By: EZ Texting
Between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of parents who wanted schools to communicate with them by SMS text messaging grew by 1,000 percent. According to research from Blackboard and Speak Up, five percent of parents preferred text in 2010, and 55% preferred text in 2016. That number is undoubtedly higher today.
Parents obviously want schools to use text messaging, but is it feasible from the school's perspective?
We've helped hundreds of schools get started with Short Message Service (SMS) messaging over the last decade, and we'll show you why you should get on board as well.
The Power of SMS Text Messaging for Schools
Here are several of the major reasons text messaging has become the powerful communications channel of choice for leading schools around the world over the last few years.
Texts Have a Higher Response Rate Than Email
Here's a text message marketing statistic that may surprise you. Ninety-eight percent of texts are read while only 20 percent of emails are even opened. That means that when you send a mass email, you can expect only one out of five people to open it.
When you send a mass text, however, you can expect virtually ever contact to read it and read it fast. A recent study showed that 90% of contacts read their texts within three minutes of receipt. You can't beat SMS text messaging for open rate and immediacy.
And how about engagement? Text messages have a response rate eight times higher than email (45% to 6%).
So, if you want your messages to get read and acted upon, text messaging is the way to go.
Check out more impressive numbers in 42 Unbelievable Text Message Marketing Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind.
Easiest Way to Send Quick, Timely Alerts
Because your contacts are almost all going to read texts immediately, there's no better way to send messages which have to get there at the right time than through SMS.
If your school needs to address immediate safety issues, you can send a quick text to staff, students, and parents detailing the nature of the issue and the action which needs to be taken.
If your school experiences weather emergencies or closings, a short 160-character text is the best way to let all of your contacts know quickly so that they can make adjustments or preparations.
Unfortunately, we all know the safety concerns that schools face these days. Being prepared to respond appropriately and share information quickly can literally be a matter of life and death. Make sure your school is using the best tools available to deal with these cases.
Less Overhead Than Printing Flyers
Does your school run up big bills on printing supplies? If not, you're the exception.
One way to keep printing expenses low is to use SMS text messaging when all you need to deliver is a short message at the right time. If your school regularly prints flyers and distributes them to staff, students, and parents, consider using the powerful features text messaging apps provide such as reminder campaigns and recurring messages.
Text messaging works great for announcements for upcoming events, reminders for important meetings, and more.
Several schools have reported success with text messaging for "Summer Melt" programs which encourage recent high school graduates to complete the steps to enroll in college in the fall. One study showed "a substantially increased enrollment among students with less access to college-planning supports."
Some of our own customers have let us know of their success with text messaging for Summer Melt initiatives.
We use EZ Texting for our Summer Melt program with our alumni as they transition into their first semester of college. Very helpful and students respond. - Rene G
Better Method of Engaging Students
If you're looking to engage students with important messages, you'll find no better way than with text messaging.
Use a bulk SMS software for schools to segment contacts into groups, so that you can send relevant messages only to students you know will be interested. You can group contacts by grade level, extracurricular activity, interest, etc. to ensure that you get the right content to the right people.
Schools often use text campaigns to coordinate SAT preparation, communicate tutoring options, and conduct text-to-vote preference polls to learn what students want.
Several studies have been conducted to show how effective text messaging can be for engaging parents and students. A study by The Education Endowment Foundation "texted parents to alert them to tests and missing homework, and to provide conversation prompts for parents to discuss work with students." These messages led to a significant improvement in grades and attendance.
More Cost-Effective Way to Raise Funds
Many schools have found text messaging as the best, most cost-effective way to conduct fundraising activities. As we saw earlier, most parents prefer that schools communicate with them by text. It's cheaper than printed mailers, both in terms of printing and postage, and it's much less time consuming than making phone calls which interrupt family or leisure time.
An astonishing two billion consumers are now using mobile to make payments, so it makes sense to use mobile communications to connect with parents who are comfortable making payments with their phones. Parents and students can also easily forward text messages to friends and family to spread fundraising messages even farther.
An SMS Text Messaging Playbook for Schools
As you can see, there are a number of reasons that schools are using SMS text messaging to connect with students, staff, and parents. There's no better way to make sure that your contacts get the message at the right time on a platform that they prefer and get them to take action, all while reducing your expenses so that you can allocate funds to educational activities.
Here at EZ Texting, we've helped over 160,000 customers lower communication expenses while driving higher engagement. For more than a decade, we've been helping schools like yours be more effective in all that they do. During that time, we've seen what works well for education organizations, and we've compiled our findings in a free resource which you can access right now.
In our free download, The Text Message Marketing Playbook for Schools, Colleges, and Universities, you'll get 16 message templates which you can use to connect with your contacts. These include:
- Emergency Notifications
- Fundraising Drives
- Staff Updates
- Homework Reminders
- Attendance Reports
- And More!
Photo: Getty Images/Rawpixel