How SMS Alerts Can Help You Prep for the Unexpected in the Post-Election Time
It wouldn’t be 2020 if an unexpected situation arose that required some urgent communications. We all know that this year’s Presidential Election will be consequential. And after a tumultuous year, communities across the nation expect to hear from their employers, businesses they patronize, and their community leaders when emergencies spring up.
So how best to get a jump on your emergency communication strategy? SMS text message marketing has been proven again and again to be the most efficient and effective way to reach people immediately... and right where they are: their mobile phones.
Whether at home on Zoom calls, taking care of critical (but socially distant) errands, or out casting ballots — everyone’s likely to have their cellphones on them, ready to receive any urgent alerts from the businesses and organizations they rely on.
How do you prove to constituents and customers that their trust is well-deserved? You communicate with them, sharing updates and need-to-know info as it plays out in real time. Texting is the best channel to deliver these crucial messages, with 98% open rates, nearly 90% of which are opened in the first three minutes. In the days and hours following the election, we expect this level of engaged interaction to increase even more dramatically.
Texting can be a lifeline for communities.
Why Is Texting the Leading Channel for Real-Time SMS Alerts?
- Immediacy: Deliver urgent alerts in real-time, as they’re happening with push notifications that get seen.
- High Engagement & Responsivity: Info that goes unread is info that is useless. Texting reaches your database in seconds so people can act immediately if necessary.
- Affordability: Cities are investing millions of dollars into beefing up security. Text messages are delivered for mere fractions of this cost as one of the most affordable communication channels — whether you’re a small business or a large government agency.
Plan for Emergency Communications — Both Internally & Externally
Since texting is primed for urgent communications and alerts, the time is now to begin texting your database about tips to prepare as well as notifications on how you’ve decided to handle any potential threats — whether this concern is surrounding the election, the inauguration, racial injustice, or any other serious trigger.
Personally, I live in an apartment building and was appreciative of receiving cautionary text alerts from the Manager, who advised tenants to have a cadre of supplies ready: food, water, meds, toiletries, batteries, and any other necessities. Just in case stores were closed.
But it’s not just apartments or homeowners associations that need to plan ahead and be able to advise. Cash-strapped communities have been approving increased police budgets and security services in anticipation of potential civil unrest. According to The Washington Post, all business owners in Washington DC are advised to sign up for crime alerts. Beverly Hills has put aside $4.8 million to boost their own resources. The iconic Rodeo Drive will be closed to both pedestrian and automotive traffic, beginning on November 3, with concrete barriers known as K-rails and gates “pre-staged” to close off other nearby streets in Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle. Similar measures are planned in Cincinnati, Portland, Baltimore, Seattle, and throughout the entire country.
Jack Wackrow, Managing Director at Teneo, a management-consulting firm that does corporate risk-assessment, told CNN that “The stakes are so high, that this political chaos could transcend into something worse, into physical action… if you had widespread unrest in major cities, that you will have a definite impact on business operations, (and) potential financial implications as well.” He advised operations to prepare for the entire spectrum of threats and consequences — on their people, processes, and technology.
Urgent Text Alerts for Transportation, Retailers, Grocers, Healthcare, Financial Institutions & More
Of course, Corporate America must also prepare along with government agencies, residential neighborhoods, and communities.
Transportation companies will want to remain in constant contact with their workforce so they can advise on any road closures or police activity as they are happening. This also affects retailers who may be using Contactless Delivery methods. Or, if customers are opting for Curbside Pickup, earn their trust by showing your concern for their safety and similarly text about traffic updates or concerns.
Grocers and other retailers that provide necessities should likewise communicate with shoppers, reminding them to buy extra items. Do you sell medical supplies, medications, or toiletries? Text subscribers to ensure they’ll be similarly well-stocked in case of closures. Healthcare providers can text patients in case of any changes to office hours, along with reminding patients of upcoming appointments. Banks and others in the financial sector can keep clients up-to-date on operational decisions that will ensure staff and assets are kept secure.
Actionable Takeaways on How to Leverage SMS to Protect & Inform
Hopefully, these precautions are just that — precautions. But your audience will appreciate the plans you put in place to keep them safe via SMS texting. Read our guide for more tips on How to Write an Effective Emergency Text Notification and consider the below actionable tips:
Promote Texted Alerts with SMS
- Advertise Keywords on your website and social media channels so that your audience knows to opt in to your SMS text subscriber list.
- You can also promote SMS capability on emails, direct mail, TV spots, and more to boost your reach.
Notify & Engage Your Database via Text Messaging
- Trigger a Reminder Campaign with important safety procedures and precautions your subscribers can take now… so you can minimize any potential problems in the future.
- Are you a retailer or grocer? Text reminders to shoppers to make important purchases in advance.
- Text updated real-time alerts on any potential threats, police activity, road closures, traffic situations, and more.
- People will have questions. Expedite response times — and simplify the work of a staff that is likely to be overburdened — with easy-to-use and convenient 1-on-1 Chat. Connect with your audience directly and efficiently — no need to deal with the hassles of long hold times.
- SMS works perfectly when combined with other channels. Email your database detailed info — and text subscribers to alert them that the email can be viewed in their inbox.
Streamline Communication with Staff
- During any emergency, staff are overburdened enough. Phone calls and emails can be a hassle and add to the overwhelming stress. Instead, connect with your staff via simple texts — you’ll communicate faster on a channel that is less distracting.
- It will be imperative to keep your team aware of any real-time alerts on any potential threats, police activity, road closures, traffic situations, and more. Texting is your prime channel to deliver this intel.
- Communication is streamlined and efficient with SMS. One click of a button can send your message to thousands.
- Looking to bring in reinforcements? No problem. Text your staff and you’ll probably hear from them in seconds.
Integrating a system of SMS alerts and notification in case of emergencies is a game-changer. Circulating urgent info quickly to your staff and subscribers can easily be life-saving… whether the emergency in question revolves around political unrest, weather concerns, Amber alerts, COVID, or another serious situation.
Looking for more ideas on how texting can help during these times? See how Gilbert, Arizona used text marketing to keep their community safe as the pandemic began.