Gateway Education was established in 2004, offering support and guidance to overseas students for a complete and rewarding educational experience. Working with host families, schools and universities across the UK, Gateway Education run long-term and seasonal educational camps to carefully selected students.
Effective communications are an important part of this successful programme, ensuring partnerships with pupils, parents and students are nurtured at every opportunity. SMS was introduced as a primary communication method for Gateway Education to keep things running smoothly. As a familiar concept amongst young people, mobile has proved a successful way to interact with students.
Gateway Education use the Textlocal Attachments tool to send additional information to students and parents via a simple link in a text message. Where emails can often be ignored or deleted, a text message has a 95% chance of being opened and read in the first 5 seconds of receiving it. The Gateway Education monthly newsletter is hosted online by Textlocal, which generates the short link which is included in a text message. Being able to include this PDF document in the text message gives far more scope in terms of readership, including full reporting on exactly who has opened the link. At no extra cost, Attachments provide an effective way to engage in a more direct way with partners, students and parents. 40% of the people who received the text message clicked the link to view the content, instantly making it more successful than email.
Official documents such as confirmation of Parents Evening time slots are also sent via text message by simply attaching the word document to the text message.
Running various trips for students requires intricate planning and keeping others informed to ensure the student’s safety at all times. Reminders are frequently sent to parents and hosts containing travel arrangements. If a school trip is delayed in returning, parents and hosts are made aware via text message, taking just a matter of seconds to broadcast via the Textlocal Messenger App.
When families take on a new student, it’s important they register them with the local GP as soon as possible. SMS proved very successful in speeding up this process, so much so that SMS is the only channel used for sending this important reminder.
Using the Simple Reply Service, Gateway Education can embark on one-to-one dialogue with partners, hosts and students, eliminating the delay that is often experienced with email or attempting to reach them over the phone. The Simple Reply Service allocates a reply number to outbound messages, enabling the end user to send a message back immediately. The rapid responses that SMS provides means that this is the preferred method of communications over email and telephone.
We attached our newsletter to a text message and had a 40% click through rate, outperforming email by a mile.
—Neil Harvey, Managing Director, Gateway Education