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3 ways texting your students increases virtual event attendance

It takes significant time and effort and marketing dollars to get prospective students interested in visiting your school. And it’s no surprise that this has become more challenging since 2020, so it is absolutely critical to make sure students actually attend your event.

When it comes to communication, nothing is quicker and more convenient than texting today’s mobile-centric students. In fact, 90% of texts are read within 15 mins of being sent (MobileSquared report), making it the perfect channel to convey critical messaging to students.

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Texting was instrumental because like any event put together a last-minute, things go wrong. Texting allowed quick communication with our students. We got 10 messages saying the link for our event was messed up and we could text an update saying we were fixing it. It kept us on schedule - it is as available and as immediate as you can be.
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Courtney Chastine
Director of Visitor Services, Sam Houston State University

Texting your way to a successful virtual event

1) Send event reminders and alerts

So your students don’t read their emails? Well, that’s nothing new! Students are bombarded with emails daily and while email does have its place, technology has driven students to new channels. But why? It’s pretty simple:

  • Emails can easily get trapped in spam filters
  • Students identify email as formal and boring
  • Gen Z are used to the immediacy of notifications from apps like Facebook and TikTok

Text messaging is, by its very nature, more personal. In fact, according to University Business, two-thirds of incoming college students and their parents find text messages with key information or important dates helpful. 

Many colleges have had to announce quick changes due to COVID – moving events from on-campus into a hybrid model. As a student, it can be hard to keep track. Sending text message notifications and alerts ensures students see urgent or time-sensitive information (Just like Courtney said 👆). By texting students you will improve each student’s overall experience.

2) Design the perfect event communication plan

How many times have you been invited to a party or dinner or an event, and you forgot about it?

A lot. We’ve all been there but we don’t want the same to happen to your prospective students. Your success depends on your ability to communicate with students, and a good communication strategy creates the best results.

You’ve done the hard part. You’ve balanced the organizing of the event, completed the pre-event marketing, sent the famous invites and you’ve seen those registrations for your event flood in! But make sure you don’t forget about the reminders – it’s now time to maximize the key moments before the event.

  • 1st reminder: 1 week before the event
  • 2nd reminder: 1 day before the event
  • 3rd reminder: 1 hour before the event
  • 4th reminder: 5 minutes before the event

Now that you’ve planned what should happen, automate it! Make sure you have the right software in place to automatically trigger every reminder and email so that you can focus on the valuable work! Sending your event reminders at the right time can increase attendance and decrease no-shows.

3) Cut through the noise. Personalize your communication.

Despite being digital natives, students are seeking out real connections more than ever. They have so much information at their fingertips, it can be overwhelming. So, any steps your institution can take to save time by providing relevant information makes a lot of sense from a recruitment perspective.

Admissions counselors are the first point of contact a student has in the recruitment process but ensuring that the energy and personality from your admissions team continues through the communications that follow will really make you stand out from the crowd.

Digital personalization makes it easier for institutions to deliver the right information to the right students – through the best channels. And, it makes students feel like a name, not a number. Win-win!

Let me give you an example: If you know that a potential undergraduate student, Margot has not yet filled out the pre-event survey, you can use information you have previously captured about her to create a personalized dynamic text to nudge her to fill it out!

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I cannot say enough times, if you are not texting your prospective students you should be. You have to meet the students where they are, and where they are is texting
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Courtney Chastine
Director of Visitor Services, Sam Houston State University

Make a real difference for your students and events

Are you interested in learning about how you can personalize communications to enhance event experience with an all-in-one higher education admissions platform? Get in touch.