South Arkansas Community College uses SMS to connect with students

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Through the power of texting, South Arkansas Community College has been connecting both current and prospective students with the tools they need.

At South Arkansas Community College, finding better ways to communicate is a top priority for Marketing Director Heath Waldrop. When it comes to connecting with students, both current and prospective, the issue was clear: students just don’t check their email. By Heath’s estimates, the current open rate of emails sent to students is less than 10%!

He needed a cost-effective way to reach students with his messages. Texting became his silver bullet.

Getting started

When Heath got started with SimpleTexting, his initial focus was on reaching prospective students. When it came to finding ways to follow up after recruitment events, the barriers continued to grow.

Direct mail was too expensive, and there’s no guarantee it’s getting into the hands of the students living in their parents’ homes. Social media was great, but it required a lot of dedication and contact initiation on the student’s end. And even though he was collecting students’ phone numbers, they weren’t answering the unrecognized numbers and were checking voicemail even less. In Heath’s words, “the whole exercise was fruitless.”

Finding a better way to sign-up students for texts

But when he started to hand out contact cards at events prompting students to put down a phone number to receive text messages, Heath and his team began to see drastic changes.

Now, they were able to engage in two-way communications with students, and share information with them based on the interests they communicated back—like specific major-related questions. The biggest change however was the newfound ability to follow up asking if prospects were interested in going on a campus tour.

Previously, to request a tour, students would have to navigate through a few hoops on the website. Now, all tours are coordinated via text message. “I think we’ll see we’re giving more tours now than we’ve probably ever done,” says Heath.

When reflecting on the success of their new text services, Heath noted several changes across the board. “I feel like we have had a much better response from prospects than what we would have had before. Because just the fact that we can reach them so directly and they can reach us so directly.”

Hello! I’m Tori, the recruiter at SouthArk. I see you expressed an interest in our college. I’d love to answer any questions you may have and give you a tour.

Texting across campus

Having seen such success with SMS in the last six months, Heath is now planning to extend the service out to the current student body. Signage has started going up around campus advertising their keywords for spreading campus news, events, and more.

South Arkansas Community College is one of many educational institutions who have turned to texting as a new and efficient way to communicate with the student body. This is more than just a trend, but rather an indication of a movement to cut through the existing noise and media in the lives of millenials and “Gen Z.”

We’re excited to grow alongside South Arkansas’ text marketing program, and equally as excited to help schools around the country reach their students in innovative ways.

In honor of the first day of the semester, we’re giving away a prize to 10 students who can correctly name SouthArk’s president. Reply to answer!

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