December 09, 2016 Groupcall

A call to action

When you send emails and text messages to parents, what do you want them to do? Your immediate answer may be "I want them to read it, of course!" But then the next question is, "OK, but then what do you want them to do?"

What the question is actually getting at is what the marketing people refer to as "your call to action". Before looking at that, though, it might be a good idea to answer the next question you may be thinking: what has marketing got to do with my emails to parents telling them that there's no PE on Wednesday?

As it happens, every email the school sends out is a marketing email. If you don't agree, then just think for a moment about what parents would think of an email from the school that had a spelling error? If, for example, the email said "Their will be no PE on Wednesday", parents may wonder if the person who wrote it can spell. They might wonder why nobody had proofread it and corrected the error. They might go on to wonder whether this lack of attention to detail extended to other aspects of school too, such as teaching. What that email would have done, in other words, is acted as a marketing message about the school, just not the type of message you would have liked.

So, back to the marketing people. They say that every communication should have a call to action, meaning, it should get the recipient to do something.

What sort of things might you ask parents to do?

Let's take that example of the cancelled PE lessons. That is helpful information, but it could also be seen as a bit negative. After all, many kids enjoy PE, and many parents take pride in their kids' achievements in that area.

So, to end on a more positive note, and include a call to action, you might invite parents to look at a section of the school's website that has photos from your last Sports Day. Or, you might ask parents to go to the page on your website that lists all the inter-school fixtures coming up, so that parents can put them in their diary if they wish.

It's not usual, or even comfortable, to use the word "marketing" in the same sentence as "school", but when you do, all kinds of possibilities present themselves for involving parents even more in the life of the school.

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