Alert Solutions Blog

Need an Email Deliverability Boost? Check Your Message Size

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, May 21, 2015 @ 09:05 AM

An email message that is never delivered can never be read. This is the importance of email deliverability. But while many best practices are in consideration when creating an email marketing campaign, one factor sometimes goes forgotten: message size.

Does message size affect email deliverability? It sure does!

Consider the following topics:

1. How is message size determined?
The length and width of your email, as well as the amount of content and HTML formatting is what makes up your email’s size. The size of any images has no effect on email deliverability, although some spam filters flag messages with an unbalanced text to image ratio.
 
2. What size email marketing campaign is best?EmailMessageSize
Although there are many recommendations in the industry, the general consensus is that each email marketing campaign should not exceed a certain message size. Email testing and analytics company Email on Acid found that sending an email marketing campaign in excess of 100KB triggered the most spam filters. There is no evidence to suggest that the larger the message size, the more spam filters it will be caught in.
 
3. How can I create the email I want while staying within limit?
Content remains pivotal to the success of an email marketing campaign, so you must use it wisely. Target Marketing suggests template width limits of 500 pixels, especially when sending to both desktop and mobile recipients. Don’t forget! Some email service providers clip messages that are lengthy.
 
4. Does this include attachments?
No! Your email size does not include the size of any attached files. Alert Solutions recommends the attachment size not exceed 3MB, as anything larger could also negatively affect email deliverability.
 
Want to learn about more email marketing deliverability tips? Download our Email Deliverability Guide today!

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Topics: email deliverability, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Improving School Attendance – Everyday Strategies to Triumph Over Truancy

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, May 19, 2015 @ 10:05 AM

School attendance is vital to student academic success. Often, parents and students do not realize how quickly absences can add up to academic trouble.

Students that miss 10 percent of the school year, or just 2-3 days each month, are more likely to fall behind, fail courses and dropout of school altogether.

Many suggest having effective teacher-family communication and sharing the benefits of great attendance every day in the classroom will help drive up school attendance throughout your school community.

The Attendance Works organization agrees. A teacher’s ability to convey the importance of school attendance from Day One will help set the tone for the entire school year.

To help teachers build a culture of attendance, Attendance Works has suggested the following school attendance strategies:

A. Emphasize Attendance From Day One

  • Talk with parents early in the school year to share the value of good school attendance. Let them   know you are here to support them.
  • Get involved with Attendance Awareness Month. Throughout September, 40 national organizations come together and host events and contests to help spread the word.parents_with_teachers

B. Use Parent-Teacher Conferences to Discuss Attendance

If a student is missing too much school, parent-teacher conferences are a great time to chat with parents about the impact of student absences. Help families brainstorm how they can establish good routines at home that will put students on the right track to good school attendance.

C. Promote a Culture of Attendance

  • Encourage students to track their own attendance.

Do you have an attendance issue at your school?

Download our Guide to Reducing Chronic Truancy today! It has a ton of great tips and tricks for K-12 schools!

Download Now!

Topics: attendance, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, truancy

Communication Vital to Attracting, Retaining Tenants - Industry Leaders Speak

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 11:05 AM

Though the housing market is continuing to rebound, more and more American families are choosing to rent their homes instead of buy. It’s a vast opportunity for residential property managers – to the tune of over 100 million residents (or about one-third of US population!).

It’s also a highly competitive market. That’s why it’s important for property managers to distinguish themselves from the crowd to attract and retain the best tenants. How can they do this? A recent article from Multifamily Executive says communication is the key.

Consider the following communication ideas for better tenant attraction and tenant retention:

Before the tenant moves-in:
A typical sales approach ends with a property manager or leasing agent getting a lease signed as soon as possible. This high pressure isn’t the best method in the long run, according to industry experts.

Instead, they suggest taking the time to get to know the prospective tenant on a more personal level. Knowing their hobbies or favorite foods allows you to recommend nearby attractions and restaurants. This is one way to make them feel comfortable and trusting.
 
