SMS Marketing for Private Language Schools
Unlike their continental counterparts who tend to work to a strict annual intake timetable that mirrors the academic year, Britain’s many private language schools offer a lot more flexibility, typically catering to the needs of learners all year round. From new arrivals to the UK to non-native speakers who have identified a personal or professional need to improve their language skills, the sector makes an important contribution to the wider education sector and may well become an even more significant player post-Brexit as language skills are likely to be even more important than at present. SMS Marketing is a low cost, versatile and easy to use tool that is ideally suited to the various needs of a private language school.
The case for SMS Marketing
For those language schools dealing with new arrivals to the UK, communication channels can often be limited as students tend to stay in temporary accommodation such as with friends and family or in student hostels and similar accommodation. As a result, they may well not have permanent access to an internet connection, meaning that email – despite being the default channel for exchanging information for the majority of organisations – is not always the optimum approach. With the high risk of time-sensitive emails being overlooked and the potential difficulty accessing essential information at the time it is needed most, it is important for these institutions to have a more effective strategy in place.
SMS Marketing requires the student to have nothing more than a standard mobile phone – something almost everybody will acquire almost immediately and also have with them almost all the time. This makes it by far the most convenient and reliable way to convey essential information.
How to use SMS Marketing
There are numerous ways that private language schools can make use of SMS Marketing. Here are just some examples. Before sending any SMS communications, be sure that you have complied with legislation and obtained the learner’s consent. Also, be sensitive to the language that you use and keep it as simple as possible. Be particularly aware of using words that have multiple meanings and may be easily misinterpreted. If in doubt, get a colleague to scan your message to make sure it is correctly understood.
Registration Requirements and Updates
Once a student has started the registration process, keep them informed of any documentation required as well as sending updates on the progress of their application, along with expected times to complete the process as relevant.
A great way to open the SMS Marketing channel is to send a warm and friendly welcome to the school by SMS, and include essential contact details such as the phone number and email of the admissions department, the learner’s tutor once one has been assigned and any other useful information that is essential for those new to the environment. Use staff names to keep a personal touch.
With the majority of students spreading the cost of tuition over a period of time, SMS Marketing is a simple way to send reminders when payments are falling due to ensure prompt payment, helping schools to maintain cash flow and ensure that students are able to continue studies uninterrupted.
Once a learner has signed up for a course, be sure to send them an SMS message with the relevant course dates including start and finish dates as well as any breaks. To keep things simple, you may wish to send the dates for each half term on a rolling basis rather than all the dates in one go.
If your students are registered to sit an examination in English, make sure they have the date on a text message as this is a very handy way to ensure it is always to hand.
As the date of an exam approaches, why not inform your students of how much time they have remaining? Of course, be sensitive in how you present this as you do not want to put students under pressure – and bear in mind this may not be suitable for everybody. However, a majority of students will be highly motivated and appreciate the motivation that such reminders provide them.
If learners have deadlines for assignments, make sure that they have this information to hand on an SMS message. It can be very encouraging and reassuring for students to also provide them information about how to contact their tutor should they need help or support, or wish to discuss amendments to dates.
Assignment Results Notifications
Once an assignment has been graded, why not inform the student by SMS so that they can request their mark from their tutor.
Many language schools offer social events that allow both learners and tutors to meet and interact in a more relaxed and informal setting outside the classroom. Be sure to send details of the time and location by SMS. Remember, those new to the area may not be familiar with the location or how to get there, so consider adding some details to help them find the right place, or let them know who to ask for help.
SMS Marketing can also be used to share details of cultural visits organised by the school, including booking deadlines, confirmation of bookings, itineraries and more.
In continental language schools, students are typically canvassed for their feedback in the very last weeks of term, and sometimes even after the completion of the course. However, the student experience can be greatly enhanced if regular surveys are carried out throughout the course of studies as these allow adjustments to be made – whether this is in relation to the lesson times, materials, approach to teaching or even other small but important details that may be overlooked by staff.
A ‘settling in’ survey shortly into the course can be conducted by SMS and give real-time feedback, and mid-term survey is also of great value. To reassure learners, you may wish to assure them that their feedback will be kept anonymous.
Here at FastSMS, we have a reputation for providing exceptional customer service. If you would like more information about how your private language school could benefit from SMS Marketing, give us a call on 0800 954 5305 today and we will be happy to arrange a no-obligation consultation with a specialist in your field.
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