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Modern Campus: Texting Software for Higher Education

When it comes to communication in the modern era, snail mail flyers and bulletin boards on campus just aren’t cutting it. In this generation, the most reliable communication requires swift delivery to ensure messages don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Email inboxes get clogged, print mail gets lost in piles labeled “junk,” and phone calls? Good luck getting an answer, particularly if the recipient doesn’t recognize your number. Colleges and universities have important and time-sensitive messages for their students and staff. With little room for error regarding timelines and deadlines, delivering messages is paramount. Texting software for higher education can ensure your communication is fine-tuned and effective.

What is Texting Software for Higher Education?

When it comes to sending SMS to your students and staff, you don’t need to approach modern communication the old-fashioned way. In other words: don’t worry. You won’t have to sit and furiously type messages to individual recipients like you would from your personal SMS application.

Instead, a texting software for higher education does all (okay, most) of the work for you. Your texting software is effectively an application that allows you to craft, schedule, send, and track your SMS messages. More than a marketing tool, texting will enable you to reach out proactively to students and staff with valuable messages and information.

Expand Your Marketing and Communications Approach

Text messaging software for higher education lets colleges and universities take their communications to the next level. It’s true that higher ed students aren’t all Gen Zers, and plenty of people return to pursue education later in life. For anyone thinking that texting is a Gen Z thing, the statistics show otherwise. Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and even boomers have embraced the art (and value) of text messages.

People used to head to the mailbox with interest and curiosity, checking the mail daily to find a variety of envelopes waiting for them: letters from friends and family, bank statements, bills (less excitement there), and fliers for new products and services, including higher ed information. These days there’s less enthusiasm for snail mail as inboxes are packed with, well, junk.

The same goes for email. What was once a place for notes from friends, invitations to parties, and enticing offers from businesses is now a repository for a variety of messages. With so many “how did I even get on this mailing list?” incoming messages, it’s easy for those valuable and time-sensitive ones to get buried.

That’s not a suggestion that there isn’t a place for these forms of communication, of course. But for higher ed institutions who want to be sure their messages are received – and received on time – a more timely approach is crucial.

Text messaging software for higher education is the key to modern communication. A reported 95% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes of delivery, and Americans check their phones 96 times per day on average. It’s safe to say when you send a text, you’re reaching a captive audience.

Related: How Colleges Use Texting to Increase Student Enrollment and Improve Retention

Uses for SMS

Great: you know that you’ll reach your audience if you send text messages. But what are you going to say that your recipients will want to hear?

SMS for higher ed is more than a “hey, what’s up?” check-in. In order to maintain a connection with your subscribers, you need to be sure to add value. After all, no one wants their text message inbox to resemble their mailbox. And they definitely don’t want to hear from a school with nothing to say.

There are myriad ways to use SMS to support your outreach strategy. Texting software for higher education can prove fruitful for communication with prospective or current students and even staff. As you begin to use the platform, you’ll realize how many opportunities it avails. To help you get started, consider some popular approaches:

Increase Enrollment

Institutions can begin to add value early by using SMS during the recruitment process. In-person and online events are pivotal to forming a relationship with students, and SMS can ensure your prospects show up.

Texting software for higher education will enable you to create a distribution list of subscribers who are not yet students. When you have upcoming events, easily share information with only relevant recipients. Schools can also follow up events with messages to attendees, thanking them for joining and providing follow-up material.

Of course, texting won’t be a standalone approach. That means colleges and universities can supplement the methods they’re currently using with SMS to increase effectiveness. When you send an email newsletter or information packet, follow up with a text. In your brief SMS, you can include a link to an HTML version of the email or incorporate other materials, such as images via MMS.

Streamline Admissions

If you ask any full-time student, the academic year is one of constant movement and responsibility. No matter how full the calendar is, the busiest time of the year for everyone is always right at the start. With a long list of forms, meetings, and a variety of needs pertaining to each student, there are many moving parts at the beginning of each academic year.

Institutions can find some relief by implementing texting software for higher education. Again audience segments come to save the day, allowing you to schedule and send messages to relevant groups. You may choose to break down your audiences by enrollment year, major, campus location, or other criteria.

Students and staff are busy. Clear and relevant SMS messages will help ensure the information they need is sent and received, helping everyone get off to a smooth start to the academic year.

Help Students Meet Deadlines

Deadlines are tremendously important to prospective and current students. A missed financial aid submission, enrollment, or disenrollment deadline will drastically affect their academic path.

Colleges and universities can add value to students by using texting software for higher education. Send brief reminders of upcoming deadlines to ensure they’re met. You’ll also save your staff time and stress by sending reminders early, hopefully avoiding the rush of last-minute submissions and appeals for a second chance after missed deadlines.

Send Invitations and Manage Appointments

Whether pre-enrollment events or regular occasions throughout the year, schools often have challenges getting the word out and building an RSVP list. Texting software for higher education can help.

You may have enticing emails landing in inboxes, and eye-catching posters tacked up on a campus bulletin board, but take it a step further and see your attendance numbers grow. Sending an SMS with invitations and RSVP links will help spread the word about campus tours, open lecture events, celebrations, etc.

You can also leverage the ease and reliability of text messaging to manage appointment calendars. Trigger automatic messages with upcoming appointment reminders. Make it easy for your recipients to change or cancel their appointment with a link in the text. You’ll add value by helping subscribers stay on top of their calendars, and staff will be grateful to reduce no-shows and tardiness.

Related: Higher Education: Alert Notification System Best Practices

Ensure Receipt of Urgent Alerts

As with anything in life, we like to plan for the best-case scenario. In a perfect world, everything flows smoothly, and there are never any emergencies or urgencies, right? In reality, things are a bit different.

When it comes to sending urgent alerts, time is of the essence. Suppose you need to let students and staff know about utility outages, inclement weather, major traffic incidents, or a security issue on campus. In that case, SMS is the best and fastest way to do it. If you have multiple campuses, segmenting your audience ensures that messages only go to those potentially affected.

Connect with Staff

Students aren’t the only ones who will benefit from receiving clear, reliable communication. Institutions can also connect with staff and team members with pertinent information.

Use texting software for higher education to communicate with departments, campuses, or your entire staff. Many of the same uses for SMS can be applied to staff communication: meeting reminders, deadlines, urgent alerts, and event invitations.

Get Started with SMS

It’s clear that SMS can help you modernize and deepen your communication with students and staff alike. By adding value and taking a clear, proactive approach, things are bound to flow more smoothly on campus, and in the lives of your recipients.

If you’re ready to expand on your communications approach, you’ll need texting software for higher education. With a feature-rich platform like TrueDialog, you have all you need to craft, schedule, send, and track your messages with ease. Our enterprise-class system is user-friendly, ensuring you don’t make things more complex in an effort to make them easier. Give us a call for a free trial.

Disclaimer: Please note that this advice is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be substituted for consultation with appropriate legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.