Schools

Category: School Blog posts

The Rialto Mobile Marketing Blog

By Tim Fitzpatrick 07 Aug, 2017
The importance of K-12 education and great schools cannot be understated. We must provide children with the knowledge and tools they will need to be successful in life. Part of that education comes from our school systems and the other part of that comes from within the home.

Since the school year is about to start I thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the best quotes about great schools and the importance of education.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 28 Jun, 2017
Becoming more productive is one way of ensuring you excel at what you do and you maximize the time you have available. If you’re in business, it’s important to be at your best and ensure your productivity is at its best. Following are some of the best productivity hacks you might want to embrace.


1. Schedule a monthly 80-20 analysis

This has proven to work time and time again. Focus on the 20% of activities that bring about 80% of your desired results.

Doing this will enable you to figure out where you should and should not be spending your time. Once you identify the highest and best use of your time, you can delegate and/or eliminate the rest. Perry Marshall's book, 80/20 Sales & Marketing , is a great read that will give you more in-depth information on how to take advantage of the 80/20 rule in your business.


2. Keep your list of priorities short

Being responsible for the success of a small business may require you to be equally attentive to your to-do list. Writing down what you should do doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the priorities you should focus on. It’s important to have a short list of priorities so you can hone in on the projects that are truly important.


3. Sideline non-urgent emails

Keeping abreast of the latest news/trends that are specific to your area of business is important. This doesn’t mean you should read every newsletter that comes into your inbox.

I realized I was falling into this trap and set up filters in Gmail to send these types of email messages into another folder.  Now, I review that folder when I have time.  It's been incredibly effective. 


4. Restrict meetings to 30 minutes

Consider making it a habit of restricting your meetings to 30 minutes. Most issues can be addressed in and around those minutes or less. The only time I would consider extending the time is when you feel a certain issue needs extra attention. Significant amounts of time are wasted in meetings, get out of this rat trap now!


5. Dedicate downtime for yourself

This might seem counterintuitive. How can you be more productive taking time off work? If all you do is work, you will burnout at some point. You can't burn the candle at both ends forever.

Taking time off to recharge actually helps you come back to work in a better state of mind, ready to work and focused. Check out this article for more details, Take a Vacation: It's Good for Productivity and the Economy


6. Plan your day around the times you work best

Depending on your flexibility, consider scheduling your workday according to the fluctuations you observe in regards to your energy levels and moods. This can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your productivity. Don't spend the time of day when you are most productive on unimportant tasks.

Fo example, if you tend to fade off in the afternoon, focus on your top priorities first thing in the morning when you are alert and fresh. You will be far more productive when you spend time on your most difficult tasks when you are at your peak performance level. 


7. Delegate

If you feel overwhelmed, consider delegating some tasks to another person or distributing them to other members of your team. You should spend your time on the things you are great at and delegate the rest. Delegate to people you know are better equipped to handle the tasks you need help with.


8. Avoid analysis paralysis

It's important to have enough information to make an informed decision, but after that, you need to be ready to pull the trigger.  Overanalyzing leads to doubt and wasted time.

Check out this article on Jeff Bezos and his philosophy on making business decisions.  It's a great read.


9. Have at least one day a week that is meeting-free

If you allow it, meetings will take up far too much of your time, which is why it’s imperative you designate at least one day a week where meetings are forbidden. Take this time to work on critical tasks, projects and goals without distraction.

I started doing this several months ago and it's amazing how much I can get done in a short period of time when there are no distractions.  Give it a try.


10. Create a comfortable workspace

Take the time to personalize your workspace, make it your own. Consider personalizing your space with photos of your family members, children, and friends. If that’s not an option, personalize your desktop background. 

It's challenging to be productive when you don't feel great about your workspace.  Being in an environment where you feel great sets the proper foundation for you to be your most productive.


11. Make your health a priority

Always make your health a priority, without it, you have nothing. Putting your business first at the expense of your well-being is a mistake.

