Everyone wins when colleges and universities use SMS messaging for marketing and service purposes. Students stay on track from application to graduation, and higher ed staff members can simplify and automate processes that save time.
The first SMS message was sent in 1992, and your target audiences have grown up texting their friends and family. Because your college aims to serve these digital natives, adding a messaging communication channel will help you reach this audience every day.
Before we jump into the benefits of using messaging, your university will need to take the essential first step of getting permission from your students and leads. Even if you’ve been in contact through email or phone calls, you’ll still need to obtain their express written consent before you send the first text.
You can stay in compliance with the anti-telemarketing laws in your country, like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States or European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with opt-in opportunities and language in your digital spaces like social media and websites, as well as in printed material like applications, flyers, business cards, and mailings. Make consent a standard part of materials designed for students and a part of your website. Once you have permission from your audience, you’re ready to start using messaging that benefits everyone — from your staff to your students.
In 160 characters or less, you can drive prospective students toward enrollment with a simple conversational message. Most of your leads are already checking their phone more than 96 times a day, and you can reap the benefits by sending SMS texts that include a clear call to action right to their screen. Your enrollment team can send these short, relevant messages about new changes on campus that include links to the application or an interesting fact with a link to your college newsletter. Asking questions is a great way to get them interested while also unveiling what your school has to offer.
Your message can be as simple as:
Hi Jamal! Did you know XYZCollege
has an open house this Sunday?
Reply OPEN for more info.
Sean XYZ College
Messaging is an efficient communication channel that can save productive hours for your university team. A quick message is easy for your staff to send compared to making numerous unanswered phone calls or emails. Your counselor’s caseload can become more manageable when they can use messaging to engage in conversations, saving valuable time they can use to guide and ultimately enroll more students. And since messages are read and responded to faster than other communication channels alone, your university staff will be able to serve more students in less time.
With SMS-Magic, your staff won’t have to spend all day at their computers or on their phones to send engaging messages. Once you’ve stored vital student information in your CRM database, your team can create segmented groups that will receive specific marketing or SMS messaging campaigns. Send relevant and personalized messages to these student groups based on their enrollment or housing status, major, interests, or campus location to snag their attention and trigger engagement.
Messaging automation can also save your staff valuable productivity hours by responding without staff intervention at any time of day. With SMS-Magic, you can create messaging flows triggered by keywords, numbers, or phrases. This process can allow your team to collect data, assist students, and send applicable information using messages they’ve previously written. If a student requests information about your school while a counselor is in a meeting, a triggered conversational text can respond instantaneously, starting and continuing that vital conversation.
Even though students may schedule a meeting or plan to come to an event or orientation, sending reminder messages and confirmations can help increase their attendance. These reminders can be automated and scheduled to send multiple days before, one day before and the day of. Your school can also use this reminder strategy to send messages about important due dates for enrollment and financial aid applications, school and course registration, parking passes, and housing.
Using conversational messaging in higher education is a great way to stay in touch with prospective students and current students – even students who might be taking a semester off. Sending hundreds or thousands of messages and keeping track of them, however, takes a little help. SMS-Magic has the tools that will make your messaging campaigns easy to create, easy to implement, and easy to track. You can’t easily send thousands of messages using your mobile phone, but you can easily send thousands of messages through SMS-Magic.