After the tenant moves-in:Propertymanagementmoving
As you know, renewing a current tenant’s lease is far more cost effective than turning-over the unit. There lies the importance of tenant retention. Regular communication throughout a tenant’s lease convinces them that they are a valuable resident and their well-being is of highest concern. Additionally, you can:

  • Let your tenants be heard - allow for a two-way dialogue
  • Break down communication barriers by sending notes in tenants’ native languages
  • Monitor message delivery to make sure all tenants receive information

Do you need the tools necessary to improve communication with your tenants? Look no further than Alert Solutions. To learn more, contact us today or download our Property Management brochure.

Alert Solutions' Resident Reach Download the Brochure!

Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant notifications, tenant satisfaction

3 Education Topics Affecting Students in U.S. Schools

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 11:05 AM

Each year the Brown Center on Education releases its annual report on various ‘hot topics’ in education. The 2014 report gave a progress report on the Common Core and reported on the homework controversy in America.

This year, the annual report examined the persistent gender gap in reading performance, how the Common Core is impacting reading achievement, and how basic motivation plays a key role in student engagement. Here are the details:

The Rekidsreadingading Gender Gap
Studies show girls outscore boys on practically every reading test given to a large population. This gender gap is not only experienced in the U.S., but around the world. Here are 3 explanations:
 
1. Biological/Developmental
Even before attending school, young boys evidence more problems in learning how to read than girls.  It seems as if the sexes are hard-wired differently for literacy.
 
2. School Practices
Boys are inferior to girls on several school measures—behavioral, social, and academic—and those discrepancies extend all the way through college. 
 
3. Cultural Influences
Cultural influences steer boys toward non-literary activities (sports, music) and define literacy as a feminine characteristic. 

Measuring the Common Core’s Effectiveness
The second section of the report attempts to determine when the Common Core started having an impact on student learning.
 
The analysis uses surveys of state implementation to identify different Common Core starting points for states, and from that it compiles a second “early report card” on the standards’ impact.
 
Results showed small advantages, and the report notes that because only four states are in the non-adopter category (the logical, though small, control group), big changes in one or two of those states could have impacts on results.
 
Student Engagement
The report explaStudentsCollaboratingins student engagement as it pertains to “the intensity with which students apply themselves to learning in school.” The analysis concludes that U.S. students are average in terms of student engagement.
 
Data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) revealed that several countries noted for their superior ranking: Korea, Japan, Finland, Poland and the Netherlands.

When it comes to what PISA data recommends for policy makers, education programs that are designed to increase student engagement should be evaluated on a small scale before school-wide implementation.
 
Studies show effective teacher-family communication is VITAL to student success.
 
If you’re looking for a reliable communication solution for your school, check out Alert Solutions’ Suite of School Notification Systems.

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, student engagement

Automated Appointment Reminders Reduce Patient No-Show Rates, Says Study

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, May 07, 2015 @ 10:05 AM

Healthcare providers understand that their most significant loss of revenue is due to missed appointments. Often times, patients simply forget they had an appointment in the first place, causing the appointment slot to go unfilled. It’s a problem that all medical practices deal with.

Doctors at the University of Rochester’s Department of Family Medicine have taken an interest in the issue. Specifically, they looked at the effect of automated appointment reminders on patient no-show rates.

The TestAppointmentREminder1
Doctors arranged to send randomized voice reminders to a subset of patients 24 hours before their scheduled appointments. They used an urban family practice for the setting of the study. In all, 479 patients received an automated appointment reminder while 424 did not.
 
The Results
Patients were nearly 40% more likely to miss their appointment if they did not receive a reminder, the study found. 19% of patients who received an appointment reminder missed as opposed to the 26% who did not.
 
Interestingly, 17% of patients who received an appointment reminder call cancelled or rescheduled their appointment, which was higher than the 10% who did not get a call. Even so, these appointment slots were available to other patients because the practice had time to re-fill them.
 
