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Tag: Mobile Solutions

“Summer Melt”: How to Keep Students Enrolled in College

It’s no surprise that the transition from high school to college is full of obstacles and unknowns. But what may come as a surprise is that the summer prior is the most significant period in the college-intending student’s journey, and it’s often the most overlooked.

During the time between confirming college acceptance and arriving on campus in the Fall, teenagers are faced with major responsibilities, decisions and tasks to complete the enrollment process. And as it turns out, universities are failing to bridge that very important last mile.

What is Summer Melt?

College-intending students who fail to show up on campus in the fall comprise a phenomenon known as the “summer melt”. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 20% of students who have committed to enroll “melt away,” with minority, lower-income and first-generation students being the most vulnerable.

If you’ve found that your university has been plagued the summer melt, fortunately there are tactics to keep students actively engaged and committed. Continue reading to learn why the summer melt matters, current melt statistics, and successful strategies that other universities are using to mitigate the phenomenon.

Top 3 Summer Melt Factors

There are many factors that impact a student’s ability to complete the last mile of the admissions process, but most commonly they boil down to the following:

1. Financial Burdens

The reality of just how much it costs to earn a degree begins to set in during summer months. Students begin to receive bills related to tuition, housing, and health insurance, and working through the logistics of setting up payment plans and budgeting for other costs can be overwhelming.

2. Lack of Support

After graduation, students support from high school staff naturally disappears. Also, not every student receives adequate support at home, and even parents who are involved may be just as overwhelmed by the process. During the summer, students are now tasked with paperwork and deadlines, many times without mentorship from there chosen university. To make matters more difficult, often times universities run on limited staff during the summer, so departments may be closed and support services may not be accessible when needed.

3. Transition Anxiety

Aside from all the logistics, it is common for students to feel emotionally unprepared to leave home. This apprehension may stem from family dynamics, but more often than not, students feel a lack of connection with their new school.

Top 3 Ways to Keep Students “Cool” During the Summer Melt

1. Go Mobile

According to Cappex, 77% of students do want relevant information from their university via text. Today’s average college student no longer uses email as their primary source of communication. In fact, open rates for emails have fallen to about 15%, where text message open rates are soaring at 99%. And 90% of these texts are read by the recipient in under three minutes. Texting college-intending students can simplify the process of sending task reminders, and improve students access to their academic information, as well as the overall relationship between the student and university.

2. Assign a School Counselor

Once a student has confirmed acceptance, they should be assigned a counselor to help them navigate through the entire enrollment process. If possible, universities should extend the counselors contracts to include summer months. Universities should also provide workshops for students and their families over the summer, or create a web-based portal to demonstrate how to complete certain tasks.

3. Build a Solid Community

Establishing a community where students feel at home at your university before they even set foot on campus will create a sense of loyalty. As a best practice, universities should start this process right after a student is accepted, which will even boost yield rates.

In order to encourage your students to start their college careers, your university has a big role to keep them on track during the summer. Research has proven that interventions do reduce the melt. In fact, Georgia State University was able to reduce summer melt at their university by 21.4% just by utilizing smart text messaging (click here to learn more about the study). Therefore, it’s worth the investment to put measures in place to close the opportunity gap at your university.

If your university is looking for a SMS text solution, click here to learn more about TrueDialog, the preferred platform for colleges and universities, and start your free trail today.

What will your university do to keep students “cool”?

Best Practices, Education, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns, Universities and Colleges

Make Halloween Fun With SMS – Texting Tips

Give your digital marketing the ultimate treat this Halloween with SMS

The season of all things fun and spooky is upon us. A great way to get your customers in the spirit is incorporating SMS into your digital marketing strategy.

In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to have some Halloween fun with text message marketing, including:

  1. How to boost your creativity and crush the competition
  2. How to speak to your target-market specifically
  3. Real examples from Halloween inspired marketing campaigns

Click here to read the blog post. From all of us at TrueDialog, we hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!

P.S. If the thought of incorporating SMS into your business seems spooky, never fear! We’re here to make the process a little less scary. Click here to contact us.

Best Practices, Education, Halloween SMS Campaigns, Holiday SMS Marketing, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns

Regulations to Know Before You Text – Texting Tips

“Can I legally text my university’s students and alumni?”

If you’re wondering whether it’s legal to text as an organization, you’re not alone. In fact, the #1 reason why organizations are hesitant to SMS text is because they’re unsure of the legality.

In an effort to make the topic easier, we’ve invited communication law expert attorney, Adam Bowser, to host webinar, “Regulations to Know Before You Text”.

During this free presentation on November 15th at 2PM ET, Adam will break down the various levels of consent needed to text students and alumni.