On a plane you are always told to put on your oxygen mask first, then help others.  If you aren't in a condition to take care of yourself, you won't be able to do anything to help others or your business.

Lack of physical activity coupled with poor nutrition has been linked to low productivity, so eat balanced meals and drink lots of water.


12. Say "NO" more often

Small business owners have non-stop demands on their time.  Often times, we say yes without really thinking about the consequences of it.

Anytime you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. Forget about FOMO (fear of missing out) and say no more often. It will free up your time to focus on the things that really matter.


13. Get great at time management

We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet some of us get far more done in that time compared to others. It all comes down to time management. Productivity is directly related to how you manage your time. Give your attention to the important matters and don't stress about the rest.


14. Dump social media

Did you know the average Facebook user spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook?   That's almost 6 hours a week!

There are some reasons to be on social media, especially from a business standpoint, but usually,  social media is a complete waste of time ! If you can't give it up, at least limit the time you spend on it.  The time you save can be spent being more productive and enriching your life.


15. Done is better than perfect

Do you fall into the trap of wanting everything to be perfect? If so, you're not alone. I used to be this way.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should put out substandard, low-grade work. But, nothing is perfect and spending the extra time to try making it perfect is simply a waste of time.

Know when to say when and move on.


I'm sure you can find at least a couple of these tips to implement and be on your way to increased productivity in no time. Have fun!

What tips are you going to try?  Feel free to comment below and share.

Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level.   Click the image below to get it now.

By Tim Fitzpatrick 02 Jun, 2017

Ever wondered why parents keep complaining? In a number of cases, the root cause is poor communication. Many schools struggle with communication in one way or another.  Even small improvements in communication can significantly impact parent satisfaction.

Why is communication so important for schools?

  • It lets parents know who you are, what you're about, and how you support their kids every day.

  • Great communication engages stakeholders.

  • Most successful schools have the best communication plans. You want to be successful, don't you?

  • It provides accurate and timely information to stakeholders, especially in emergency situations.

  • It helps to support and promote student and staff achievement.


If you are receiving consistent complaints from parents, there’s a high possibility the problem is real and you need to take appropriate steps to correct it.

Luckily, there’s a solution to the problem... a school mobile app . Don't get me wrong, mobile apps are not the perfect communication tool, nothing is. However, a mobile app for your school can help in making communication easier and more efficient. Technology keeps evolving and in the process, it has changed the way people access and receive information.

We live in a society of instant gratification where people are impatient and want everything now. With access to school information at their finger tips, stakeholders can get the information they need when and where they want it.

Let’s face it, a majority of parents are consistently on their mobile devices scheduling events, checking their emails, surfing the web and posting on social media. Nowadays, business and personal interactions are done via smartphone and parents have become used to this.

They become frustrated when they can’t access their child’s school events and information in the same way.
The introduction of school mobile apps has made the process of staying informed and engaged easier than ever since parents can do it anywhere, anytime.

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • Communication with parents is a constant struggle.

  • You don't have enough time to dedicate to communications.

  • Parents are always requesting information you've already provided.

  • Your staff spends too much time answering the same parent questions over and over again.

  • Your school struggles to differentiate itself from others in the area.

  • Parents don't read the information you send out.


If you answered "yes" to even one of these questions, it's time to step up your communications game.  You might find this article helpful as well - How You Can Keep Parents Unbelievably Happy By Utilizing a School App .

I'll admit, I'm partial to mobile apps because that's what we do.  Don't take my word for it.   See what some of our school partners have had to say:

By Tim Fitzpatrick 04 May, 2017
Think about how much time you spend in your favorite mobile apps...we've really come to depend on mobile apps to make our lives easier and more efficient.

Have you decided that a mobile app is a tool you'd like to use for your school communication?  If the answer is yes, then I think you've made a great choice.  Here are a few of the benefits you'll enjoy:

  1. You'll gain better control over your communications and eliminate some of the chaos.

  2. You'll reduce parent complaints and increase efficiency with your admin team.

  3. You'll increase the number of parents who are informed and care about your school and its success.

If you'd like some additional information about the benefits of a school app please check out this article - 6 Absolutely Awesome Benefits of a Mobile App For Schools.

