The Immediate Power of Text Notifications
Sometimes, it can feel like a "simple" phone call requires just as much maneuvering as a weekend dinner date. Who will call who? When? "Is now good?" And of course, before you actually connect, you both need to wait a few seconds as one or both of you figure out your wireless earbuds. Meanwhile, text alerts and notifications are lightning quick.
Research shows 90% of all texts are read within three minutes of receipt. And with less than 160 characters, texts are easy to read and easy to acknowledge — which is why texting is being picked up by local governments and emergency services. For example, Text-to-911 services are being implemented across the country, allowing people to access emergency services via phone. Domestic abuse survivors can text for help, making it easier to discreetly connect to services. And governments are creating text lines to disseminate information, such as sharing updated Covid-19 information and testing site locations.
These critical services are turn to SMS communications because texts connote urgency, get a message across, and ensure that messages can be cross-checked, re-read, and shared with other parties. This is essential for governments sharing timely information, such as weather notifications, churches or nonprofits sharing timely information regarding events, and small businesses sharing hours, closures, or special events to their patrons.
Here, how to capitalize on the speed and urgency of text messaging.
Share Last-Minute Business News
During the Covid-19 pandemic, small businesses have had to quickly adjust protocol based on local, state, and national mandates. The weather can also make planning increasingly fraught: A restaurant with outdoor-only dining may have to quickly reconfigure plans if rain is in the forecast. Sharing alerts with patrons — A small business is planning a sidewalk sale, a restaurant will be closed mid-week for repairs — helps keep your fanbase in the know and can alert them to where to find additional information, such as a social media page.
Tighten Community Ties
Community organizations, from schools to churches, can have a hard time feeling connected during the era of social distancing. Text notifications can fill those gaps, providing a low-touch way to stay connected, share community news, and remind people that leadership is thinking of them. It can also be a way to reach out to people who may need an invitation to connect, inviting them to text any thoughts or concerns that can then be shared with the appropriate contact.
SMS marketing means you have the flexibility to roll-out events with a short lead time. Spur of the moment sales, promotions, and events can be blasted out in a heartbeat. To further entice people to take advantage of offers, consider a time-sensitive coupon or promotion that invites them to show or share a code sent through a text notification. This makes customers feel in the know and gives you opportunities to engage — even as your primary goal is getting rid of excess inventory.
From reservations to doctor’s appointments, texts are invaluable for reminding people to show up. Unlike a phone call, a text reminder ensures that the information is all in one place, so there’s no question as to when, where, and what suite to visit. (Because you know that whenever someone says yes, when you ask if they have a pen, there’s a 90% chance they’re lying) A text can also help you track down a no-show: Are they five minutes late because they had trouble finding parking or did they forget, in which case, would they like to reschedule right now.
Send Payment Notifications
Tracking down payments can be time-consuming and expensive. It can also lead to tough decisions: Do you really want to send a longstanding account into collections? Voice messages and emails can be ignored, but a text can give you peace of mind that you’ve done everything you could to track down a person or payment before you take a next step. Text messaging can also give you the platform to provide clear instructions for next steps.
Provide a Feedback Portal
If someone had a negative experience with your business, you don’t want them to go to social media right away — especially if there’s some way to salvage or correct the issue. Having a number that can be texted for questions or complaints can insure the right person sees and addresses it in real time. With a phone number, there’s a likelihood that the person who answers the call is in the middle of a busy shift, and may not truly understand the scope of the issue being presented by a customer. A text can insure the right people see it, and can respond before a customer makes their feelings public online.
As governments and nonprofits adopt text-based notifications, text has become more and more accepted as the first line of interaction and engagement. Understanding the urgency behind text-based communication can help you make smart text-first decisions for your business, community organization, or nonprofit, so people know to rely on texts from you to stay up to date and in constant communication. Doing so will help keep phone lines free, easing up on the people required to respond to customer service calls, and ensure there is a written trail of communication between your organization and your customers.
So when you need to get the message out fast, consider adopting SMS marketing and share the news — knowing it will get read exactly when you need it to be.