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What mediums work best when communicating with parents?

There isn’t one magic medium that will work every time for every parent, which is why it’s important to take a multichannel approach. That said, research shows that websites, texting, and email are more effective than phone calls, brochures, and other mediums. Here’s a quick look at how the most common tactics compare.

Very Effective

  • Website. Up to 80% of parents visit websites in support of their students. Make sure you’re giving parents the information they want — ideally on a separate Parents & Family section on your website.
  • Texting. Yes, we love texting — and so do parents. In fact, nearly three-quarters of parents want texts after completing the RFI form. Just make sure your texts are timely and relevant, and that you’re following your Campus Texting Policy.

Somewhat Effective

  • Email. Parents use email more than students do, in part because it’s easy to file away instructions and confirmations received through email. But don’t assume that parents want more emails; it’s possible they just prefer it to other mediums.
  • In Person. Campus visits and face-to-face conversations build trust — a key factor in the decision-making process. Just remember to listen when you meet with parents. You’ll be surprised by the false perceptions they may be holding on to — but you won’t know unless you let them talk.
  • Print brochures. There’s still a place for the cherished campus brochure. In fact, half of all parents still want a brochure mailed to them. But forget the “three and a tree” pictures and try to stand out from the crowd, especially since today’s high school students get “about three trash cans’ worth of college materials every year.”

Least Effective

  • Phone calls. If parents can’t find what they need on your website, they might call you. But most parents prefer email and brochures to picking up the phone.
  • Social media. While parents use social media channels (especially Facebook) to learn more about a school, only 25 percent of parents are receptive to getting messages through a social app.

Want to learn more?

Our full report on parents covers everything from how to get contact information for parents, to the most effective communications strategies for parents of Gen-Z students.  

FREE GUIDE: Communicating with Parents of Prospective Students

With robo-dialing on the rise, more and more students are ignoring phone calls.

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