Before you make an app, you need to make sure your school app will work for your school and meet your expectations. The goals for a mobile app can vary from school to school, but ease of access to school information and engagement are the driving forces for most schools in choosing a mobile app.

Public or private, urban or rural, large or small, there are core features every school should have in their mobile app. If a mobile app is done right, it can be your biggest asset for communication and become a self-serve portal for your stakeholders.

Here are six must-have school mobile app features you should insist on from your mobile app provider.

1. Important phone numbers

Many schools have a host of important phone numbers, leaving stakeholders searching for the number they need. What's the number for the main line, attendance, the district or athletics?  With a mobile app, parents no longer need to search for phone numbers because everything is there with the push of a button. 

2. School calendar

Having a solid calendar feature that is user friendly is a must. In no more than 2 button presses your stakeholders should be able to review what's coming up so they can plan accordingly.

3. Easy to use staff directory

A staff directory is a popular feature that needs to work well. The directory feature should allow you to quickly find an individual and click a phone number or an email button to automatically reach that person.

4. Targeted push notifications

If you'd like detailed info on push messaging and how to use them, check out this article: Push Messages 101 .  

No one wants to install a mobile app that sends a bunch of one-size-fits-all messages. People do not want to be bothered with irrelevant information. They want an app that keeps them engaged with information that's important to them.

This requires settings to be predetermined based on an app login or the ability for the parent or student to adjust their settings. This needs to be intuitive for the user, and it is important to communicate this when downloading and installing your app.  

With targeted messaging your messages will reach the appropriate stakeholders and ensure your messages are relevant...and relevant messaging leads to increased engagement.

5. Latest news, photos and videos

A mobile app gives you the opportunity to promote the latest happenings through words, pictures and videos. This needs to fit into all of your other forms of communication. In a perfect world, you can promote your message from a single spot and it will be shared in all of your channels. Video consumption on mobile devices is extremely popular and will continue to soar. If photos and videos are or will be part of your school's communication, make sure your mobile app can accommodate them.

6. Social media connections

Schools are quickly embracing social media and using it to engage their school families and community at large. While a majority of people have dedicated social media mobile apps on their phones, the benefit of your school app is to make it easier for users to access these accounts. No matter what social media channels you engage in: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever else becomes popular, they should be linked to your mobile app.


With our increasing dependence on mobile apps, now is the time for your school to seriously consider using one as part of your school communication plan. Mobile is a very complimentary and supplementary communication channel that will only make your current communication plan that much better.

We suggest you keep in mind the features you'll need the most and find a mobile app provider who can deliver those.

Your school needs to be on your stakeholder's phones. Just make sure your school mobile app is done right and you have a mobile app partner with the expertise to ensure your success.

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Check out our FREE guide to ensure your school app is a success.   Click the image below to get it now.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 25 Apr, 2017
The amount of work we are asked to complete each day only seems to grow. Squeezing as much as we can out of the time we have is super important. We all have the same 24 hours in a day!

I've found this simple tool to be extremely helpful in improving my productivity. It takes a little bit of discipline to get in the habit of using this, but I think you'll see significant changes in your productivity when you start using it consistently.

Check out this quick video for the inside scoop.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 13 Apr, 2017
Quick disclaimer: this article is primarily geared towards small to medium sized businesses and organizations who have or are thinking about using a mobile app as a marketing/communication tool for their business (Example: a salon owner, local restaurant or school).  It's not for an app entrepreneur who has created an app that is essentially their business (Example: the latest fitness tracking app or Snapchat).

Now that I've made that clear let's get started.  

You have a distinct advantage in marketing your app because you already have a built in customer base, community or audience.  Your mobile app will be used as a tool to communicate with, add value to and engage that audience.  You don't have to worry about creating an app and then finding an audience.  You've already got the audience, which is huge!

Don't waste time marketing your app to anyone besides your current customers/audience.  


