College Students

Successful Texting Campaigns to Engage Students and Alumni

4 min read

Helping students and alumni is a tricky business - they need your help, but will often ignore messages. To run a successful texting campaign, the first thing your institution needs to do is develop a strategy. Formalizing a clear plan for a campaign ensures that:

  • You know what needs to be done 

  • You know why it needs to be done

  • You know what metrics will define your success

Mongoose works with more than 750 colleges and universities across the country and we asked our clients to share some of their more successful texting campaigns. Here are some of the results.

Make A Good First Impression

When a student is engaged with your institution, they’re more likely to reply to messages, follow calls to action, and turn to you when they need help. It’s important that the first text campaign you send to a group of students is personalized, helpful, and open-ended. 

This 4-year public institution found a fun way to spark conversation with new students while opening the door for potential questions.

“We do a ‘Happy First Week’ message and encourage our new students to share a GIF or emoji on how they are feeling. Based on the image sent, we can continue the conversation from playful to helpful. This gets a great response rate and they ask questions as they are settling in.”


Let The Text Work For You

Can a texting campaign be too successful? Part of properly planning a texting campaign is making sure you have enough staff members available to respond to those who have follow-up replies to your initial text. 

Cadence features like Automation and Smart Messages allow you to set up an automatic reply to texts with “Yes” or “No” answers. If a student responds with “Yes,” the pre-determined yes response is sent automatically. Whereas responses of, “No” will trigger the no response.


This 4-year private university crafted a successful Smart Message to promote a new course.

“Our college was very close to enrollment projections at the start of the semester and wanted to do a targeted push to encourage select populations to sign up for a late-starting course. We worked with Institutional Research to identify the student populations that might be a good match for this outreach, and then developed a smart message in Cadence. This determined which students were interested and drove them to the next step in registering for another course. We ended up sending the smart message to nearly 200 students and had a phenomenal response rate of 33% ! Even better - of the students who replied, 2/3 were indeed interested to sign up for another class.

Here is the message we crafted if other colleges are interested

“Hi [First Name], this is [Name Of Staff/Department].  I think you might be a great candidate for adding a late starting course for Fall semester. Are you interested to see what's available? (Please reply Yes or No)”

If yes:

“Great! More details on second session courses are listed here“

If no:

“We understand. If you should change your mind, registration for the second session will be ongoing through October 21. More details are listed here”


Nudges Get The Job Done

Students and alumni are just like you - they need reminders. Nudge campaigns should be set up ahead of time, and work with your academic calendar. That way, your department is prepared to help students through roadblocks that might come up throughout a semester. 


This 2-year technical institution uses nudges to get students across the registration finish line.


“We send texts to all students the day registration opens for the next semester to nudge them to register early. Overall, it has increased registration on that first day by 2%. In addition, students having issues text back so we can resolve their issues right away. They appreciate the easy communication and personal help they get.”


Data is the key to any successful campaign

Knowing what has worked will help you make improvements in the future or maintain current success. Cadence allows institutions to dig into metrics like the rate at which students reply or the length of time it took students to reply.

This 4-year institution began a campaign to make students aware of the available resources on campus, and the metrics will helped determine the campaign's success.

“We started a campaign to let students know they could now text their coaches. I appreciate being able to send Campaigns to multiple groups with the same message and see the metrics as far as delivery rates, reply rates, and even the breakdown of how much time between the message and the reply. I think this will be a great way to connect with students.”


Want to learn more about how to improve your communications? Check out this episode of For Your Institution, ‘How to Plan Successful Engagement Campaigns’.