Using the New SMS Features


PLEASE NOTE: SMS must be enabled on your Safe Newsletters account.  Enabling SMS is optional.  Please notify us if you need SMS enabled.  Charges apply per SMS.

In this article:

  1. Notify all parents by SMS that your newsletter has been published and distributed by email
  2. Send a custom SMS message to all parents
  3. Send a custom SMS to a small group of parents

Notify all parents via SMS of your Newsletter publication

Once SMS is enabled on your account, parents also have the option to receive an SMS from the school.  Parents can add their mobile phone number and then select the SMS option.

Newsletters are sent in the usual way, except this time the parent will also receive a SMS notification as well.  This is all silently processed and sent in the background and there are no further steps required when uploading and sending your school newsletter.

SMS Broadcast to ALL Parents

SMS provides an extra layer of convenience, connectedness and provides parents with multiple modes of communication.

The new SMS broadcast feature will send and SMS to ALL parents, students and teachers who have subscribed to your newsletter.

Send SMS

Remember

A standard SMS is 160 characters which is billed at the cost of one SMS.  More than 160 characters means that the message will be billed as two messages.

SMS to small Groups of Parents

This is the real power of the Safe Newsletters SMS system… the ability to send SMS to small groups of parents.

Send SMS2

This method overcomes 2 problems.

  1. Data duplicity
  2. Workload and errors

In explaining this, I’m often asked questions like:

1. Can I add all students and phone numbers to the Safe Newsletters system to make it easier?

My answer?  You DO NOT want to do that because then 2 systems will need maintenance.  Your school system and then hypothetically the Safe Newsletters system.  (We could easily install a facility like this… but we deliberately avoided this)  In the end it won’t be easier… because 2 systems will be more work.  Data duplicity will be created and you will have data overload.  Avoid this at all costs.  Its always best to have one source of truth ie your school management system.

2. How do I bulk add phone numbers?

My answer?  For sending to small groups of parents, use your school system and export parent mobile phone numbers.  I call this disposable data or single use data.  Simply copy and paste them into the box for mobile phone numbers (see image above).  This will reduce workload and reduce the risk of data errors in duplicate data sets.

How to export phone numbers from your School Management System

EVERY school management system has export functions.  This is where data is exported into a spreadsheet for you to use.  You may not have done this before and it may seem complex but its not.  It doesn’t take long to learn how to do it… and when you have done it once… its actually very easy.  You will then wonder why you hadn’t learnt this sooner because there are many instances in a school where disposable data is very very handy.

Summary

  1. Ask to have SMS enabled.  Schools pay per each SMS sent.
  2. Ask parents to add their mobile phone number to Safe Newsletters
  3. SMS auto sent when newsletters are uploaded and sent.
  4. Target smaller groups of parents by using disposable data.

Ask your questions in the comment box below.

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