Mass Text Messaging for Schools

Bulk SMS messaging for schools provides a popular communication channel to quickly convey important messages to groups of students, parents, and faculty. After all, over 98% of the population has access to a mobile device capable of receiving SMS messages. Texting is the most targeted and effective form of mass communication, with most recipients opening their messages within 90 seconds of delivery.

Schools in particular often need to send important messages, and SMS messaging is a far more reliable method of communication than email blasts, phone trees, and pamphleteering.

Read on to discover how bulk SMS for schools can improve communication in educational institutions. And when you’re ready to take advantage of SMS, turn to EZ Texting. We’ll get you set up with an easy and affordable SMS texting solution for your school.

How Bulk Text Messaging Works for Schools

Educational institutions at every level depend on reliable communication channels that enable them to quickly reach students, teachers, parents, and staff alike. Whether it’s at the preschool level, the K-12 years, or a higher education institution like a college or university, every type of school can benefit from bulk SMS messaging. And, just like businesses, schools depend on their messaging systems to have the appropriate customer service and HR and employee operation features at their disposal.

Students Entering School

SMS texting platforms offer schools the following valuable features:

  • Reliable SMS alert system: Enables schools to send alerts or emergency updates in real-time directly to students, parents, faculty, and staff.
  • Affordable bulk SMS services for school teams, PTAs, and any other designated group: Grant schools the ability to deliver targeted messages to specific designated groups, whether it’s the football team, parent volunteers, or alumni.
  • Direct, two-way communication between students and teachers: Provides educational institutions with another way to directly connect students with their teachers.
  • Data, reports, and tracking: Make it easy to see if recipients are engaged. Are students actually opening the monthly newsletter? Did all the parents read the note that permission slips need to be signed? Using reporting tools to monitor open rates and overall engagement will help you determine how to optimize your text message efforts.
  • Customizable marketing lists: Help schools target and attract prospective students to increase enrollment, while nurturing and retaining current students with messages that keep them connected.
  • Worry-free, opt-out options: Bulk SMS for schools makes it easy for recipients to opt-out from receiving future messages.

Other Use Cases for Bulk SMS for Schools

Alert Notifications

There are hundreds of potential use cases for bulk SMS in an academic environment. But above all, a text message marketing application helps drive meaningful interactions among faculty, staff, students, and parents.

To maximize their text messaging strategies, schools can use bulk SMS to:

  • Notify Students and/or Parents of Deadlines & Exam Dates: Use mass text messaging for schools to send students and/or their parents information regarding upcoming deadlines, enrollment information, exam dates, textbook returns, after-school programs, housing information, and other important dates.
  • Send Emergency & School Closing Alerts: SMS for schools lets administrators send parents important information regarding school closings, security lockdowns, suspicious characters, and other emergencies.
  • Remind Students about Events & Meetings: With bulk SMS for schools, administrators can notify students of upcoming social events, including club meetings, after-school activities, concerts, fundraisers, parent-teacher conferences, and much more.
  • Share Important Billing & Financial Aid Information with Parents: Use bulk SMS messaging for schools to deploy important billing and financial aid information to parents. Schools can use these texts to inform parents about things like payment due dates and outstanding fees.
  • Encourage Students to Sign Up for Meetings & Appointments: Use bulk messaging to provide students with links for signing up for things like appointments, conferences, tutoring sessions, and try-outs.
  • Promote Communication between Students & Teachers: Teachers can use SMS texts to host remote Q&A sessions with their students before exams.
  • Coordinate with Faculty & Staff: Using SMS for schools, administrators can coordinate with faculty and staff on document submission reminders, important meetings, course information, and much more.

The Clery Act for Schools & SMS Messaging

Many institutions are also turning to SMS messaging to comply with the Clery Act. This act is a federal statute requiring all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crimes on their campuses. Participating institutions also must provide timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.

Because the vast majority of students, parents, teachers and staff members carry mobile devices, bulk messaging SMS for schools is an ideal way to ensure any warning or emergency alerts are received and read immediately. Schools can also use bulk SMS texting to coordinate security personnel and inform concerned parents. What’s more, bulk text messaging for schools will continue to work even if data networks are overloaded.

