How to Make the Most of Your Welcome Back Letter
Did you know emails with the word 'welcome' have a significantly higher open rate than all other emails? True story!
This means the back-to-school Welcome Letters to families and to the team are some of the most important communications principals (and superintendents) send all year. So, now that we know we've got a more captive audience for this annual rite, how can we make the most of it?
Here are three suggestions: information, inspiration, and illumination.
1. Information, always at the top
Another useful email stat is about reading habits. Now that 85% of people (and rising) read their email via their mobile phones, it's fair to say that most people would fail an email reading comprehension test. Not because it's hard, but because we've become so accustomed to skimming. When your team and your families receive that Welcome Back email, what's the most important piece of information for them to receive? Likely, when they need to be there and what they need to bring. Lead with that!
And while you're at it, give it a clear header to attract the notice of skimming eyes.
2. Keep folks inspired
Back-to-school is a bittersweet time of year. One the one hand, there's a great deal of excitement and anticipation. Students are looking forward to seeing friends and returning to their activities, teachers are excited to see colleagues and meet their students, and parents are thrilled to have their kids out of the house and off TikTok. On the other hand, nearly 60% of moms report back-to-school as their most stressful time of year. More even than the holidays! Students have a great deal of anxiety about returning, particularly those who have historically struggled with attendance. And teachers, well, no need to spell it out!
One way to combat the creeping anxiety is with inspiration. How you choose to inspire could take many forms. Could be a series of inspiring quotes, could be stories, could be a motivational Spotify playlist. You could offer up a challenge with a fun reward (ice cream party?) or launch a new fun feature for your regular communications that folks look forward to.
Whatever you choose should match your style and school mission--and get folks psyched!
3. Lastly, illumination (aka an alliterative way of saying resources!)
Everyone appreciates a helpful resource. Whether it's a blog post on getting kids back into a school-appropriate sleep routine, or a link to an article on building strong school-home relationships. Educators and parents manage a lot of responsibility, and sharing a helpful resource says you see them and stand ready to help.
Our partner org Smore has a big variety of free school newsletter templates principals can duplicate and personalize--and even send out via Notify. Because the newsletters are digital, there's a higher likelihood that they'll reach readers. Plus, translation features means reaching all parents and caregivers, regardless of their home language. Click here for a Welcome Back template for your team, and here for a Welcome Back template to families.