What This Means
Medical practices that implement automated appointment reminders will see a reduction in their patient no-show rate. Additionally, patients that need to cancel or reschedule their original appointment are given the opportunity to do so with plenty of notice to the practice. This saves office staff time and money!
 
Did you know?
The amount of lost revenue due to missed appointments far outweighs the cost of an automated appointment reminder system. Get more facts and figures here.

Topics: voice broadcasting, appointment reminders, Medical, patient communication

Social Media Monitoring in K-12 Schools – The Great Debate

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 11:05 AM

When it comes to monitoring students’ public and private social media activity, the laws from state to state vary drastically.

For example, a new Illinois law gives school administrators the ability to demand a student’s social media passwords if they have ‘reasonable cause’ to believe they will find evidence the student has violated school rules.

In California, the law requires school administrators notify parents of any plans to monitor social media and allow students to review whatever information is collected.

According to Justin Patchin, the Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, many school districts take part in rudimentary monitoring, but it’s rare for K-12 schools to use a service to monitor external traffic around-the-clock.

Why? Well, while there is probably no criminal liability, comprehensive social media monitoring could put schools in difficult positions when it comes to which posts they choose to act upon.

It becomes overly objective, and hard to manage. With that said, many school districts have taken a step back and have started educating parents on how to understand and use popular social media websites.

To help students be safe and responsible on social media, here are some helpful tips k-12 schools can share with parents:

1. Check Privacy Settingssocialmediamonitoring
Check that your privacy settings for Facebook and the Internet are set to the strictest levels.
 
2. Create Ground Rules
If your kids are old enough to use a computer, they are old enough to understand the rules they need to follow. Breaking these rules should have consequences. Some suggest having all the family members sign a “social media contract”.
 
3. Keep the Computer in a Central Location
It is much easier to monitor a child’s online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone in the house. Popular places include the kitchen or family room.
 
For more social media tips for parents, check out this article.

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, school programs

Content Marketing Personalization – Are You Using It Correctly?

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Content marketing refers to the distribution of information that is primarily educational or valuable rather than promotional. This form of marketing is widely used as a method of building brand loyalty and staying top-of-mind among your target audience.

One way content marketing is made more effective is through personalization. Did you know that 95% of B2B marketers segment their content in order to provide personalized material? Truth be told, personalization is one of the surest ways to help deliver relevant content to an entire audience. But it’s not easy!

With such a large majority of marketers segmenting their content and messages, the results may vary. If your content marketing campaign personalization falls short of your expectations, check out the following tips:

1. Start small and ramp up as you move along. AudiencceTargeting-1

Personalization of your entire audience doesn’t happen overnight. Experts suggest starting slow and steady. Be methodical in learning about your entire audience by segmenting demographically, behaviorally and dynamically; not one or the other.
 
2. Anticipate preferences with click-through patterns.
Analyzing click-through patterns can help shed light into what your audience is interested in. And while you can’t guarantee their interests will be the same next week, this can help shape the content of your next campaign nonetheless.
 
3. Don’t forget: Too much personalization may not be best.
Use caution when applying content personalization. Going overboard may faze recipients who think you know too much about them.
 
Remember, content personalization ultimately requires you to know your leads and customers personally so you can deliver the best, most relevant content to them.
 

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: personalization, list segmentation, content marketing

Bullying and Cyberbullying in K-12 Schools: The Startling Statistics

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Bullying and cyberbullying in K-12 schools is an age-old problem. However, school violence cases – including the Marysville School District school shooting tragedy last fall – highlights the serious and sometimes deadly consequences of bullying behavior. Here are some starting statistics:

Bullying Statistics

1. Nearly 160,000 students miss school each day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
2. Every 7 minutes a child is bullied, and 85% of the time there is no intervention.
3. Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious and require more mental health services throughout life.
 
