For background on the Madison Identity System, please refer to JMU Policy 1502. Any further questions can be directed to the office of University Communications and Marketing at (540) 568–3712.

Email policy

  • All bulk emails to JMU students, faculty, alumni, and friends should be sent from the iModules system unless another arrangement has been made with University Communications and Marketing.

Reasoning behind the policy

  • The iModules system is GDPR compliant and the processes we have in place can prevent JMU from being liable in privacy lawsuits.
  • If all JMU emails are sent through the same system, the email calendar can prevent redundant communication, such as two separate offices sending an invite to the same event, or two separate offices sending different gift solicitations to the same audience on the same day.
  • If all JMU emails are sent through the same system, the email calendar can prevent conflicting communication, such as a gift solicitation being sent on the same day to the same audience as an announcement of a big capital expenditure project.
  • There should be one system where constituents can unsubscribe.  If multiple systems are used, constituents have to unsubscribe from multiple systems, leading to frustration and possible marking of JMU emails as SPAM, hurting JMU's ESP's reputation and leading algorithms to mark JMU emails automatically as SPAM.
  • Email analytics reports are available through the iModules system, including powerful reports such as "most effective time of day to send", and "what content categories are my constituents most interested in?"
  • Engagement and communication is measured across all JMU channels, and if multiple systems are used, this measurement is more difficult or impossible.
  • All email templates sent through iModules are tested on all major devices, ensuring quality.

Email Category policy

  • "Email Categories" in iModules must be approved by the Director of Digital Marketing before added to the iModules system.  Email categories must be unique enough to distinguish between general areas, but not too specific as to cause frustration with constituents as they try to unsubscribe.  There also shouldn't be too few categories, because constituents may only want to hear about certain things.
  • For example
    • If there were one category called "General Information", and all emails were sent through that category regardless of whether it was a message from the President, or a gift solicitation, or an event announcement, if a constituent unsubscribed from that category when they received a gift solicitation, they would not receive any other messages from JMU.  
    • If every email we sent were from a different category (think "Thursday, May 31, 2018 emails"), then it would be pointless to even have categories because unsubscribing from a category would never prevent the person from receiving emails from that category.
    • So there is a "happy medium", one where email categories are not too broad, nor too specific.
    • Following email marketing best practices, it is better to err on the side of being too broad.  More on that in the "Benefits of adhering to the email policy" section below.

Reasoning behind the policy

  • The current "unsubscribe" process for iModules is less than ideal, leading people to think they are unsubscribing from all JMU emails when in fact they are only unsubscribing from a particular category.  The more categories the system has, the more categories people have to unsubscribe from individually in order to not receive communication from JMU.  There is a "unsubscribe from all JMU communication" option but people do not understand what that means, and there is no way to change that functionality in iModules as it stands.

Benefits of adhering to the email policy

  • When constituents want to unsubscribe from JMU emails, yet they continue to receive emails from JMU they are sometimes angry that they continue to receive emails even though they unsubscribed. This is something we want to avoid when possible.
  • When constituents are frustrated with JMU communications (by continuing to receive emails after they thought they unusbscribed) they may possibly mark an email as spam, which hurts JMU email reputation in our ESP, which can cause our other emails to directly go to the SPAM folder, even for people who want to receive JMU emails.
  • For the frustrated people above who don't mark JMU emails as spam, they will just start ignoring or deleting all JMU emails, which dilutes our email analytics over time.  Email marketing best practices require having up to date recipient lists with reasonably active recipients.  If we don't allow people a reasonable way to self-select, we give ourselves the extra burden of purging our lists, or even worse, to do nothing, and let our analytics degrade over time.

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