We are having a major challenge at our college. I am not sure if our staff feel it’s a challenge at all, but that’s how I feel about it.
Let me give you a few examples:
If we have a major announcement that all our students need to know right away, we send them an e-mail with the announcement. The problem is that a lot of people are not reading their college e-mail, that’s because they have registrered their Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo Mail with their teacher. So, it seems that there might be good communication between the teacher and their students, but not between the administration and the students (because we don’t have the right email address for all the students).
We use our website for announcements as well, but a lot of our students are not visiting the websites on a daily basis, and might not get important messages before it might be too late.
We use Blackboard as our learning management system (lms), and some teachers use it to send announcement to their students. Not all teachers use an lms, and some might even use other systems, other than Blackboard. Because of this, we can’t possibly send announcements to all our students through Blackboard, some students will receive them, but not everybody.
Mobile phone / SMS
I guess that we could send important announcements straight to their mobile phones using sms. But this is fairly expensive, and just one department is using this service.
The traditional letter
The president of our college has been sending a traditional letter to all our students. If we could wait for the important announcement to arrive at the houses/apartments of our students, then I guess we could send it as a traditional letter. But this is very expensive too, and actually we don’t know exactly where our students live at the moment. Some get their mail at the houses of their parents, and some receive their mail at the place where they live during the semester.
We should have a communication strategy, a single method in order to communicate with our students. All our students should understand that important announcements will be published on the website, or be sent to their email at their college address and not to their hotmail accounts. They need to know exactly how to get the information, and we need to know that they understand. So, when the administration will send something, they already know before they send it, that close to 100% of our students will receive the information.
We need a single method, not several.
I am not sure how other universities or colleges are communicating with their students, how they publish important announcements, but my guess is that they all need to have a single place where all students visit/read announcements. If not, how can they possibly know that students read the information?
When I think about it, email might be the best way to communicate with our students. We just need to enforce the use of our local email system and provide all the services that our students are looking for. Maybe an easy way for them to forward their hotmail, gmail, or yahoo mail to their college email (or the other way around).
I believe that if we provide the best software to our students, they will use them, and only this way, will we have “full” control of our communication with the students.
Full control of communication is one of the most important aspects of marketing.