Signal Vine's Blended Messaging® Approach

by Jeff Mutimer | August 22, 2018
Signal Vine's Blended Messaging® Approach

One of Signal Vine's unique functions is the ability to send scheduled mass messages, have one-on-one conversations, and to set up automated replies based on machine logic - all in one conversation thread. It's our Blended Messaging® trademarked approach that administrators and counselors use to communicate with students with personalized messages at scale.

How does Blended Messaging® work?

There are four key elements that work together to power your text messages and ensure that students receive the right support, at the right time. It's a spectrum of communication options that when applied together produces great results for limiting opt-outs and reaching students.

  1. One-to-one communication

    Receive and send messages to students in your inbox – simply click on the student’s name or conversation stream to access or initiate a one-on-one conversation. Or identify students who need additional guidance – they tend to be the ones who text back with questions or concerns. The Signal Vine platform will identify those responses that require individual attention that would not be effectively handled with automation.

  2. Data-driven

    Use student information from your database (like first name, GPA, major, application status, or deadlines) to target automated messages to groups of students with those attributes.  By incorporating this data-driven approach, you'll provide relevant and personal messages that help create student urgency.

  3. Event-triggered

    Pre-program messages into your Signal Vine calendar. These messages can be sent to different groups of students (automatically, no need to upload a list!) based on their attributes or upcoming deadlines pulled from your database. Finally, see your organization’s pre-planned texts for easy management and division of work.

  4. Automation

    Automate replies based on student response (or non-response). The platform can recognize replies like "yes, yeah, yah" or any terms you identify in advance. Users can create message branching so that some student responses receive automated replies. Others require individual attention based on their response which the system flags.

Why Blended Messaging® Works

For many institutions, there is a sizeable group of students who require less complex nudging. Perhaps they need timing reminders but little in the way of complex counselor or administrator support. This can be 70-80% of your student population. There are another 20-30% of your students who need extra support to meet deadlines, matriculate, or persist in school. It's these students who will make or break your enrollment goals and it can be difficult to identify this population in advance. EAB calls a portion of this group, the "Murky Middle" to describe the 33% of students with a GPA between 2.0 and 3.0 who are in danger of dropping out. According to EAB, "This population demands attention, but with limited resources, it isn't possible to target the entire group."

So how do you identify that subset of students who require additional attention and are likely to be the difference in meeting your enrollment goals?

That's where Signal Vine's Blended Messaging® approach is invaluable. Users can start with a targeted message to specific populations- say students with a GPA between 2.0 and 3.0, if we used the EAB example, a common data-driven field used in our platform. Let's say you message these students to ensure they are registering for next year's courses. For students that reply back that they are registered with a "yes" or some version of it, you can pre-program a response like "great, looking forward to seeing you next semester!" By doing this once, based on automation rules you can save time and quickly sift through to the students who either don't reply or reply with questions or requests for help. It might look something like the image below. The platform will flag those responses that don't fit your automation rules. For that reason, you have a scalable and efficient way to find that group of students who need the additional support.

What are others doing?

Finally, there are a few text message options available to higher education leaders. Most are either one way communication tools, manual platforms, or chat bots. None provide the personalization at scale that Signal Vine's Blended Messaging® offers. Manual platforms will allow users to send and respond to messages. But these lack the automation that will make you more efficient and able to reach the students that need help. Chat bots serve as responsive tools but require students who are seeking help. They will not surface those students identified through your proactive outreach. Finally, the new generation of digital natives that comprise the next wave of students are skeptical of bots. These students will even reply to messages asking if they communicating with a bot. Instead, personalized responses that incorporate known details of students will ensure your messages are getting the response you need.

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