Incoming Emails Through Your School Website

Incoming Emails through Your School Website

Incoming Emails Through Your School Website

Engaging with your community is easier than ever before. It's possible to share content on your website, your school app, your text message service and even through other specialist online platforms. The content could be anything, from latest news, upcoming events, specific class/lesson updates. It can even be offline content!
But engagement is a two way street, and if you're wanting to engage with your school community you need to provide them with options and tools to engage with you. In this post we're going to provide advice on how to deal with incoming emails through your school website.

While there are a number of different engagement tools available, most of them only provide one direction of communication - Outgoing. Your school website is the most prominent and feature rich engagement tool available! It can be accessed from almost any device with an internet connection and can include functionality to receive incoming communications, wether that's incoming emails, comments, or applications. Lots of work has been put in to create something for parents to engage with, we also need to put some thought into how parents and the rest of the school community can engage with the content.

There are two main options:

Walmsley Primary ContactMailto Links

Mailto Links: What are they

A mailto link when clicked opens your default email application and creates a new email. Additional information can be added to the link to quickly populate the new email. The link can include an address (or multiple addresses) a subject line and content of the email message itself. A mailto link can be added to your content by editing the code or your website software may include an easy to use editor to setup the links.

Mailto Links: Advantages

  • Works really well if the visitor to the website has an email application installed
  • If you want to provide a list of staff email addresses on the website displaying the addresses and making each address into a mailto link is a nice touch.
  • Some visitors to your site might want to send an email address directly and keep a log of the email they sent using the more familiar traditional emailing method.
  • If you're using the Schudio software to manage your website you can use our People module, dedicated to help build staff pages to include mailto links for different members of staff.

Mailto Links: Disadvantages

  • If the visitor to the website doesn't have an email application installed, or they have one installed but it's not fully setup it then the link will not work, or the computer will try to setup an email application, which is annoying for the user.
  • Can make your email addresses receive more SPAM emails because it's listed publicly on a website that can be picked up by a bot.
  • No central record of communications sent to the specific email address.
  • Can be time consuming to change if email addresses or updated or a different person needs to be added as a contact.

Mailto Links: Examples

Mayfield Contact FormContact Form

Contact Form: What is it

A contact form is usually included on the contact page on your site along with additional contact details and hopefully a location of your school. The contact form will send an enquiry through the form to an email address, but without listing that email address on the website. The Schudio contact form includes lots of additional features on the contact form including different recipient options, central logging of all enquires, quick links to automatically populate the form with a specific contact and SPAM protection.

Contact Form: Advantages

  • Emails sent through to the recipient of their message, a confirmation containing a copy of the message to the sender, and a copy logged in the central system.
  • Option to setup different recipient's for different enquiries, these options can be added on a temporary basis or permanently.
  • Easy to update a recipient email contact from a central location.
  • Quick link options to pre-populate the enquiry type/subject field of the form ready for visitors to fill out the contact form.
  • SPAM protection to ensure only real contact enquires are accepted by the form and sent on.

Contact Form: Disadvantages

  • Some visitors may prefer to send an email through more traditional methods and want the email address to send via their email application.

Contact Form: Examples

Mixed Approach

Mixed Approach: What is it

It's a combination of both methods, including a contact form and also providing the mailto links gives visitors the option of how they contact you. Multiple methods of contact can make audit trails more difficult to complete and potentially a less uniform approach, but is another method to use.

Mixed Approach: Example

Implementing your incoming emails strategy

Now that we've looked at the different methods for receiving incoming emails strategy it's worth spending a little bit of time ensuring that these methods are going to be used. Some key things to think about:

  • How will you ensure your forms or links are used?

    - Will you include the links in outgoing communications?
    - Create links to them from other pages on your website?

  • What about after your community has engaged and got in touch?

    - Will you make it a priority to reply?
    - Who will be responsible?
    - Will you analyse the responses and take action based on the data?


* Links provided above were using the methods indicated when this blog post was published

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