The contract is signed, the texting program is created, the staff is trained, and now it’s officially Signal Vine Launch Day! Today’s the day you start sending text messages to your students - and they start texting you back.
When we text students, we want our messages to come off as friendly and approachable, while still keeping it professional. The goal is to reach and engage students - not make them laugh at our formality or our misguided attempts to use (what we think is) the cool text lingo. We wrestle between using “u” or “you,” “2” and “to,” “gr8” and “great”… but maybe we’re overthinking things. It turns out that the friendliness of text messages might come down to the simplest of punctuation marks: the period.
Have you ever called a company for customer service help and been greeted by an automated system? The experience feels impersonal and cold. No one likes to talk to a computer, and students are no different. They're used to receiving and dismissing mass automated messages, which is why we always stress the importance of personalization.
Does your organization continue to spend money on technology and programs that are outdated and no longer seem to work? Is your organization making investment choices based on criteria other than effectiveness or outcomes? These are technology traps organizations fall into over and over, allocating budget dollars for technology that doesn’t move the needle on outcomes and absorbs valuable budget dollars that could be better spent on high-impact interventions. To maximize your impact, it's critical for your organization to avoid these traps.
Now that you know why text messaging students is effective and how to send engaging texts, you might be wondering when you should be texting students. It isn’t simply a matter of the time of day; successful text messaging programs are strategic about scheduling messages around important deadlines, events, and tasks.
With that in mind, here are eight times when sending a text message can effectively improve student outcomes:
Congratulations! You’ve jumped through the administrative hoops and you’re finally ready to start texting your students! We know you have a lot of great information to send out, but you want to make sure your messages are relevant and don’t fall into the TL;DR trap. The beauty of a text message is that it’s short, sweet, and to the point, so here are a few tips and tricks to get your information out there in 160 characters or less.
Have you ever had so many questions that you don’t even know where to begin? It’s overwhelming - and it’s what millions of first year college students are experiencing as the new school year approaches.
Do you read a long-winded email the moment you open it? Chances are that you’re more likely to delete that email or send it back to the limbo of your inbox. You are not alone. TL;DR.
TL;DR (#TLDR) or "Too long; didn't read" is a phrase that’s popular within the student vernacular. It's a common response that students have to information that they deem unnecessarily lengthy.
We've had the opportunity to work closely with customers as they develop and tweak their text messaging programs to be as effective as possible, and we've learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn't. The difference of literally one word can double the response rate on a message, which is hard to believe until you actually see it in practice. At the heart of what we've learned is that every message needs to be relevant and personalized, and better yet it should be timely and prompt a call to action! That's a lot to fit into 160 characters, but it's easily done once you get the hang of it.Here's what we've learned: mass amounts of general information can overwhelm students. We have worked with our customers to develop an overview of the key elements of an effective message - what we call the anatomy of a personalized text.
Welcome to TextMeBack, the place where our "Signal Squad" will be sharing everything and anything we think you'll be interested in hearing. There's more than enough information and pictures on our site to give you a sense of who we are, but let me share a little bit more about the Signal Vine community that you might not know (unless you've been working with us for a while).
Topics: Admissions, Enrollment, College Access, K - 12, Tips & Tricks, Student Life, Financial Aid, Retention, Parent Engagement, Academic Advising, Conferences, Summer Melt, Higher Education, Nonprofit, Engagement, Research, Alumni