You’ll learn:

  • The #1 question you should ask yourself before hitting “Send”
  • The legal categories approved for texting
  • When you need permission to text and when you don’t

Click here to learn more and register for TrueDialog’s webinar: Regulations to Know Before You Text.

Best Practices, Education, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns, Universities and Colleges

Utilizing SMS Alerts During Severe Winter Weather – Texting Tips

How to start preparing your university’s SMS Alert System for winter…

The leaves are just beginning to change colors in some parts of the country, but regardless of your location, we all know the threats posed by winter weather is around the corner. And for many universities, winter weather brings about new challenges in keeping students and faculty safe.

Fortunately, SMS provides a quick and convenient outlet for sharing alert notifications on weather-related closings, hazards on campus, and safety information.

Is your university prepared to implement a SMS Alert System this winter? Here’s a few tips to help:

  1. Ensure you have all contact phone numbers in your database. Remember, as a university, you’re legally allowed to send emergency notifications. For more information, check out our whitepaper, “Regulations to Know Before You Text.”
  2. Segment out your notification system. During certain campus-wide emergencies, everyone should receive an alert, but to help manage the crisis, different messages might need to be sent to certain groups. Spend time determining these groups now.
  3. Enable your SMS Alert System to work both ways. Students and faculty should be able to reach campus security during an emergency via text, so ensure everyone is aware of that and review the appropriate contact information with them.

Best Practices, Education, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns, Universities and Colleges

Keeping Students Enrolled in College – Texting Tips

Plagued by Summer Melt? It’s time to re-vamp your student communications strategy…

It’s no surprise that the transition from high school to college is full of obstacles and unknowns. But what may come as a surprise is that the summer prior is the most significant period in the college-intending student’s journey, and it is often the most overlooked.

As many as one in five high school graduates who are enrolled in college “melt” during the summer months and don’t arrive on campus in the fall. If you’ve found that your university has been plagued the summer melt, read our blog post, ““Summer Melt”: How to Keep Students Enrolled in College.”

You’ll learn:

  • The top “melting factors” including financial burdens, anxiety, and lack of support
  • Tips for keeping students “cool” during the summer
  • The secret to using SMS to boost enrollment rates

To read the blog post, ““Summer Melt”: How to Keep Students Enrolled in College,” click here.

Best Practices, Education, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns, Universities and Colleges

Emergency Preparedness for Universities – Texting Tips

How SMS Can Assist in the Safety of Students and Staff During a Large Scale Disaster

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the threat of Hurricane Irma has focused the attention of colleges and universities throughout the east coast.

Although the exact track of Irma remains uncertain, the importance of preparing an SMS/Text strategy for a large scale disaster cannot be overstated.

Here’s why:

Following large scale disasters, power and cell coverage is often compromised. Because of limited cellular bandwidth, SMS/Text will become the default form of communications. If your university is left with SMS as your only source of communication, will you be able to effectively share updates and ensure the safety of your students and staff?

Here are a few suggestions to help your university prepare:

  1. Send Text Preparedness Tips: Help your students and staff prepare by texting this Emergency Preparedness Checklist from Ready.gov.
  2. Execute Your Crisis Communications Strategy: Proactively send texts to all students, employees, and critical vendors/suppliers, to share news (such as school closings and evacuations) before, during and after the storm.
  3. Contact Reminders: Restate important phone numbers and departments on campus, as well as emergency contact information.

For more up-to-date information on Hurricane Irma, including the storm’s status, warnings and potential impact timing, click here.

Best Practices, Education, Emergency Preparedness, Hurricane, Mobile Solutions, Preparedness, SMS Campaigns, Universities and Colleges

SMS Couponing for Back-To-School Season – Texting Tips

Preparing for the 2nd Busiest Shopping Season of the Year

As beach days give way to school bells, retailers are gearing-up for the second busiest shopping period of the year. Back-to-school season offers a prime opportunity for organizations to connect with customers via SMS to offer competitive sales and drum-up revenue.

If you haven’t thought about your SMS marketing strategy for back-to-school season just yet, you’re in luck. Here are a few tips to consider before you start sending your mobile coupons:

  1. Consider your audience: To make the most of your campaign, develop targeted campaigns for the various audiences you may be catering to. For example, your message should be tailored differently for parents vs. teenagers vs. college students.
  2. Interact with your audience: Try sending out a quick 1-question dialog with multiple choice answers to determine which coupon your customer wants most, or what is on the top of their back-to-school list. This enables you to deliver a highly targeted offer to your customer, as well as learn more about their preferences/behaviors.
  3. Develop a referral program: Consider how to best reward your loyal customers who pass along your SMS coupons to their friends. Savvy marketers are capitalizing on this practice by targeting teenagers and young adults who are most inclined to “share” their latest purchases with friends.

