What is the most effective way of encouraging parents, who have visited once or twice but then drifted away, to return to your centre?

A recent report from the Children’s Society confirms what I think many of us have known for a long time – that it is the poorer parents who are struggling to access the support that is available through Sure Start.

Such parents and carers may well turn up once or twice but then stop, perhaps because of the distance or local transport problems involved in reaching the centre, perhaps because they are not sure of what services and sessions are available, or perhaps because of other commitments.

What is needed with such parents is a method of communication which fits in with the parents’ lifestyle, which is simple and low-cost to operate for the Centre and which is proven as a method of encouraging the lapsed parent to return.

What such a message can do is highlight the concept of using the Sure Start centre again and put this notion into the forefront of the parent’s mind.

The method that works singularly well in achieving this end is bulk text messaging.

Text messaging offers an instant, cheap and effective way of communicating, whether it is regarding reminders of session details or about changes of times.  Parents can be divided into different groups (such as regulars, occasionals, once-visitors, etc) and messages can be tailored to each group.

What TextMine does is allow you to send bulk text messages to each selected group of people at very low cost.

To get started, all you need to do is to log on to the TextMine website, type your message as you would an email, choose your contacts and send. Your message is sent directly to the phones of the people you want, whether they have the newest Smart Phone or one of the older mobiles.

For more information about the TextMine system please visit www.textmine.co.uk or alternatively email catherine.keeling@textmine.com or telephone 020 8150 6024

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