The probability of someone who is not a current customer downloading your mobile app is slim to none.  There are a number of ways to effectively market your app.  I'm going to provide you with seven ideas to get your creative juices flowing.   

First, we need to list the common marketing channels you might use to promote your app.  Then we'll discuss some clever ways you can implement to promote your app in these channels.  The list below is by no means comprehensive, so add any additional channels you may be using in your business.

Common Marketing Channels to Promote Your App

  1. Social Media
    Any social media channels you are active on should be included as a place to promote your app and its benefits.

  2. Website
    Your website is the hub for all your marketing efforts.  Your mobile app should have strong placement that let's current and potential customers know why and how to download your app.

  3. Email Marketing
    Email is still a primary marketing channel for many businesses.  Take advantage of your current customer list and create targeted email messages about your mobile app.  I would highly recommend your email messages solely focus on your mobile app.  If you bury your mobile app launch into a weekly or monthly communication with a bunch of other information, it will most likely get skipped over.

  4. Content Marketing
    What type of content are you putting out?  Blog? Podcast? Videos?  Use any of your content marketing channels to announce and promote your app.

  5. Online Advertising
    If you are using online advertising this can be a great channel to promote your app.  Make sure you target your advertising to current customers.

  6. Offline (in person, direct mail, print advertising, etc.)
    There are all kinds of things you can do offline to promote your app.  Create a list of the different offline interactions your have with customers and make sure you promote your mobile app in everyone of them!

You will want to promote your app in all the marketing channels you currently use.  Marketing your app is not rocket science.  Creating a clear plan with a timeline and the actions that need to be completed will help ensure your mobile app is a success.

Below are 7 different ideas you can use to effectively market your app.  Feel free to tweak as appropriate for your business or organization.

  1. In App Sharing
    You want to make it easy for app users to share your app and spread the word.  In app sharing will allow users to do this easily.  The easier you can make it for someone to share your app, the higher likelihood it will happen.  Having in app sharing in your app is easy and something I would definitely recommend doing.

  2. Online Advertising Targeted Towards Current Customers
    I am by no means an advertising expert, but you can use things like Facebook Custom Audience to upload your current customer list and promote your new mobile app to that specific audience.  This is a highly targeted way to reach your current customers consistently over a period of time.  Create an eye catching ad with an incentive or offer for downloading your app.  By targeting existing customers you will reach the people most likely to download your app...super effective.

  3. Offer Incentives For Downloading
    Sometimes people need a push to do something.  Offer an incentive to anyone who downloads your app.  Freebies, one time discounts or extra loyalty stamps are a few ways to do this.  Offering a strong incentive is your way of saying thanks and will go a long way in driving app downloads and letting customers know you appreciate their support.

  4. Ensure Permanent App Placement in Your Current Marketing Channels
    You've got your social media icons on your website, email signatures and email marketing right?  You need to do the exact same thing for your app.  Placing the app store icons on the homepage of your website, email signatures, email marketing, social media pages, etc. will be a consistent reminder to your audience.  Best of all, you only have to do this once and it's done!

  5. Create a Contest
    Your contest can come in one of two forms.  First, you might create a contest to promote downloads similar to offering an incentive in step 3 above.  For example, everyone who downloads the app will be entered to win a specific prize.

    Second, you might create a contest to encourage users to share/promote your app for you.  For example, you can choose a random winner each week who promotes your app via social media with a specific hashtag.

    If possible, I would recommend offering a motivating prize that brings people back to your business.  For example, a restaurant might offer a free dinner for 2.
     
  6. Promote Your App's Benefits Onsite or In-Store
    If your business or organization has consistent clients visiting your place of business you need to take advantage of this.  Promote your mobile app onsite with flyers, table tents, sales receipts and anything else you deem appropriate.  The key is to take advantage of having a captive audience in your place of business.  You want to make sure they know about the app and the benefits they will receive by downloading it.

