The role of a parent is to help nurture and care for their child. It’s the parent’s job to ensure their children grow into well-functioning and contributing adults. But in recent months, the standard parent role has morphed into one that now includes educators.
Working from home with kids has proven to be an immense obstacle. Most parents are lucky if their child can sit still for a full lesson. And while being your child’s teacher may offer you a deeper understanding of what your child does and learns most days, parents still need to be updated regarding school information and procedures. Perhaps now more than ever.
This is why school communicators need to assist parents as much as possible by keeping them in the know. But how in the know is too in the know? How can you tell when your effective communication becomes annoying over-communication?
Reading the Room
We’ve all been there. We’re telling a joke that we think is hilarious, but no one is laughing. And no matter how much you ramble on, smiles just aren’t cracking. In daily life, we call this “reading the room.” It’s essential to understand the type of crowd you’re in before you try to engage with them.
In marketing, we call this knowing your key audience members or buyer personas. To effectively speak to the group of people you’re hoping to resonate a message with, you have to fully understand who they are, what they want and need, and where you fit within all of it.
You may be thinking, “They’re concerned parents. What more do I need to know about them?” Or maybe you’re a parent as well, and figure you have a pretty good handle on what parents want from you as a school communicator. While it may give you an edge, it’s still important to take a deep dive into the specific demographic of the parents within your school district who are sending their children to your educational institution.
Most schools already have this information available. Reach out to your marketing team or your superintendent to gain knowledge like:
- City/neighborhood they live in
- Average household income
- Educational background
- Occupational information (i.e., do both parents work, or is one a stay-at-home parent?)
- How many children per household
Knowing this information will give you tons of insight into the parents of the children attending your school. And while it may not seem like this information is directly related to your job, it will actually help you craft your messaging and outreach in a way that really resonates with them and the challenges they face.
Find Your Flow
When it comes to email outreach frequency, the simple truth is that there is no magic number. There’s no number out there that is prescribed to every marketer and communicator that assures the most success. Instead, it’s up to you to figure out how often you should be reaching out without overdoing it or not communicating enough.
With that said, there are things you can do to help you find your flow so that you’re in that communication frequency sweet spot.
1. Use Surveys
Using surveys to gauge how often your audience (aka, parents) want to be communicated with is a no-brainer. Not only does it provide you with information directly from the source, but it shows parents that you care about keeping them informed in the way that they prefer. You can ask them simple questions about the frequency of emails they want to see from you or how quickly they want to hear about less-than-desirable news.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure and send the same survey to all parents and to do so at the end of the school year. This will allow you to ask parents about the communication they received throughout the school year and if they liked the frequency or would prefer some changes. It also gives you a chance to make any necessary changes before the new school year begins.
2. Consider the Email Content
When it comes to updating parents, some information is more sensitive or crucial. This more crucial information shouldn’t get lost inside other messaging and typically deserves its own dedicated email.
When deciding on how often you’ll be sending out your regular communication, factor in this one-off, time-sensitive messaging, as it will add another email to the mix, and you’ll want to make sure your regular cadence isn’t too frequent. You don’t want your parents to feel like you’re breathing down their necks. They’re busy and often juggling a lot of things at once. The last thing you need is for them to miss important communication because you’ve clogged their inboxes.
3. Examine the Amount of Content
Another important factor to keep in mind when figuring out how often to email your parents is the amount of content you think you’ll be sharing. If your educational institution is consistently creating content, like blog posts or other materials, then you know you’ll have enough valuable information to send them. This could mean you send them communication more regularly. However, if you aren’t creating a ton of content and only anticipate events or other special updates and information filling your emails, then you may want to schedule it less frequently.
Overall, you just don’t want to send unnecessary emails that aren’t filled with much valuable insight. This could lead to unopened emails and crucial information getting overlooked or missed.
We know that communicating with the average concerned parent isn’t always a cakewalk. But we hope that by following the tips mentioned above, you’ll be able to navigate those instances with a little more ease, leaving parents feeling in the know and confident in how your educational institution is providing for them.
Learn more about BenchmarkONE’s K12 Edition, email software for school communicators, here.
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