Using SMS Text Messaging to Boost University Enrollment
SMS texting in college admissions is a necessity. Research shows today’s students overwhelmingly prefer text messaging and often don’t respond to traditional phone or email marketing. And while enrollment and retention rates are critical metrics, higher education texting offers many other valuable benefits as well.
COLLEGE STUDENTS PREFER SMS TEXT MESSAGING
Text messaging dominates the modern communication landscape. And nowhere is this more evident than on higher education campuses. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that times have changed. But the extent to which it has may surprise you.
Recent studies show that 95% of 18-24-year-olds own cell phones and 97% of them use text messaging extensively. On average, this demographic sends around 110 texts per day or more than 3,000 text messages per month.
In comparison, these numbers are nearly double those for ages 25-34 and triple for persons 65 or older. Clear evidence that SMS text messaging has expanded rapidly and is now a critical part of higher education marketing.
One of the most common complaints from university administrators is that schools can’t reach students. They frequently won’t answer their phone or respond to email. Texting is the only way many students want to communicate.
And an estimated 97% of text messages are read in 3 minutes or less.
However, institutions shouldn’t abandon traditional forms of communication. They instead need to develop a holistic communications plan that lets the student choose their preferred method – text messaging, email, or phone.
Bottom line – higher education partners must meet enrollees where they are in order to thrive. Sometimes that means a phone call. Other times its email. Yet, for the vast majority, texting reigns supreme.
SMS TEXTING IMPROVES COLLEGE ADMISSIONS AND RETENTION
Admitting students is a complicated process requiring coordination between multiple departments such as admissions, registration, and financial aid. And, unfortunately, when one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing, problems arise.
Records are lost, deadlines go unnoticed, and students and their families pay the price.
That’s why SMS texting is a high-value solution. Enterprise-grade platforms offer advanced options which allow seamless communication between all parties. By using a cloud-based communications platform, universities can be up and running the same day with no technology expenditures or development required.
Admissions and enrollment staff can effortlessly transition between mass notifications and engaging in one-on-one personalized texting dialog at scale between students and multiple departments.
University staff can all chime into the same texting thread with the student to resolve issues faster and create a truly seamless experience. While students need only to make a single request to receive all the help they need.
Once contact is made, departments can hand-off tickets and keep entire case histories intact. Behind the scenes, transfers happen as needed while still maintaining a single conversation thread throughout.
Students get better, faster customer experiences without jumping through hoops or worrying about falling through the cracks.
The latest developments in text messaging have created cloud-based, enterprise-grade platforms that can be immediately deployed with minimal effort and allow multiple staff members to all engage in the same texting thread with students and prospects.
A stark contrast to messages getting buried in a forgotten email account or unreturned phone calls. SMS text messaging is a high-value communication platform that offers incredible ROI for university stakeholders.
BENEFITS OF TEXT MESSAGING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
The benefits of including SMS text messaging are undeniable – both from the student perspective as well as the institution. Students get the assistance they need in near real-time communication, along with relevant reminders about upcoming events, due dates, or submission requirements.
Universities receive value from improved response rates, higher enrollment yield, stronger retention metrics, and overall student engagement.
Gentle reminders add value – A recent Harvard Business Review study showed that many college students welcome a proactive outreach program. Not only for staying informed, but also to provide gentle “nudges” in completing required tasks and staying ahead of admissions and financial deadlines.
In one example, Georgia State University implemented a text-based program to help students navigate the admissions process. The result? A 71% student engagement rate with less than 2% of message traffic requiring additional staff intervention.
Students received the help they needed using the format they enjoyed most (texting).
Texting improves admission and retention rates – In 2017, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission reported increases in both GPAs and retention rates after implementing higher education texting. Their “Txt 4 Success” initiative gives students information and reminders about registration, tuition deadlines, and advice for completing FAFSA applications.
Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the HEPC, said texting programs align perfectly with students who are “usually glued to their phones.” Hill also noted that the study outcomes showed, “retention rates and attempted credit hours increased” for students who opted-in to the program.
The Chancellor pointed out that students were more comfortable using a medium so familiar to them (texting). Which made asking for help less intimidating and proved to be “an effective way to open a door for conversation.”
Texting in education saves time – another powerful benefit of incorporating SMS text messaging into university settings. Using an enterprise-grade SMS messaging platform allows you to integrate your existing CRM and pull student data automatically.
