Community organizations and service providers can quickly and cost-effectively communicate with their members and customers via SMS. Text messages are immediate, direct, and very personal–and therefore have high open rates. This makes text marketing ideal for sending urgent notices and time-sensitive reminders. Here are a few examples of how text messaging can be used effectively by service providers.
Health care is an ideal industry for using text messaging. With today’s busy lifestyles, patients need (and want) reminders for their appointments and prescription refills, as well as notices for things like their test results being ready for pick up.
Using SMS can help health care institutions and practitioners reduce no-show rates–and possibly also reduce overhead telephony costs. TextBoard offers a unique staggered text messaging feature, which lets you contact your subscribers based on when they joined your list — so you can easily and automatically send individual 3-month (or 6-month or yearly, etc.) reminders for your patients to make their next appointment.
You can also share important health-related tips and information with your mobile subscribers, such as a warning when the pollen count is very high or it’s flu shot season again. This not only creates a more informed patient, it also helps maintain and strengthen your relationship to him or her.
One final example for health care is the use of SMS to strengthen support groups (e.g., a quit smoking support group). You can send motivational texts at critical times for each member, using the staggered messaging approach described above (e.g., send a daily support message for the first two weeks, then monthly for a few months, etc. The messages can be customized for each period so they’re most relevant to the member).
Schools and educational providers can also use text messaging efficiently and effectively. School closings notifications, for example, sent directly to parents’ cell phones, are welcome messages that help parents plan for these often unforeseen events. They can reduce the frustration for parents of having to wait for or track down this kind of critical information.
Reminders of events like parent-teacher conferences, fundraising drives, tuition due dates, and more can also be communicated with SMS.
Community and Emergency Services
Because of its immediacy and viral sharing nature, SMS messaging can be very effective in helping community and emergency services get the message out. Messages can be sent at scale to inform community members of weather-related emergencies, for example, or less urgent messages, such as the deadline approaching to apply for a summer pool pass.
Importantly, SMS can also provide an easy way for disabled (e.g., deaf or speech impaired) residents to request emergency services help.
Government & Charitable Institutions
Both charitable institutions and political candidates and agencies depend on their supporters. Text messaging offers a modern way for both types of organizations to reach and motivate their constituents or donors.
A fundraising campaign, for example, can use text messaging to notify subscribers of upcoming events, as well as developments on important issues. SMS can also be used as a donation gateway.
Text messages’ immediacy and almost universal access also make them a critical component during key events. During a live broadcast with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for example, viewers could text “PM” to the station to ask questions of him directly, increasing audience participation.
The high viral nature of SMS also makes it ideal for these types of organizations. A Pew survey of the 2010 mid-term elections, for example, found that 1 out of 10 adults sent election-related text messages to their friends during the election, and 1% contributed to a party/candidate via text. As mobile continues to grow, we expect SMS as a vehicle for social and political change to grow even more.
In the real estate industry, timing is critical. Realtors and agents can send subscribers real time updates on property listings via SMS. Text messages can also direct subscribers to a property listing site (e.g., “20 new homes for sale in your town here”) or notify them of important real estate news (“30 year mortgages reach new lows”) to help potential buyers and sellers. Using SMS can also be a selling point for agents–convincing new owners to list with you because of your unique and effective use of text messaging to market their properties.
SMS is a great tool for sending weather-related or seasonal messages, which correlate very well to travel and hospitality marketing campaigns. When snow suddenly hits a region for several days, you can shoot off a quick last-minute-to-the-Bahamas SMS offer.
Security alerts, travel warnings, service delays and more are the kinds of immediate messages that travelers want.
Other/General Service Providers
In general, SMS is great for all kinds of service providers. You can send scheduled appointment or service reminders, notify customers of planned or unplanned service interruptions, and provide service information on demand. One hair salon cut their 30% no-show rate for appointments almost completely using SMS messaging, proving that if your use of SMS serves a purpose for your subscribers, everyone benefits.