. I recommended switching from Salesforce Marketing Cloud to Active Campaign due to their comprehensive onboarding process, online support and resource library, and intuitive drag-and-drop platform. This choice would not be hindered by my inexperience and would result in over 65% in annual savings!


Altierus Career College was a postsecondary non-profit healthcare and trade school located in:




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Email before and after

Cost savings creates increased conversions 

Making the switch was seamless. I soon went from sending one duplicated and edited email per month to building an email strategy that included a thorough content calendar which contributed to our 25% compound annual growth rate. This was possible as I was now able to:​

  • Design and build out my own automated workflows and segment my communications

  • Have an API built to connect to our database of students and up to 50K leads

  • Re-design our lead email journey and monitor it

  • Establish triggers based on website activity and emails engaged

  • Create an active student email journey 

  • Create branded templates for different parts of the business

  • Perform A/B tests to refine emails and subject lines

  • Access data to determine what works best

Lead email example

Lead journey email

Student journey email example

Student journey email

Conditional email example
Junior Achievement promo email

Junior Achievement email

Partner lead journey email

Partner lead journey email

Conditional email

Within a couple months I went from sending 1-email per month to sending multiple emails for different purposes and for different parts of the business.

In making the switch I realized that the real game-changer wasn’t the style sheet or convenience of adding custom code but in the incredible reporting function. Thanks to this feature, I could effortlessly share with our admissions team essential results from each conditional send. Our conversion rate improved dramatically and we were hitting our goals like never before. It was an absolute game-changer for our educational mission.

Lead growth leads to professional growth 

Ultimately this tool gave my position a renewed sense of purpose. I could now effectively perform a function that wasn’t part of my role but that I’d agreed to do. By being proactive and resourceful, I became an indispensable, unofficial member of the Altierus Admissions team. Knowing that my insights and reports were contributing directly to the success of our educational endeavors gave my role more depth and made me feel like I was making a meaningful impact on people’s lives.

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