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10 Tips to Optimize Messages to Students

by Rachel Hicks | July 13, 2020
10 Tips to Optimize Messages to Students

tips to optimize messages to studentsThese 10 tips to optimize messages to students will help you support them during COVID-19 and beyond.

The pandemic has created the space for technology to help form the personal relationships that students have with their institutions. No longer can passive, impersonal communications be relied upon to take the pulse of where students are or compel students to take action. Instead, communications should be thoughtful and evolve over time. As a result, students will feel supported from recruitment to completion and beyond.

Below are 10 tips to optimize messages to students to support them through their journeys.

10 Tips to Optimize Messages to Students

1. Clarify the call to action.

During this time, you'll likely need students to complete certain actions. Coordinate outreach across offices to create a clear understanding of which departments are involved for the student to complete the process. Break down the process into distinct components and timelines. One call to action per message is ideal.

2. Determine who the communication should come from to deliver the highest engagement.

Choosing the right sender is crucial. Students want to hear from people they're familiar with. As a result, they will be more inclined to engage and take action.

3. Choose the right channel.

Different channels work in various ways to accomplish different goals. Because of this, you should consider your message content carefully. From there, you can determine which channel will work best for your message. A key thing to consider includes whether the message is general or personal in nature. You can use our Choosing the Right Communication Channel guide to help you work through this.

4. Build a proactive, caring, and directional message.

In each message you send, you should include important links, dates, and contact information. Further, encourage your students to respond if they need help.

5. Establish a cadence that escalates as deadlines for action move closer.

For instance, if students still haven't registered for classes and the deadline is looming, let them know. These reminders can increase in urgency as the deadline inches closer. A sense of urgency can work to drive students to immediate action.

6. Note when an action has been resolved, and remove students from continued outreach.

A simple confirmation that an item, such as an application, has been received can help relieve anxiety for students. Once students complete an action, be sure to remove them from further reminders to complete that action. Some message platforms, such as Signal Vine, can do this automatically.

7. Track the data.

Sending a message to students is not the last step. Once you've sent your message, research the message's success through both open rates and completion or response rates. Consequently, you will be able to pinpoint which messages were most successful. 

8. Share the highest-performing messages across the institution and leadership team.

Be willing to share insights and best practices with others. As a result, this can help institutions create a more unified voice among students. Further, it can help increase the quality of the institution's overall communications practices.

9. Continually perform and test new messaging strategies.

Trial-and-error is often the best way to discover best practices. Tweak your messages and note the results. In turn, you can continuously improve your strategy.

10. Poll students.

The best way to determine how to help students is to hear from the students themselves. Determine which messages and information are most helpful. From there, be sure to address those issues in your message plan.

These tips to optimize messages to students help staff and leadership beyond building relationships with students. It ensures that the whole team is aligned on what the message is to students, the steps the students must complete, and opens up discussions for exceptions that front line staff will need to be able to address quickly and kindly. Also, these tips increase the communication between departments for coordinated outreach to students. Further, they reduce the likelihood that students will ignore messages due to unclear steps or different opinions on how to complete tasks. Finally, it creates a training ground informed by data. 

Learn more

To learn more about these tips to optimize messages to students, register for our upcoming webinar here.

Check out our Definitive Guide for Higher Education Communications During COVID-19
Check out our Definitive Guide for Higher Education Communications During COVID-19
Check out the guide

Communicating effectively with your campus communities is of paramount importance right now

If you’d like to learn how Signal Vine can help, please join us for a demo.