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How to Write an Effective Emergency Text Notification

How to write a good SMS text alert message
How to Write an Effective Emergency Text Notification

Text messaging can be a bit of a Swiss Army knife: need to promote a sale, set up automatic appointment reminders, or even interface with potential hires? Text messaging can do it. And with a 98% engagement rate and 70% of messages being read within five minutes of delivery, it can do it all with an unmatched efficiency.

It’s just this adaptability and efficacy that has made texting a must-have tool for marketers and advertisers as well as human resource teams, logistics firms, schools, and municipalities. There is no other way to communicate important information as quickly and effectively. Here are some common reasons people have need to send an emergency text notification:

  • Office Closings & School Closings
  • Severe Weather Alerts
  • Safety & Incident Alerts
  • IT Network Outages/Status Alerts
  • Customer Communications
  • HR, Staff & Event Notifications
  • Employee Geo Check-in

But each application of texting is a little different. In recent weeks we’ve been thinking a lot about how texting is being used as an effective emergency notifications tool. So, here’s our quick guide of what to consider when you’re composing and sending your emergency text notification.

1. Determine the Content

An effective emergency notification follows four simple rules. These are all good rules to follow in crafting almost any text marketing messages, but when writing an alert they take on even greater importance.

1. Be Clear

As they say, "Just the facts." This is no time for extraneous information. Be sure to provide important links to additional information that can expand upon your message.

2. Be Concise

We live in a world of concision and no place is that more true than in text messaging. Keep your message slim to ensure it’s read and absorbed.

3. Be Timely

Emergency notifications and alerts are defined by their need for immediate attention or action. Knowing that 70% of text messages are read within five minutes means that you should be prepared for others to react to your message as soon as you send it.

4. Be Compliant

Yes, even in an emergency there is no dispensation for compliance. For the purposes of sending a text notification you just need to remember to add the following text at the end of the message: Reply ‘Stop’ to opt out”. And, of course, it's critical that anyone receiving texts you send has opted in to receive those texts. (If you need to know more about expanding your subscriber list see our guide on How to Grow Your Marketing List.)

2. Determine the Audience

This may seem straight-forward, but consider it for a moment.

First, as noted above, remember that your users need to opt in to your text campaign in order to receive messages, even in an emergency. 

Also, a good text platform will allow you to segment your contacts to send targeted messages to previously created groups, such as “Maintenance” or “Delivery.” This allows you to send fast and efficient tailored messages to specified groups. And as we all struggle to define normality in unprecedented times personalizing your messages can add a small, but comforting touch to schedule interruptions and last-minute changes.

After you send your message be sure to stay on the lookout for any responses or additional questions. And don't forget to remind everyone when things get back to normal!

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