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Merge to Mobile: Targeted Text-Messaging in the Education Industry

By | September 25, 2012

Teenagers and adults alike have significantly increased their mobile usage in the past decade. The typical American teen sends about 1,500 texts per month,[1] preferring texting over phone conversations. These changes in the way that we use technology also affect the way education marketers reach out to students and alumni. Some example uses of text marketing:

  • Education marketers: Reaching out to prospective students by texting them information about open house events and college fairs.
  • The admissions office: Reminding prospective students about application deadlines.
  • Alumni offices: Sending reminders for alumni networking events or other events at the university that may spark interest.

Below are some tips to get texting started in your own mobile marketing plan.

Texting to Drive Conversions

    1. Build your list

Generate a list of names to text. You can do this by including a “mobile” field on form pages.

    1. Get permissions

Commercial text-messaging is subject to strong norms, carrier-specific rules and several laws designed to protect user privacy. Many of these regulations require students to opt in to text communication. It is important that you ask for this permission on any forms or other marketing communications, and then maintain accurate records of who has and has not granted permission.

    1. Know the rules

There are many guidelines in text-message marketing, including length and format, click-to-call specifications, and links to websites. Becoming familiar with the guidelines will allow you to have better campaigns. For more information about the guidelines, you can ask our mobile specialists or visit the Mobile Marketing Association website.

    1. Start with a simple text response

Many higher-education institutions use auto-responder emails. Education marketers utilize these auto-response emails to follow up with students who submit inquiries about enrollment. Auto-responding with a text is an alternative method. Offering them a special deal at the campus bookstore may be incentive to get them to “opt in” to the messages.

    1. Limit the number of texts

Don’t use text messages to flood their inboxes. Be discreet. Determine the number of texts you want to send for a certain campaign, and space those messages out accordingly.

  1. Timing Your Texts

If you send out an automated text, make sure to time it appropriately (i.e. not when the prospective student may be in class or driving home).

For more information about how to use mobile marketing to reach your target audience, check out Fathom’s previous blog posts on mobile and stay tuned for future posts.


[1] Pew Internet Research: Teens and Mobile Phones, April 2010

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Check out Fathom’s 30-pg. Ultimate Guide to Marketing an Educational Institution with Social Media. It’s full of insightful interviews and illustrative case studies on using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for marketing a school.

Social Media 101 for Schools

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About Michael Kartson

Michael Kartson is a Senior Account Executive at Fathom (since 2008) specializing in management of online marketing campaigns for the education and financial verticals. A graduate of John Carroll University’s Boler School of Business, Michael excels at bringing problem-solving skills, strategy and execution to all of his clients. He has an excellent history of delivering companies with tactical strategy for their online marketing plans. Michael also brings over 7 years of experience to paid search and display campaigns, including management and optimization focus on improving ROI and gaining market share from competitors. He manages a team of talented specialists across several departments to help identify market opportunities while measuring ROI. In addition he has helped clients expand into video, social, and email marketing to widen their online presence.

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