  7. Get Customer Testimonials
    It's one thing for you to tell customers how great your app is, but it holds a lot more weight if they see the great things other customers are saying about your app.  Customer testimonials will provide social proof for your app and further encourage others to download it so they can start to realize the same benefits.  If you can get testimonials about the specific benefits customers are experiencing it will be much better than just a generic "this app is great" type statement.

I hope these ideas got you excited about the plethora of ways to promote your mobile app.  Promoting your mobile app doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.  The most important thing is to create a plan and consistently promote the benefits your customers or audience will see by using your mobile app.

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Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level.   Click the image below to get it now.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 05 Apr, 2017
Online video consumption has had a pretty meteoric rise the last few years. It is becoming a critical communication channel and is a preferred medium for many people to consume content. 

Did you know...

  1. Youtube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. (from Insivia )
  2. 1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video. (from Insivia )
  3. Facebook generates over 8 billion video views a day. (from TechCrunch )

I don't know about you, but I think those are some pretty staggering statistics. Despite the growth of video consumption, I am seeing very few schools implementing video as part of their school communication plan. Why? I think it is a lack of time, discomfort with video and/or lack of knowledge about shooting/editing video. I'm here to tell you...it doesn't take a lot of time, there is nothing to be afraid of and with the basics you can handle most of your video needs.

Video has the potential to quickly become a critical communication medium for your school.  Here's why:

  1. Video gets and keeps peoples attention. In other words, videos are engaging.
  2. Video is a proven way of increasing trust.  Isn't gaining the trust of your stakeholders critically important?

This got me thinking about some of the great ways schools can use video to improve communication.  The list below only scratches the surface.  There are so many ways to incorporate video.  My hope is the list below gets your creative juices flowing.

  1. News Announcements
    Almost every school we work with sends out some kind of weekly or monthly news announcement.  Why not include a "principal's update" via video in this communication?  You can quickly discuss things like goals reached, important objectives you are working on and anything else that let's parents know how much you care.

    One of the biggest benefits I think you'll see by doing this is building trust with parents and helping them get to know you. Unless you have a very small school, the likelihood you will get to know every parent is pretty slim.  Video is a great way for them to get to know you without meeting you face to face.

  2. Live Streaming
    Live streaming of video is becoming very popular. It's kind of the TV equivalent of a live sports broadcast with the viewer watching you in real time. Facebook Live, Periscope and Youtube are the more popular services I see marketing professionals mentioning frequently. Live streaming allows you to broadcast a video live to your followers and provide them a chance to interact with you directly.  

    How can you take advantage of live streaming?  Why not host a monthly Q&A session where parents can get their most pressing questions answered?  How about hosting a live "town hall" type meeting with parents? You could also discuss important initiatives the school is focused on and get feedback from parents via a live stream.

  3. Video Tutorials
    Many (not all) parents like to reinforce what is being taught in the classroom at home. If one of my kids has a math test coming up I'd sure like to have the ability to run through some problems with them. Here's the issue...the way I learned math is not how it is being taught today or I may know how to do it but have difficulty explaining it. There are number bonds, making a ten, doubles facts and who knows what else.  I was a math major in college and like to think of myself as a pretty analytical person, but some of this stuff makes no sense to me.

    Why not provide parents with quick video tutorials so they know how to reinforce what is being taught? Teachers don't even have to shoot the video's themselves. Most the tutorial videos any teacher needs are already on Youtube and very easy to share. If the tutorial doesn't already exist, shooting a screen capture video is quick and easy. My favorite resource for this is Screencast-O-Matic , it's free and super easy to use.

Are you seeing how this might be beneficial for you? Getting started with video is not difficult.

Keep it simple. Most smartphones today shoot pretty darn good videos. You can use your smartphone to shoot and record videos. Videos can be uploaded to a number of places for viewing: Youtube, Facebook and Google Drive are a few places you might want to consider.

Keep your videos short. People are busy. You will get a lot more people to watch your videos if you keep them to two minutes or less.

By the way, most of the tools mentioned in this article are free.  Implementing video in your school communication plan will not cost you a dime.  If you choose to "upgrade" a few of these tools you might spend a little bit of money, but it won't cost much.

