Have you ever called a company for customer service help and been greeted by an automated system? The experience feels impersonal and cold. No one likes to talk to a computer, and students are no different. They’re used to receiving and dismissing mass automated messages, which is why personalization is so important.

Successfully engaging students is difficult, and it’s even harder to re-engage them once they’ve disconnected. The moment students receive a message that doesn’t apply to them, you lose their attention and may never get it back. Students are more likely to ignore the messages or opt out of the texting program, ensuring that they’ll miss out on critical information sent in future messages.

Which message is more effective?

Text Message without PersonalizationPersonalized Text Message

The message on the right sounds warm and human. Personalized messages like this increase response rates and keep students engaged.

Types of personalization

Personalization takes many forms. Student data can be used to personalize the content of a message (e.g. referring to a student by name or sending school-specific information). It can also be used to determine which students receive which messages. For example, sophomores only need reminders about sophomore registration. The registration schedules for other classes simply aren’t relevant to them. If students have already submitted financial aid forms, they don’t need to get reminders to turn in those forms.

The best type of personalization is showing students that there’s a person on the other end of the messages. They aren’t talking to a computer or automated system. They’re talking to you. It’s as simple as adding a question to the end of a message (“Have you enrolled in your spring classes yet?”) or ending a message with “Text me back with questions.” This lets students know that they can reach a real, human advisor by texting back.

Ready for more tips and tricks? Read related blog posts.

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