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Evaluation is the ongoing part of your communications planning that enables you to keep your planning and execution responsive and agile. Fortunately, many of today’s modern channels allow you to learn in pretty short order what’s working, and what’s not.
In this chapter, you'll learn about some of the popular measurement tools you can use to gauge just how effective your communications are.
Just like the truck signs that ask, “How Am I Driving?” surveys are a wealth of performance data you can use to measure your communications. Parent and staff surveys especially are great ways to start and maintain dialogue on any number of communications issues. Your website and social media channels provide built-in opportunities to survey any and all of your audiences. Many CMS providers make it easy to create a form or survey that can help spark or confirm communications initiatives. Here are some good tips to follow for building an effective parent survey.
Because your district and school websites are the hub of information for your school community, knowing how people use them helps you plan, design and build successful websites. One of the best ways to get good data on how people are accessing your website is to use Google Analytics. It’s free to schools and is relatively easy to set up on your website. If you’re not already using it, put it in gear and start collecting valuable data, like:
Still among the most popular and effective ways schools reach parents and other key stakeholders, email is a flexible channel where one-to-one personalization and details can be readily exchanged. While you have a built-in, captive audience with your school community (unlike some email ‘marketers’), measuring your email activity can improve your effectiveness:
Notifications are necessarily time-sensitive and often critical, so when you huge volumes of messages through voice and text channels, you need assurances that they’re getting through. Most school notification systems provide real-time reporting from a dashboard that enables you set up reports by broadcast types.
Measuring how effective your school communications are is not a one-time proposition. It's a process–lather, rinse, repeat thing. Remember, parent engagement is the end game, but it can also be fleeting, so monitoring your digital communications efforts should be ongoing. If you're just beginning this journey, start with some benchmarking so you know where you stand and where you're heading. With minimal time and resources invested, you'll find that consistent measurement and evaluation allow for flexibility in everything from methods to messaging.
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