Student looking at phone

Expanding the use of text messaging

Over the last year, the Office of Marketing and Communications has expanded the use of text messaging at Ohio State. We continue to develop governance, while providing consultation and support.

Ohio State News Alerts

OMC developed “Ohio State News Alerts” to inform the campus community of urgent changes in policy, protocol and health and safety information. More than 1 million text messages were delivered as a part of this program, with an average click rate of 5.7%.

Faculty, staff and students can manage their text message preferences within the SMS channel or on a web-based preference form. Most have chosen to continue receiving text messages, with only 0.3% opting out — well below the industry average of 2% to 4%.

Expansion of Advancement efforts

OMC and Advancement have partnered to use text messaging to engage new alumni, promote fundraising efforts and answer questions. The highlights of our progress:

  • During the Spring Game, fans were encouraged to text ‘GIVE’ to 79912 to support student scholarships.
  • The new graduate welcome series now includes both email and text options.
  • The Engagement Center has implemented two-way text communications with alumni and donors (following up with constituents after phone calls and answering questions that come in through text).

Scarlet & Gray Advantage

OMC used text messaging to reach students selected for the Scarlet & Gray Advantage Program, providing reminders in coordination with email and outreach phone calls. This additional channel allowed us to concentrate on students who had not already completed actions, read emails or talked to someone on the phone.

Event texting pilot

The College of Veterinary Medicine and OMC collaborated to use text messaging to engage alumni at the 2022 American Veterinary Medical Association conference. OMC mapped out consent collection; created a webform for event registration and SMS consent; and developed automated welcome messages. We also trained the Vet Med team to send their own text messages, with excellent results: 87% of registrants consented to receive text updates. The Vet Med team set up messages to be sent before, during and after the event, while maintaining flexibility to change or add messaging. This project allowed Vet Med to use email and text channels together, based on constituent preference and engagement.

What's next?

In FY 23, we will:

1 Partner with Student Academic Excellence to expand texting across the prospective and new student journeys

2 Operationalize how we collect consent to serve the entire student journey — from prospective student to alum

3 Evolve the Alumni preference center to include both email and text, allowing alumni to choose how they want Ohio State to communicate with them

4 Expand how colleges, units and regional campuses can use one-to-one texting with prospective and current students

5 Roll out text messaging as an option to enhance event outreach strategies