The Legal Requirements Governing SMS for Schools

There are several legal requirements governing schools and SMS messaging. The most important is that bulk text messaging for schools is a “permission-based” activity. This means that every student, parent, faculty and staff member must opt in to receive messages from the school. Considering that SMS for schools could save a student's life or reassure a parent about their child's well-being, there is not often much opposition about opting in.

However, some individuals may have concerns about how their contact information is managed and the frequency at which they will receive messages. The regulations regarding personal privacy and spam texting are contained within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). All schools operating a bulk text messaging service must comply with the TCPA.

It’s also a good idea for institutions to be familiar with the Mobile Marketing Association Code of Conduct, which contains many best practices applicable to SMS for schools. What’s more, the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) has compiled further requirements for schools and SMS messaging. This organization represents the phone companies that carry and deliver SMS messages, and their guidelines stipulate the content that cannot be contained within text messages or within material attached to text messages.

Although it is unlikely that any educational institution would breach these guidelines, schools should be familiar with them nonetheless.

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What Should Schools Consider before Using Bulk SMS?

Are you ready to invest in a bulk SMS software solution for your school, college, or university? We get it — budget approvals, fear of change, and skepticism toward product effectiveness can prevent even the most successful institutions from investing in an industry-leading text messaging solution. But that shouldn’t hold you back, especially considering you can take advantage of our risk free trial.

Checklist

Before adopting and implementing bulk messaging, follow the tips below to help build a successful texting strategy from the start:

1. Ask for Permission

First, every faculty member, staff member, parent, and student must opt in to receive messages from the school before you can send them a bulk message.

2. Centralize Contact Information

Second, before system outset, commit to clean and well-organized contact information. System administrators dramatically reduce their chances of a system breach with ready access to a centralized and secure database of user information, including name, phone number, address, and more. Moreover, querying contacts based on well-documented inputs is simple and easy.

3. Keep Track of Data

Lastly, institutions must commit to ongoing data maintenance and management. Meaning, it’s important to monitor open rates, opt-outs, and any other pertinent information that reflects the wishes of the recipient. Having a clear understanding of this data will help you create more targeted and engaging text message communications. Additionally, the ability to monitor data will help you avoid making mistakes, such as sending text messages after a user has already opted out. It's these types of mistakes that can spell disaster even for the savviest higher education institutions.

Creating Groups within Schools and SMS Messaging

It’s not necessary for every person at a school to receive every message. For example, a message about the soccer practice schedule doesn’t need to go to every student or faculty member. That’s why EZ Texting’s messaging platform lets you divide a database of contacts into groups, and even sub-groups within those lists. You can do so manually or let the platform automatically sort the school’s contacts for you.

If you want the database to group your contacts, you can have students, parents, faculty, and staff text separate keywords to a short code to help the platform distinguish one from the other. For instance, teachers might text the keyword “tutor,” while students text “student” to the same code.

You can even create sub-groups to further differentiate the groups. For example, students taking algebra can text “algebra” for course updates, while those in calculus can text “calculus” for more information.

How to Get Started with Bulk SMS for Schools

Before you can take advantage of bulk messaging SMS for schools, you need access to an online messaging platform. You can arrange this through a service provider that will create a username and password for your school to use on the platform. Once logged in, it’s easy to send your first bulk SMS.

Follow these 5 Simple Steps:

1. Promote Keywords & Short Codes

When your audience texts the provided Keywords to your short code, they are opting-in to receive bulk messages.

2. Organize Contacts Into Groups

Creating groups and subgroups lets you send certain messages to specific recipients.

3. Build & Deploy Text Messages

Craft your message on the platform and send it now or schedule it to be sent later.

4. Analyze Results

Track and monitor open rates and engagements to ensure your messages achieve their purpose.

5. Contact EZ Experts

Questions? Concerns? EZ Experts are always on hand to help.

Find Out More about Bulk Text Messaging for Schools from EZ Texting

If you’re ready to take advantage of mass text messaging for schools, turn to EZ Texting. We can help you.

Contact us today for a risk free trial to see how bulk SMS for schools can transform communication at your institution.

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