With texting, higher education facilities can easily send students reminders about:
- tuition deadlines – to inform students of upcoming fees and deadlines before it’s too late. Preemptive text messages help students plan better and may reduce stress during busy periods.
- incomplete applications – such as courtesy reminders for missing forms, transcripts, or other important documents. These notifications ensure applications are received (and processed) in a timely manner.
- event notifications – for registration drives, career fairs, open houses, or alumni events. Activities that students and parents might not be aware of otherwise.
SMS text messaging can also be used to quickly coordinate meeting times and schedule interviews with support staff. Which eliminates the back and forth associated with traditional phone calls or email.
Text messaging improves student satisfaction – in multiple ways. Marketing departments can segment their messaging to ensure the right content goes to the proper audience. Engineering students don’t want to receive psychology department updates. Just like alumni shouldn’t be bothered with new student orientation schedules.
Proper segmentation – along with providing relevant updates – is key to earning and keeping student trust.
Access to someone’s SMS inbox is a privilege.
Which can be easily lost if abused. University managers need enterprise-grade tools with powerful administrative controls to grant and restrict access, monitor communications and compliance, and easily deploy and train their reps.
Besides the right message, an outstanding customer experience makes a great impression as well.
Texting offers much higher response rates than phone or email.
Students get their questions answered quickly and easily using their favorite mobile device. And because students are comfortable and familiar with texting, it’s a breeze to keep the conversation going and build rapport.
Support staff can use these opportunities to share information about scholarships and grants, advising/mentoring services, or invite students and parents to networking events.
Which – in many cases – are the updates they care about most.
ENTERPRISE-GRADE SMS TEXTING SOLUTIONS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATION
Text messaging is becoming a critical part of university outreach strategies. Thus, it’s important to choose the right partner for your SMS messaging platform. A service provider that’s not only affordable but built to scale and grow with you over time.
TrueDialog’s SMS education solution is designed to securely and reliably meet the needs of large universities and colleges. Yet, remains easy-to-use for smaller and midsize institutions as well.
Our higher education texting platform was custom-built over several years by working directly with university partners. The result is an enterprise-grade text messaging solution that was designed for the needs of both online and ground-based facilities alike.
While other SMS texting vendors shoehorn their existing text platforms into the education marketplace, TrueDialog designed a solution from the ground up by working with and carefully listening to large universities. TrueDialog’s cloud-based, enterprise-grade software offers high performance and scalability, at less than half the cost of the competition.
TrueDialog’s scalable enterprise SMS solutions set the standard for value and ROI. Our unique message platform works on both desktop and mobile apps and includes industry-leading features that others simply can’t match.
- Direct carrier connections – means higher messaging volumes at lower cost. We securely handle tens of millions of messages each month for organizations of all sizes. And at pricing our competitors can’t touch.
- Proprietary “Cross-Code” and 2-way mass texting features – enable two-way text messaging dialogs that create threaded, multi-user, many-to-one conversations with ease. Seamless texting with both Short Codes and Long Codes in the same agent thread allows sending mass text messages and then effortlessly engaging in personalized one-to-one dialog at scale.
No other SMS platform comes close.
- Professional administrative controls – provide granular system access based on specific user needs. Give administrators full control while limiting agents to view-only mode or other customizable profiles.
Unlike other SMS messaging products, TrueDialog assigns a dedicated, company-owned text number to each individual rep. Bypassing the headache of shared SMS inboxes or the unprofessional use of personal cell numbers.
- FREE multi-channel campus alert – provides an emergency alert notification system at no extra charge. Send mass notifications simultaneously via SMS text, voice, email, or social media directly from within your dashboard.
- CRM integration – add SMS text messaging capability to your existing CRM database with just a few clicks. Integrations include Salesforce, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics, CampusNexus, Oracle and a host of other popular options.
To learn more about these and our other unique SMS texting benefits, visit our website.
SMS texting in university and college admissions is a high-leverage marketing channel that produces incredible ROI. Universities adopting this technology report more engagement, increased enrollment yield, higher retention rates, and better customer satisfaction. Not to mention huge time savings and enhanced productivity amongst staff.
But in order to be effective, higher education texting must be done right.
Enterprise-grade solutions like TrueDialog make the process easy. Our five-star rated, scalable SMS messaging platform is built from the ground up for higher education managers.
We are the cloud experts in SMS text messaging technology and offer more features than the competition – for about half the price.
Don’t sacrifice. Insist on getting more value for less money. Give us a call and let us introduce you to the power of TrueDialog.
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