Text Message (SMS) Best Practices
What is Text Message/SMS Marketing?
SMS (Short Message Service) Marketing is a technique that uses text messaging to communicate with leads and patients directly and is an important part of your digital marketing toolbox. SMS and email marketing are complementary and can be used in tandem to generate a higher response rate than when used individually.
Why is it valuable?
- Text messages have an extremely high open rate. Over 95% of SMS messages received are opened and read, compared to emails that have the average open rate of about 20%.
- 90% of all text messages are read within 3 seconds.
- We recommend using Text Message as the secondary send option on NPS, Review, and Reactivation workflows. Note: Because the overall number of messages being sent increases, your response rate may decrease. However, your total count of responses should increase.
- When used as a secondary notification, the text message will be sent only if there was not an email address available for the contact, or if the email address listed for that contact was not valid. At that point, we will send a text message if the contact has a mobile number listed in the mobile number field in the EMR.
- We do not recommend using text messages to communicate educational information at this time.
- We also recommend testing out using Text Message as the secondary message option on lead-specific workflows.
- Personalization: Personalize the text message you are sending out. Address the patients by their first name, noting which location/facility they are being seen at, and only send high-value content. Customizing the message to the patient, like with email, will gather you better results.
- Language and Length: There is a recommended limit of 150 characters, so you’ll need to be creative about length and composition. However, you should not rely on shortened words or acronyms. You should also make sure your text voice is still in alignment with your brand voice.You’ll be notified if you exceed the allotted character count. However, since most people have smartphones, the text typically won’t appear as two separate messages.
- Purpose: With the functionality of texting, text content should not be sent just because you can. There should be a point and driven value behind the text, i.e. the NPS/Review Campaign and Reactivation content. Less is more.
- Unsubscribe: If the contact does not want to receive text messages from Reach, they can text “stop” and they will be automatically unsubscribed. Texting anything else, like “no”, will generate the following message.
The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) requires express written consent in order to send marketing messages to an individual’s cellphone. When creating an opt-in form, you should include the following information:
- SMS Campaign Purpose: Let your patients know what they’re signing up for.
- Message Frequency: Include the approximate number of messages the customer should expect to receive in a given week or month. This will prevent any unexpected or intrusive texts.
- Message and Data Rates: While unlimited texting has become more common, some users may have to pay a small fee to receive text messages. You must inform your patients that these charges may be incurred if they choose to opt-in.
- Terms and Conditions: List all the terms and conditions in full, or provide a link nearby.
- Opt-out Instructions: These should be included in bold type. For the Reach platform, users should text “stop” to be automatically removed.