To learn more, check out our blog post, “Reducing Coupon Fraud with SMS”.

Back-to-School Shopping, Best Practices, Mobile Coupons, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns, SMS Retail

Text Message Updates for Alumni – Texting Tips

How to Keep Your Alumni Engaged After Graduation

Another graduation season is behind us, leaving institutions with a new job of building lasting relationships with their alumni. But with so many graduates going in different directions after earning their degrees, keeping a graduating class ‘together’ is challenging.

Fortunately, SMS provides not only simplicity, but an overall better way to keep up with alumni communications.

For inspiration on how to use SMS to engage with Alumni, read our blog post, “Text Message Updates for Alumni.”

Suggestions include:

  • Alumni event updates
  • Student and alumni news
  • Updating alumni information

Click here to read the full blog post, “Text Message Updates for Alumni.”

Best Practices, Education, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns, Universities and Colleges

3 Ways to Re-Engage Subscribers During the Summer Slowdown – Texting Tips

Warm-up your Subscribers This Summer

It’s that time of the year that many of us are facing the summer slowdown…

Between the sunshine and lighter schedules, it’s natural to fall out of the swing of things around the office. Similarly, it’s natural for subscribers to unplug and become less engaged.

If you’re searching for some inspiration to keep your customers engaged this season, here are a few quick and easy ideas.

  1. Host a party: Everyone loves their share of summertime parties. Why not figuratively host your own by having a day of specials and sales. It seemed to work pretty well for Amazon. In fact, “Amazon Prime Day” was their biggest sales day in company history.
  2. Plan a contest to increase opt-ins: There’s nothing like keeping your subscribers engaged by having them actively compete for something. Choose a summer theme and create a referral campaign around it.
  3. Recommend activities: One of the best ways to gain happy customers/subscribers is to be a reliable source of information for them. Try switching gears by suggesting a few summertime activities for them to indulge in, tips to achieve their goals by fall, or ways to stay on track during the summer slowdown. Text your subscribers an article like this one: “6 Ways to Stay Motivated at Work this Summer.”

Best Practices, Company Success, Mobile Solutions, SMS Campaigns, SMS Marketing

Text Message Updates for Alumni

As you know, higher education institutions around the world are using text message updates to stay in communication with students, parents, and graduates. Alumni associations have quickly learned that the best way to stay connected is by strategically integrating text/SMS opt-in forms into their processes.

Here are a couple of ideas and real world examples of effective alumni SMS campaigns.

Alumni Event Updates

Many universities are turning to text message updates to announce upcoming events for their alumni near and far. Events include everything from reunions, to fundraising events. SMS has been an effective solution for not only sending invitations, but also gathering key data from alumni to deliver better events. SMS allows your association to collect votes on the top venues for hosting events, ask about topics for workshops, and collect RSVPs for events too.

Alumni Giving

Alumni choose to give back to their university for a number of reasons. Whether they want to show appreciation for their education, help someone else have a similar experience, or just want to stay connected, alumni are among some of the most generous donors. And once a new class passes graduation, an immediate goal for the university is to quickly get graduates into the habit of giving back. A practical way to build lasting relationships and sustain generosity is to stay in touch with alumni via SMS.  Even for graduates who aren’t willing to make a donation, SMS provides an outlet to ask them to support the school in other ways (such as volunteer opportunities).

Student and Alumni News

More than just event announcements are being sent via text, institutions are using SMS to keep those on and off campus up to date about what’s happening. Schools like the University of Southern Florida invite anyone – students, alumni, and even sports fans – to sign up for the latest USF news. If done really well, this program could even segment news updates so that contacts in the SMS database are only receiving news most pertinent to their interests.

You can segment text message updates with a dialog SMS campaign. Rather than using a basic SMS protocol that replies to the contact with a simple, “Thanks for opting in and stay tuned…,” you can ask a question. Try using  multiple choice question such as, “What kinds of university updates would you like to receive? Sports, Events, Student News, Alumni News, All.” As people reply with their choice, their account in your SMS database will be updated with that preference so you know what information to send to them.

Miami University aims to send only the most relevant news to their alumni by offering chapter-specific updates. When you visit their text message sign-up page, the sign-up form offers you the option to choose a specific alumni chapter to receive text message updates.

Updating Alumni Information

As we all know, people move and change jobs on a fairly frequent basis. Mobile numbers are one of the few contact data points that rarely change, making SMS communications vital.

Sometimes we miss the opportunity to gather that mobile phone number while people are still students. Don’t let this opportunity slip by. Lay a foundation today and start communication with students via text. It’ll payoff for years to come.

Curious how mobile technology can improve communications in your school? Learn More
 

Mobile Solutions, Universities and Colleges

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