The Dos and Don’ts of Texting Prospective Students

In a time when there is so much noise fighting for people’s attention, you need to find a way to cut through the clutter and make sure your messages are received, understood, and driving people to action.

This is especially true for Millennials and Generation Z, who are incredibly savvy at quickly recognizing what’s meaningful to them and what’s not worth their time. That’s why it’s critically important to meet your students where they are and leverage technology to create a multichannel communication strategy.

Did you know that SMS text messages have a 98% open rate, compared to 20% for emails? 

On top of that, the response rate of SMS text message marketing is 45% compared to just 6% for email. However, texting is a trend that higher ed is largely behind on. This is a huge opportunity for you and your institution! 

Sharing value and important information via SMS messaging is a great way to build an awesome first impression with your prospective students. It shows that you’re modern, proactive, and readily available to help.

Whether just getting starting or looking to improve, here are a few Do’s and Don’ts of texting prospective students:


Provide Value

Provide value
  • Before you hit send, ask yourself, “Is this valuable information for students? If not, think of ways to add more value… or reconsider sending it at all.
Speak too casually – or robotically!
  • Be polite and professional… but also human. It’s a fine balance to strike and will take some time to get right.

Identify yourself

Identify yourself
  • Seems obvious, but it’s important. Let them know who’s reaching out at least at an institutional level (or a personal level depending on the context). And yes, identify yourself each time — don’t assume they’re saving you as a contact!
Send texts too often
  • Be selective about when you use texting as a tool. If you’re using it every day, or even several times a week for that matter, it’s probably too often. If you use texts too frequently, they’ll start to get diluted and students will stop paying attention.

Provide a clear CTA

Provide a clear CTA
  • on’t leave your students confused about what you’re sharing or need them to do. Be clear on what you’re asking and point them in the right direction!
Use texting as a standalone tool
  • It should fit within a larger communication strategy that incorporates channels like email, phone, chatbot, and video. If you rely too heavily on any one channel, you’re going to miss parts of your audience that prefer others.

Be concise

Be concise
  • Short and sweet is best.
  • Leverage Existing students. Getting texts from fellow students is a great way for prospects to feel welcome and excited. Forge those personal connections with your prospects and watch how your enrollment numbers start to climb up.
Text students who’ve opted out
  • There are many rules and regulations about texting, the same way there are about emails or phone calls. If they’ve unsubscribed, make sure you have the system set up to honor that.

Use it to follow up important announcements

Use it to follow up important announcements
  • Just sent an email with a big deadline? Follow it up the next day with a text! 86% of students reported that texts prompt them to complete a task they haven’t done yet.
Use texting for discipline
  • It may sound a little silly, but don’t use SMS messaging for disciplinary reasons (or really anything negative.) It should be used for short, positive encouragement or important information.

Show excitement

Show excitement
  • Dare to be clever, witty, even use emojis when they make sense. Just be careful not to be too silly that you dilute the message. Clarity over cleverness, every time!
Send texts manually
  • Imagine the time and resources it would take to text each one of your students manually every time you had information to share? No, thank you! Instead, leverage text message automation software!

When is it Time to Leverage Text Automation Software?

The short answer?



of students say they’d like to receive relevant information from colleges via text.

Source: Truedialog

If you:

  • Want to improve student engagement at your institution…
  • Don’t offer multichannel communication…
  • Haven’t been blown away by the success of your marketing campaigns…
  • Want to increase enrollment, retention, and application…

…then you absolutely need to be using text message automation software.

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