Cyberbullying Statistics
1. Only 7% of parents are worried about cyberbullying, yet 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying.
2. 1 Million students were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook last year.
3. More than 85% of social-media using teens say they have seen someone be cruel to another person on social media.
 
These statistics have prompted politicians across the country to pass anti-bullying legislation in their states. Here are a few common components of these laws:
  A definition of bullying consistent with the definitions specified in state law.
 
2. Reporting Bullying Incidents
This includes a procedure for students, student families, staff, and other school community members to report incidents of bullying, including a process to submit such information anonymously and with protection from retaliation.
 
3. Responding to Bullying
This includes a procedure for promptly investigating and responding to any report of an incident of bullying or cyberbullying, including immediate intervention strategies for protecting the victim.
 
Are you familiar with the anti-bullying legislation in your state? Click here to find your state law.

Create an Anti-Bullying Strategy Download our Guide!

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs

Commercial Property Sector Sees Growth! Success Tips for Property Managers

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

The commercial real estate market, along with many other segments of the economy, has seen a rebound in activity.

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, commercial real estate agent earnings are at an all-time high! Commercial property managers are expected to pick up the pace and further develop this industry.

MultiBriefs has released a helpful article for commercial property managers looking to capitalize on the market’s rebound. Here are some tips:

1)    Don’t Fall Behind on Property Maintenance
Some property managers don’t know that the highest ranking factor of a tenant’s lease renewal decision is the quality of property maintenance!
 
2)    Be Proactive with Commercial Property Upgradespropertymanagement-2
The less your tenants have to worry about your property’s infrastructure, the more they can focus on building their own operations. Not to mention, keeping a property outfitted with the latest in technology and security can help retain your tenants and keep them satisfied.
 
3)    Improve Energy-Efficiency at Your Properties
Commercial property managers that commit to “going green” are said to attract more considerate tenants to their properties. Green buildings can also help your tenants save considerably on their utility bills. It’s a win-win!
 
4)    Communicate Effectively with Tenants
MultiBriefs says it best: “All of the above…would be rendered useless unless there is a clear, precise two-way communication established between the managing team and the clients in a commercial property.”
 
Did you know Alert Solutions helps property managers maintain consistent communication with their tenants by reaching them in the most-preferred methods? Download our Guide to Effective Tenant Communication for some tips and tricks!
 
To read the rest of the article from MultiBriefs, click here.

Topics: property management, tenant communication, tenant notifications

Get the Most Out of E-Rate – 4 Tips for K-12 Schools

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 10:04 AM

K-12 schools across the U.S. have the opportunity to take advantage of funding available through E-Rate – a federal program that connects k-12 schools and libraries to the internet at a discount of 20-90 percent.

Back in December we shared information on our blog about the changes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made to E-Rate. These changes increased E-Rate program funding from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion.

To help K-12 schools and districts looking to take advantage of E-Rate funding, we’ve shared the following 4 best practice tips from EdTech Magazine.

1. Start Early!erate
K-12 schools should start the process as early as possible, asking the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) any questions they may have. Plus, completing the application early has its perks! K-12 schools that apply first get reviewed first and will receive funding in the first wave of approvals.
 
2. Read the E-Rate Modernization Orders.
Confused about what changes the FCC made to the E-Rate program? We understand! Try reading the Modernization Orders on USAC’s website. These documents provide K-12 schools with valuable information and even include a list of frequently asked questions.
 
3. Plan for the Future.
The FCC no longer requires K-12 schools to submit a technology plan to get funded. However, K-12 schools should evaluate their project needs and plan two-three years out. This way, administrators can ensure they get the funding they need when they need it.
 
4. Use USAC’s Free Educational Resources.
USAC’s website includes a ton of print resources and educational videos that help take K-12 schools through each step of the application process. School administrators can even sign up for training events throughout the country!
 
How does E-Rate funding benefit your schools? Share your thoughts on our blog!

Topics: school announcement, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, e-rate

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