When I get a phone call from my friends, family, co-workers, doctors’ office—or anybody—I often joke and say, “Before you call again, think to yourself: ‘Could this be a text message instead of a call?’”
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy talking with friends, family, co-workers (maybe not my doctor)—but I’m also super-busy and can’t always answer my phone. So, a text is something I can usually respond to faster and easier.
3 Best Practices for Text-First Communications
No matter the size, location, or type of higher education institution we serve, our customers often tell us that one of the reasons they love CampusLogic is because our technology helps them meet their students where they are—on their smartphones.
There’s data to support their observations. On average, people check their cellphones 46 times each day—and much more for the 18–24 age group. I know we’ve all heard complaints about how texting is taking away from human interaction. But, no matter what your opinion is on texting, we can’t argue the fact that it’s become the way many of us prefer to communicate.
So, if you want to effectively connect with more students, families, and prospective students—and reach them in a manner they prefer—here are three best practices to consider:
1. Get Permission
Just like emails, text messaging requires consent; an opt-in. But the great news is that almost everyone will gladly give you permission. Today, most cellular providers include unlimited texting, so recipients are no longer charged for incoming or outgoing texts. Getting permission shouldn’t be difficult at all.
You just need to consider your communications strategy in order to determine how you get permission to collect, and use, those cellphone numbers.
2. Keep it Short and Sweet
Although some phones don’t cut off at the 160-character limit, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep texts under 160 characters. Just like my thoughts around, ‘Could this be a text instead of a call?’, when I get a really long text from someone, I think, ‘Was this three-scroll text necessary?’
If there’s more information you need to provide in a text, and your message goes beyond 160 characters, consider a question-and-answer format for multiple messages and deeper engagement. You can also include a link to a webpage that provides further details.
3. Change it Up
If you aren’t getting the responses you want, try a new message with a different call to action. Or, try some A/B testing to determine if certain messages get better responses from students.
There’s no perfect formula to a great text campaign. Creating a compelling message that drives action might not happen immediately, so keep trying new things until you get the results you want. If you’re using StudentFormsSM by CampusLogic, you can also gather usage insights to help you determine your own best practices.
Ready to Add Texting to Your Communications Strategy?
I know that many colleges and universities are already preparing for the 2018–19 school year. This is the perfect time to look over all the communications sent to students to see if the information is correct, engaging—and driving desired outcomes. Also, if you aren’t already collecting cellphone numbers, it’s time to get started—and add text messaging to your overall communications strategy.
If you’d like more ideas about texting best practices, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager. And, yes—they’ll respond to texts, too.
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