Best Practices for a Successful Back-to-School Campaign

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July 28, 2021
Anna Davies
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Masks or no masks?

Temperature checks at the door?

And what is the drop-off procedure, anyway?

Back to school has always had hiccups, but new procedures implemented during the last year, like distance learning, have turned straightforward responsibilities into complicated tasks for students, administrators, and parents alike.

That’s where back-to-school messaging campaigns come in. Back-to-school SMS campaigns can continue to keep your staff and parents informed, even as information shifts. Here, how to maximize efficiency and engagement with a successful SMS back-to-school campaign that can be used successfully throughout the year.

Maximize Signups with Short Codes

Sample Sign with Keyword and QR Code

Text is more efficient than email, with a response rate that guarantees your message is read. Text has an open rate of 98%, and most people check their phones multiple times per hour. But to maximize your efficiency, you need to make sure you have as many relevant people as possible signed up and ready to receive your messages.

SMS messaging allows you to segment text messages for audiences, so you can have multiple lists: One for teachers, one for school staff, and one for parents. You can even further drill-down segmentation and have lists just for students in certain grades, for example. Make opt-in links and Sign-Up Forms available on your digital outlets to help you grow your list. You also may want to have signage placed in high-traffic areas, such as your school announcement board or within the office, that presents a dedicated short code as a way for people to quickly and seamlessly sign up for text announcements. And don’t forget placing your Keyword, dedicated short code, or a QR Code on mailings, signage, and documentation.


Welcome Back Texts Start with Essential Information

Sample Text Message

Text can be a lifeline between your school and parents, and you want to make them know that a text from your school will always contain essential, useful information. With that in mind, it can be helpful to use your admin staff as a resource: What questions are popping up? In the weeks leading up to back to school, remind parents what day school begins, link to key resources such as a calendar or school supply list, and let them know any other essential info, such as aftercare or extracurricular signups.

Encourage Interaction with 1-on-1 Chat

Sample Text Message

One of the benefits of SMS messaging capabilities for school is the ability to engage in 1:1 texting. This can help free up your administrative staff and streamline communication, so important messages are seamlessly routed to those who need to see them. It can also set a friendly tone between your school and parents, especially when in-person office visits may not be feasible. A text-to-landline feature can also be a back to school essential.


Keep Up the Momentum

While developing a back-to-school messaging campaign can streamline communication, a great back-to-school marketing campaign can be followed by communication throughout the year. Tracking and data from the messages you send can help you assess how messages resonate and which ones are the most effective. In addition to letting parents know about protocol, messaging can also be used to:

Sample Text Message
  • Encourage parents to sign up for volunteer opportunities.
  • Raise staff morale by offering information on staff-only opportunities and spotlight staff members doing a great job.
  • Keep parents and staff abreast of information in an emergency situation or weather-related closure.
  • Keep everyone on the same page when it comes to COVID-specific protocols for the upcoming school year.
  • Encourage attendance at extracurricular events.


In short, text messaging is the most effective and engaging way to get your messages seen by those who need to see it, when they need to see it.

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