Begin, Build, Boost
You're at Boost, the third step in your school's journey to getting the most out of communications in Arbor!
- You can find all three steps of your journey here: Getting started with Arbor communications
- More information on these journeys: Making the most out of Arbor with Begin, Build, Boost
To take your usage to the next level, we'll take a look at five ways you can utilise Arbor communications to work for you, increase your efficiency in sending them out, and reduce cost.
Customise your Communications
Add more merge fields
When creating emails, SMS, in-app messages or letters, you can use merge fields to pull in limited data about students. But you can take this one step further by adding data available in the Custom Report Writer as a merge field to pull into your communications!
Take a look at the video below on how to use merge fields, and this article on how to create them from your Custom Report Writer reports: Creating a Mail Merge using data from a Custom Report Writer report
Create a bespoke recipient list
If already being able to select student groups, or use Bulk actions wasn't enough, you can also set up new groups of students, staff or guardians to send communications to.
Just set up a Custom Group. You'll then be able to select the custom group when sending a new mail merge communication.
Speed up spreading the message
Ask Arbor to draft your message
Ask Arbor is your collaborator and assistant in Arbor, powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI. Tell us the topic and tone and Ask Arbor will create a draft for you to review and send in seconds!
Send emails across your MAT
There's no need to have each school send out communications. If your school is part of a MAT, you can ensure consistent messaging across your schools, and save time sending the messages out by using the MAT MIS: Sending emails from the MAT MIS
Not sure if your Trust is using MAT MIS? Get in contact with your Account Manager, or click here for more information on what you can do with the MAT MIS: Moving to the MAT MIS
How can we save money by reducing our SMS use?
As there is a cost to using SMS (you can see further details here), you'll want to ensure you're only using SMS messages when necessary.
Purchase in bulk:
- The price of each credit reduces when you purchase higher amounts.
- You may also wish to consider purchasing SMS Subscription
Use the right communication type:
- When the information you're sharing isn't urgent, you could use email.
- If you've enabled the Parent Portal, your guardians have downloaded the Arbor App and enabled push notifications, you can send urgent communications by using in-app messages. Guardians will see a pop up on their phone and can see that they have a new message when logged into the app.
Trim down your message:
- Approximately every 153 characters used in an SMS will use up 1 credit, but the actual number of characters and credits is shown before you send out your SMS.
- Make sure you're reviewing the length of your messages to see if they can be trimmed down, or try making your school's signature shorter from School > Communications > Setup > SMS Settings.
Send messages to the right people:
- The more people you're sending SMS to, the higher the cost, so make sure you're only sending to the people you need to target.
- Consider whether you need to send to all staff members or only a certain business role. For guardians, does it need to be sent to all, or only Primary Guardians?
- When sending to guardians, don't forget you can also combine messages - so families that live at the same address can be sent one message that covers all their children.
You're at the finish line of your Begin, Build, Boost journey, but that doesn't mean things have to stop here! This is just the start of using Communications at your school!
Our Customer Education specialists can offer in-depth support on how to use the areas covered in Begin Build Boost, and beyond for other areas of Arbor. Depending on the area, there are Foundation sessions, more in-depth consultations or a bespoke session.
To discuss what would best suit your school's needs, please contact your Account Manager.