I’ve been writing this week about my first six months at Gateway and how intentionally communicating with parents has been a huge deal.

I was building a process for communication and I needed something that was efficient and something that would scale well. Sending emails from my inbox wasn’t a good long term solution. How would we add new emails? How would we remove emails? Who would manage this every changing list? If my parents are constantly getting a long email from me every week, are they going to be more or less likely to read or respond to other emails.

So, I implemented stage two of the communication strategy. I launched a blog for Kids Quest. Now I set up a domain on a server, but that’s only because I’m partially OCD and a big geek. There’s nothing wrong with using blogger or wordpress. I immediately began blogging. I realized that people were not going to read my long emails. However, the information was essential and needed to be said. So, my plan was to write blog posts about everything that needed to be said. I figured in one week I could have 5-10 different posts depending on what was going on. If people wanted all the juicy details, they could read the blog posts that interested them and skip over the ones they didn’t care about. Then I would send out my email every week, but instead of making it a really long email with all the information, I would just highlight the main things and say, “if you want to read more about this, click here.” This would take them to that specific post on the blog. Now my emails could be substantially shorter which increased the likelihood that my parents would actually read them.

Part two of this stage was to sign up for a Constant Contact account. I knew I needed to stop using Outlook to send out these emails. There were several reasons why I decided to use constant contact:

  • I could create emails with a graphical layout
  • CC would manage the list of parents for me (people could unsubscribe from the list without me doing anything and each week my admin would add emails of new parent’s who visited)
  • CC would show me how many people were reading the emails as well as how many people were clicking on the links and going to the blog.

So, although I don’t really use the graphical layout portion of Constant Contact for my emails, I do know exactly how many people are reading these emails and how many are going to the blog. I send out close to 1200 emails and I find that about 1/3 of my parents actually read them. Usually about 50% o them will follow the links to my blog and read more information there.