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What COVID Taught Us About SMS Message Reliability

We’ve learned a lot post-COVID, including how to stay connected with employees, patients, and customers. Learn how to determine and improve text message reliability for your organization.

Illustration of the earth (global concept) with smartphones popping out from different locations and heart illustration surrounding the phones (to illustrate connectedness) with the COVID-19 symbol.
August 7, 2023
Kathleen Crampton
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SMS messaging has been used as a communications and marketing method for years, but it became even more important — and even a necessity — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we’re on the other side of the global crisis, what have businesses, and organizations learned about using SMS, including challenges and benefits, text message reliability, and overall reception?

Use these learnings and insights to improve your business’s SMS marketing tactics.

What Organizations Learned About SMS from COVID-19

There’s no need to sugarcoat it: COVID-19 was challenging. On top of processing the impact of the pandemic on personal lives, businesses and organizations also had to manage seemingly daily health risk changes and figure out how to communicate with employees and customers. That’s when SMS reliability became more important than ever before — even potentially life-saving in some instances.

Health organizations and hospitals needed to be able to manage appointments and wait times and send emergency notifications. With 98% open rates for text messages, they realized that SMS was the way to maintain communication and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Some found that patients received this new (or improved) communication method well. In fact, according to one study, SMS patient engagement rates from health clinic messages were 90%.

On the other hand, businesses were reeling from the rapidly shifting health mandates, in-person office changes, layoffs, and more. Sending mass text messages helped to notify employees of changes quickly. But customers all developed a need for more personal connection during the global crisis. Companies could help to create this special connection by sending unique marketing messages to different customer segments.

From internal business communications to customer relationships and health notifications, COVID-19 solidified the need for text message reliability.


Calculating SMS Reliability

Determining the reliability of your text messages is super important to ensure you’re reaching your audience. (Throughout this article, we’ll use “SMS” and “text” interchangeably; learn more about SMS vs. text.)

Here’s what’s involved in SMS reliability:

  • SMS delivery rate. Seeing if your messages are delivered is easily tracked using a text marketing service.
  • SMS engagement rate. Due to compliance issues, you can’t track text message open rates like you can with email messages. However, by including links in your messages, you can track clicks to view engagement (and know that someone opened your message).

Text message reliability is all about the intention (was it delivered?) versus the result (did someone engage with it or take action?). It’s helpful to evaluate these variables with every marketing campaign or notification blast to ensure your audience receives and engages with your messages.

Improving SMS Reliability

What if you’re thinking, “Why are my text messages not delivering?” or “Why aren’t people interacting with my messages?” You can improve your text message reliability with various methods, which will help to increase SMS reception and improve your ROI.

Use an SMS Marketing Service

Sample text campaign reports view

Make your life easier with an SMS marketing service. EZ Texting provides all the bells and whistles to help your organization manage and reach your contacts. Here are a few EZ Texting features that can help you avoid text message failures:

  • Link shorteners that can be easily tracked and won’t be caught by spam filters
  • Short codes to enhance delivery throughput while increasing brand recognition
  • Local numbers that boost trust with carriers, making number blocking or filtering less of a risk
  • Contact management that allows you to easily view invalid phone numbers or contacts who haven’t opened messages in awhile
  • Analytics and reports to get insights on opt-ins and opt-outs and SMS delivery rates

These features can help your business or organization reach more people, increase engagement, and improve text message reliability. Learn more about how to improve ROI for SMS messages.

Send the Right Number of Messages at the Right Time

Another way to improve SMS reliability is to determine the right number of messages to send your audience to avoid being seen as “spammy.” While there’s no hard-and-fast rule for how many text messages to send, you can find the sweet spot based on your industry (like real estate versus ecommerce) or how you use SMS.

If your organization primarily uses SMS messaging to send alerts, HR updates, or appointment notifications, aim to only send messages at these appropriate times. If you’re a business that implements marketing campaigns via text, try to limit your texts to one per week. Be sure to track engagement to see if you should increase or decrease the amount you send.

On that note, sending messages at the right time is also important. Customers or employees don’t want to receive a text when they’re scrolling in bed at night, half asleep; instead, to increase their chances of opening your message, try only sending texts during business hours — and not on weekends.

Practice Customer Segmentation

In marketing, customer segmentation is your friend. By that, you should group your contacts by preferences, behaviors, and so on to send more personalized messages. People are likelier to open and engage with your text messages if they’re unique and targeted to their stage in the customer journey. Thankfully, we’ve got tips on how to write an effective text marketing message.

Customer segmentation also helps with SMS reliability. With text marketing services like EZ Texting, you can create permissions-based groups to easily view bounced numbers and contacts who have unsubscribed from your messages.


Using SMS in Your Industry

As the world recovers from COVID-19, it’s crucial to understand how your industry has changed and customers or audiences along with it. It’s more important than ever before to communicate and connect with others, and you can and should use SMS messages to help with that goal. That’s why improving text message reliability is essential. Learn more about text marketing and how it can help your business.

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