NYU Grossman School of Medicine use Slate and Gecko to track every single prospect interaction LEARN HOW

Texting students: 7 texts that will engage more students at your next event

Increase attendee numbers and engagement at your next event with our expert tips on texting students!

How much impact can you have with 160 characters? The answer is: a lot. This is especially true when you’re running recruitment events – whether they’re in-person, virtual, or a hybrid format. Just think about it. Prospective students receive an incredibly high volume of information from schools, a lot of which comes in the form of email, and it’s all competing for their attention. It’s no wonder they might tune out and not notice the email about your next Visit Day.

A text, on the other hand, is short, digestible, and impactful. In fact, research has shown that 90% of texts are read within 15 minutes of being sent. With that in mind, using texts to cut through the noise and prompt your prospects to take a specific action is a no-brainer. Whether you want to remind them to check-in at your event, tell them that a session has changed venue, or get their feedback afterwards, texting students can really help you dial up engagement!

As with most things, less is more, so you don’t want to overwhelm sign-ups. Texts should be used sparingly to convey important information. But doing it right – and being intentional about texting students – can be a real gamechanger at your higher ed events.

texting students

7 texts that will drive engagement at your events

  • Confirmation text 
  • Reminder text ahead of the event
  • Reminder to check-in text 
  • Text alerting sign-ups to key sessions
  • Venue or time changes text 
  • Text to correct mistakes 
  • Feedback form text after the event

1) A text confirming they’ve signed up

Whenever you take any action online, whether it’s buying something or booking a meal at your favourite restaurant, you want to know that it’s all gone through OK. Therefore, sending a text message that notifies anyone who has signed up to your event that their confirmation email is sitting in their inbox is an important touchpoint. 

It may also be the first interaction you have with the prospect directly, and so it’s a great way to introduce your institution and set the tone for what studying at your institution is really like. You can also give them the opportunity to ask any questions!

texting students

2) A reminder text before the event

This is the one text you should be sending ahead of all your events. However, the timing of it depends on the type of event and whether it’s in-person or virtual. For in-person events, a text message the day before the event will remind prospects what’s happening and can detail any need-to-know information, such as the time and location. 

For virtual events, you’ll want to send your reminder text much closer to the start time, such as an hour before or even five minutes before. Unlike in-person events where a student has had to make the decision to attend in advance, that’s not the case for virtual events. You may catch someone and pique their interest when they’re sitting on their sofa!

texting students

3) A text reminding them to check in

Higher education events need great data if you want to be able to pull any meaningful insights from them. And by meaningful, we mean the kind that can tell you whether your event is delivering a return on investment for you. One fundamental piece of information is your final number of attendees, but you can’t extract that if students don’t check in.

Students may not register for a whole host of reasons. They may be running late. They might not know where the check-in desk is. Or they might simply forget. Texting them to remind them to take that action during the day is really important. You can even incentivize them with branded merchandise in order to make sure they come by!

texting students

4) A reminder text for key sessions

At any Visit Day event you probably have a handful of sessions you really want attendees to show up for. The welcome talk for the Dean, for example, is a big one, and so are student panels and talks on financial aid. If you want to make sure that attendees don’t miss these key sessions, why not send them a text along with a link to a sign-up form or map? 

Texting can also help you push a session that’s under-subscribed. If you know that there’s a talk on a particular subject you can even segment your communications so that you only send a text to the attendees who are interested in that particular subject. That way your communications feel personalized and human, rather than an impersonal mass mail out.

texting students

5) A text about venue/time changes

The planning of higher education events is comprehensive, but there’s always going to be last-minute changes during visit days. It might be the case that a session has been oversubscribed and so you want to move it to a larger venue, or you have to reschedule or cancel a talk because of unforeseen circumstances. Expect the unexpected, right?

If you send an email then it’s unlikely that attendees will see it. You’ll probably end up with students showing up at the wrong time or location, unaware there’s been a change. If you send a text it’s much more likely that your message will be seen – and acted on.

texting students

6) A text to correct mistakes

We’re all human and mistakes do happen… especially with the huge volume of events that the higher ed sector manages each year. How do you do it?! The great news is that you can use texts to quickly and easily correct mistakes – affording you flexibility that you probably don’t have if you’re only using emails or calls to communicate.

As an example, let’s say you’ve sent out an email that states that a certain talk starts at 2pm on the email you sent out, but that’s incorrect. Using texting, you can quickly and easily notify attendees of the error and direct them to the right time and place – nice! 

texting students

7) A text about feedback

Of course, you always want to know what your attendees really thought of your event. If you don’t get that, how can you ever be sure you’re designing events that offer real value to prospective students? Going more granular, how will you know that they’d prefer more peer-to-peer sessions or that the vegan options in the cafe weren’t very good?

However, getting attendees to fill in feedback forms can be challenging. This is again where texting students can help in cutting through the noise. You can either direct them to your more comprehensive email or simply ask them to rate your event between one and five. If they respond, send them follow-up questions to find out why they scored it as they did.

texting students