Are You Sending Too Many Emails?

by Haley Trost | November 11, 2016
Are You Sending Too Many Emails?

Today, using email is no longer the be all end all solution. Email can be great for promotional content but not so great with quick, easy, two-way communication. You know it, we know it, students know it. Michigan State University recently found out exactly why email stopped working with their students, leading university administrators to rethink their entire communication strategy. Most likely you're guilty of sending too many emails and even more likely is that students are not responding. So how should we communicate with our students?

There's a chance you're sending too many emails

Students at MSU Were Receiving over 400 Emails Each Semester

The project at MSU was simple: administrators across departments used colorful sticky notes to represent the emails they send to students. The sticky notes were placed on a wall, which was soon covered top to bottom. The university was overwhelming students with more than four hundred emails each semester, which shocked staff members.

Students understandably didn't have the time or inclination to read the tremendous amount of information pushed to them each day. As a result, they missed out on important information from the university.

Other Problems with Email Revealed

MSU's process mapping exercise highlighted other big problems with email. Not only were emails much too frequent, they were also lengthy, complex, and redundant. Texas A&M University and Pennsylvania State University had similar findings, noting that emails don't capture incoming students' attention because students are completely inundated with emails.

Exercises like the one at MSU are powerful ways to help administrators understand communications from the student perspective. The next step is to adjust communication strategies to better serve students. As we know, institutions find huge success with text messaging. Unlike email, it's short, simple, and easy to coordinate across departments. So don't despair if your university faces an email overload problem like MSU. There are other effective solutions to help you reach students with the information they need.

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