Here are some additional resources you might find helpful:


Start using video today and you'll improve communication, build trust and engage stakeholders.  The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

 If you need help with any of this please reach out.  We'd be happy to give you some free guidance and point you in the right direction.

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Check out our FREE guide to ensure your school app is a success.   Click the image below to get it now.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 23 Mar, 2017
There's a quote from Leonardo da Vinci I've always liked:

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

It is so easy to make things complicated.  Boiling plans, systems and procedures down to their simplest form is not easy, but it will usually make them their most effective.  Your school communication plan is no different.

If you're not convinced about the importance of effective communication for schools, CLICK HERE  for a quick read on why communication is so important.
 
Creating a stong communication plan is the foundation for establishing effective communication for your school.  Although there may be a lot of moving parts, the communication plan for your school doesn't have to be complicated. The key is to create a plan using multiple communication channels that you can easily manage and consistently execute.

Here are some simple tips you may find helpful in creating a rock solid communication plan for your school.


1. Don't reinvent the wheel.

I'm sure you know of other schools that excel with communications. What are they doing that works so well? Find out and copy them. There is nothing wrong with learning from other schools and implementing their successful ideas.


2. Survey and/or research your community.

When you can reach stakeholders when & where they are looking for information, your communication will improve dramatically. Keep in mind, everyone is different and some people respond to certain communication channels better than others.  Get to know your community and learn the best ways to reach them.

Here's a simple idea. Create a google form and survey your community.  Use it to find out your stakeholder's preferred methods of communication. Google forms work well on desktop or mobile and will be easy for people to submit. The information you gather will be invaluable for your communication plan.


3. Take the Hemingway approach.

Hemingway's distinctive style was plain, simple and direct. When you are looking at the information you need to communicate, keep it simple and to the point. With all the content being created today, people are on information overload and you need to help them if you want your messages to be read.

Does this communication really need to be sent? Is it adding value to your stakeholders? If not, don't communicate it. This seems obvious, but schools have so much information they need to communicate, it can be very difficult to sort through it all to find the truly important information.

CLICK HERE  to learn more about the Hemingway App.  It will help make your writing bold and clear if you'd like the help.


4. BONUS: Key communication channels to consider.

I know I said 3 tips, but I couldn't resist giving a little bit more information.  I hope you don't mind...

The following is a pretty good list to consider when evaluating which communication channels will work best for your audience.

  • Website : I haven't come across a school that isn't using a website for communication.  Make it as easy as possible to find the most important information.

  • Face to Face : This can be a time consuming channel of communication if it has to be done one on one.  Having said that, I don't believe there is a better way to connect with people.

  • Email : This is another one that is pretty standard and a must have.

  • Phone : Some schools are still using auto dialing systems, but in a lot of cases this is becoming pretty archaic.  It's important to know this is a preferred channel for your community before jumping into it.

  • Social Media : With all the different social channels out there it can be overwhelming.  Pick no more than 2 of the most appropriate social media channels for your community and get them right before choosing more to work with.

  • Blogs : This can be a great way to post news announcements as they happen.  Almost every blog platform out there is super easy to view on any screen size (desktop, tablet or mobile), making the content easy to consume.

  • Video :  I'm not seeing a lot of schools take advantage of video, but it is an excellent way to build rapport with people.  On top of that it is becoming a preferred way for people to consume content.  In most cases you will combine video with your other communication channels to make it easy for stakeholders to consume your video content.  As an example, a quick (less than 2 minutes) weekly video from the principal to stakeholders has the potential to go a long way in developing strong relationships with stakeholders.

  • Text : Some schools are using text to get out emergency alerts.  It can be quite effective for short, important announcements.

  • Mobile Apps : I'm a little biased on this one because my company provides mobile apps for schools.  Our school partners are finding a school mobile app to be a very effective way at providing easy access to important information.  Similar to text, push messaging through a school mobile app is another great way to get out short, important announcements to your community.  A mobile app will enhance and compliment your other communication channels...in other words, it will make your other communication channels more effective.  Most people have their smartphone within reach 24 hours a day and schools are taking advantage of that with mobile apps.  


