Over the past nine years, I have learned how important a simple greeting card can be. In my ‘other’ life, I help businesses create relationship marketing strategies to help them retain customers. One of the most important tools in a business toolbox for this purpose is the simple greeting card. This might be simply because greeting cards are so rare, but I tend to think that, in this age of technology, people are longing for a personal touch.
A few semesters ago, I thought I might apply what I’ve learned in helping business owners to my own students. After all, my goal is to increase retention and to keep my students engaged, much like a business strives to retain customers and keep them coming back.
So I designed a simple three card campaign to send to students in my short (8 week) classes to see if it would make a difference. Typically, online courses are difficult, but doing them in 8 weeks can be even harder for students! My goal was to help foster a feeling of relationship with my students and to give them tangible encouragement for their journey.
The first card went out the first week of class. I introduced myself and welcomed students to the course.
The top panel of this card also included pictures so that students could associate a face with the message.
The second card (a postcard) went out halfway through the session and included an encouraging message.
The final card was sent to all student remaining in the course at the end of the 8 weeks, congratulating them on their success in finishing the class.
Sending out these cards cost me about $5 per student, but I think the results were worth it. In the semester that I sent out the cards, I only lost one student. (Those of you who teach online know how rare that is–especially in an accelerated course!) My results at this point are only anecdotal, but I’m hoping to do more research into using cards in the future.
If you’re looking for a unique way to add a personal touch to your online classroom, greeting cards might just be it! 🙂