Best Practices for Communicating Via Text with Parents in Youth Sports
Write an email. Send it out to all parents and families. Answer questions later that were addressed in the email, making it clear no one read it. And wash-rinse-repeat for the next club communication.
Does this sound like a similar situation your youth sports club is dealing with? If so, you are not alone.
Part of the problem is the sheer volume of email parents are likely receiving each day. According to MarketingProfs.com and Text Marketer, each day 269 billion emails are sent. That comes out to 2.4 million emails per second. While your content might be important, the fact is your emails are likely getting missed in crowded inboxes.
Instead, consider sending mass text messages. In contrast to emails, “only” 22 billion texts are sent each day. While this is still a lot, it’s far less content to compete with. Think about your own texting habits. How many texts do you get each day? Of those, how many do you read – immediately? While text messaging parents might seem like you’re forcing your team messages onto their personal phone, the results will be more effective. According to Adobe, 98 percent of text messages are read. The key is to get parents to opt-in to text messages (explaining the costs they could incur from their phone carrier), and reserve text message blasts for specific circumstances. You can still email out your weekly newsletter and save texts for more urgent communications.
Take a look below at some circumstances where sending text message blasts could benefit your club.
If there is a schedule change, you want to ensure parents see the update as soon as possible. This could account for a weather delay, cancellation due to storms or field conditions, a postponement, venue change, or anything that would require parents to be aware they need to take action before their child’s planned game.
You can also send texts to inform parents of changes to practice times or locations. If a practice is going to be cut short, you want to ensure every parent is aware his or her child needs to be picked up at a different time.
Text messages can also work well during tournaments. As times and locations are determined throughout the day you can send one mass text to all parents to make sure they know where to be and when for each game.
Important Team News
Text messages can be sent to parents when you have an urgent update or important information you want to make sure every family sees as soon as possible.
This could be if certain equipment or uniforms need to be brought to a game or tournament. Or to send a reminder about the gear needed for certain weather conditions.
It is also a useful way to alert parents when rosters are available. Instead of having parents call the club office (or director or coaches directly) to check on roster statuses, you can inform each parent that they will receive a text when the rosters are available. This will be convenient for parents and will save your staff time not having to field phone calls.
Reminders for Key Events
Using mass text messaging platforms, you can also schedule texts to send at certain days or times. This is an important feature for when you want to text reminders to parents. Texts can be scheduled to send notifications to parents for key events, like registration deadlines, tryout dates or team meetings.
Reserve these reminder texts for special events so the text messages don’t lose importance. If you send reminders for every practice or game, parents could get in the habit of just ignoring them, and then they could miss these key events. Instead, only send alerts if there is a change in the pre-determined practice and game schedule, and save the reminder texts for events where parents need to take action, or that are out of the realm of the normal schedule.
Reminder for Volunteers
When planning club events you need to make sure your volunteers are present. Sending emails to remind volunteers of the upcoming event could risk someone not seeing it and forgetting to attend. Instead, set up text reminders to be sent to volunteers before the event they opted to help with. For example, a reminder to bring a team snack, drive carpool to an away game, help with tryouts or practice, or assist with a fundraising opportunity.
To ensure your volunteers can attend the event you can set the texts up to require a response so they have to confirm they will be there.
In conclusion, texting can be a valuable method of communication if you follow best practices and don’t overdo it!