When your communications are simple, reach stakeholders when & where they are looking and are easy to reference, you will automatically start to increase reach with your community. If you need help on your school communication plan, don't hesitate in reaching out to us.

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Check out our FREE guide to ensure your school app is a success.   Click the image below to get it now.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 08 Mar, 2017
Communication is critically important to the success of any school.  You won't find a successful school that doesn't have strong communication with stakeholders.  There are many channels of communication used by schools.  Some of the more popular ones are mobile apps, phone, website, printed material, email and social media.

Today, I want to focus on email because it's where I see an opportunity for a number of schools to instantly improve with one simple adjustment.  By the way, this improvement isn't solely relegated to schools either.  As you'll see in the examples below, many organizations large and small are making this mistake.  In fact, I'm making this same mistake in my business right now .  

According to Litmus , 56% of email opens come from a mobile device.  When was the last time you checked your weekly news or monthly newsletter communication that is sent out via email?  Have you ever bothered to look at how it displays if you open the email from your phone?  If mobile users cannot easily view your email messages take a guess what they are doing with it...DELETE.  And over half your audience is now opening email on their phone.

A few examples will help illustrate my point:
By Tim Fitzpatrick 22 Feb, 2017
Would you like to easily keep parents at your school informed?  What school admin team doesn't?  I'm going to show you how...

As a parent, it can be really difficult to keep track of what's happening at school, especially if you have multiple kids. Everyone is busy these days and anything that makes life easier is welcomed.

The way we communicate has changed significantly with the advent of smartphones and tablets. People want to easily access the information they need and they want that information now! We can now find all the information we need by just picking up the phone and tapping a few buttons.

Many schools are starting to invest in mobile apps. Why?  They offer a new way to communicate with parents.  School apps are proving to be a great time saver and a valuable tool for keeping parents informed. All the important information a parent needs is readily available at the touch of a button. Additionally, a school app allows the school to send out communications to parents that they receive right on their phone. School apps are becoming a critical tool to incorporate in school communication plans.  

Parents no longer have to search for paper documents or try navigating a website to find the info they need...event reminders, school calendars, staff directories, news and much more are a button press away in a school app.

Here's a quick list of the many benefits of a school app that keep parents happy:

  • Quick, simple and free to download for all parents.
    Almost everyone knows how to download an app these days.  Your school app will be free for parents to download and use.
  • School updates arrive right on a parent's phone.
    Push messaging through the app provides parents alerts on their phone with timely and relevant school information.  Event reminders, school closures and emergency alerts show up right on a parent's phone.
  • Parents receive relevant messaging.
    A school app can be tailored to groups within your school (grade levels, interests, etc.) which means that parents don't get pestered by notifications that aren't relevant to them.  Half the time they don't read information because it usually doesn't pertain to the them.  They are accustomed to receiving irrelevant information so they tend to disregard everything you send out.  Relevant messaging = engaged parents.
  • Information when & where parents want it.
    It allows parents to plan their lives more effectively because they can get the information they need 24/7 on their own timetable.  As a parent, I can open up my school app and find the 20% of school information that I need consistently within a few button presses.  The days of trying to sort through the school website to find a lunch menu or calendar are gone.

  • Easy parent interaction.
    Parents can interact with the app and take part in surveys and satisfaction questionnaires that help improve the running of the school. They can interact more with the school by getting interesting and fun updates - for instance, if the kids are out on a day trip, pictures can be posted to show what a good time they are having.

Schools are deciding to have their own apps because they offer a new way to communicate with and engage parents.  In the past, this may have been an expensive and time consuming thing to set up for any school - first you had to find the money and then you had to get the right developer to put the app together.

Nowadays, things are so much easier and schools are discovering that it's cost effective and easy to do. For parents, it's even more exciting because they are literally tapped into the lifeline of the school and use the app to stay abreast of what is happening with their kids.

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