It’s nearly back to school time, which means new uniforms, new shoes and a new communication platform? Keeping parents up-to-date is challenging, time-consuming and usually scrunched up at the bottom of a school bag. But, have you considered the untapped opportunity of SMS for schools? We have, and we’re here to share.
Lesson 1: SMS for schools
SMS is a hugely popular communication channel because it’s hugely effective. Already used by marketing agencies, retailers, human resource department, doctors and even dog groomers - it’s a quick, direct and successful way to speak to your audience. Why?
The humble mobile phone sits in our pockets, handbags or promotional phone holders all day long. Whereas a parent might not check their personal email until the end of the day (or week), phones are checked regularly.
And, even better, SMS messages get priority attention, similar to answering a phone. This results in open rates as high as 90% and information that is read in time by the right people. For schools, text messages are a way to mass communicate with very little time, effort or cost - increasing efficiency and reducing admin.
Lesson 2: SMS school uses
So how exactly can schools get involved? There are more opportunities to utilise SMS than you might think. Our top six customer favourites are:
The heating’s gone, the school trip is an hour late, and Alan’s skipped school again - SMS is a quick and direct way to depart urgent information to multiple parents at once.
Letters go missing, emails are overlooked, and children can’t always be trusted to relay the right information. The attention-grabbing nature of SMS messages means that you can send information that you know will be read. Plus, with the ability to send SMS attachments you can share newsletters, timetables, term dates or even the school play poster.
SMS appointment reminders might just be the secret to having a parent-teacher evening that runs on time. You can also use SMS reminders about payments, events and even coursework deadlines.
Parent surveys are an excellent way to understand more about your school and how you could do things better. SMS surveys are quick to send out, easy to complete and simple to crunch - making them far more effective than paper surveys.
It’s not just parents who can benefit from the wonders of your new SMS communication platform. Students have phones too, which means that you can send deadline reminders, school closure alerts and a simple but effective “good luck in your exams” message.
And let’s not forget your staff. Internal communications about term dates, training days and summer holiday countdown can all be sent by SMS - avoiding drowning inboxes.
Lesson 3: SMS best practice
But, before you start pinging out text messages left, right and centre, we recommend following some simple best practice tips.
- Segment your audience by splitting your contact book into relevant categories (e.g. by year, teacher or house).
- Give parents the option to opt out of SMS marketing messages about the nativity, school fundraiser or sports day.
- Send personalised SMS by using custom fields to insert first names and children’s names.
- Send your SMS messages at a time they’re most likely to be ready - no one’s thinking about the school swimathon at 3 am.
- Save time and money by using an SMS communication platform to send text messages out in bulk.
- Always check your SMS campaign before it goes out.
Lesson 4: SMS beyond schools
And, it’s not only schools who can benefit from an SMS communication tool. Nurseries, colleges, universities, after school clubs and summer camps can all harness the power of text messages in making life easier.
We like to think of SMS as the Gryffindor of communication methods - courageous, brave and determined to get that parent-teacher evening running on time.