COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way businesses operate. Every day, there seems to be a new mandate, altering business hours or customer capacity.
Most businesses use social media and messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to relay important COVID-19 information. However, while these platforms effectively target specific audiences, they aren’t as direct as texting customers on their cell phones.
Whether you’re a healthcare facility or a business letting your customers know you’re back open, texting is a great way to reach consumers.
Why Use Business Text Messaging During COVID-19?
Year after year, text messaging continues to take the reins as the leading communication channel, with 96% of messages being opened within the first 3 minutes. In addition, businesses are using SMS to market to their customers, and more recently, help inform about COVID-19.
Text messaging is a big part of our lives, and it’s how most of us communicate with our friends, family, and coworkers – the people we care about the most. Our devices accompany us from the moment we wake up in the morning, and we rely on them for daily tasks such as news, work-related information, weather, and other information.
COVID-19 is a volatile beast that continues to disrupt our personal and professional lives daily. But, as test results are returned, and new people are exposed, text messaging services like Cloud Contact provide businesses with a dependable way to disseminate timely information.
SMS marketing is more convenient than traditional marketing because it allows you to reach many people at once. As a result, text messaging is an effective marketing strategy to reach your target audience in real-time when needed. Furthermore, most people keep their phones nearby so that you can reach them quickly and easily.
According to statistics, more than 90% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes. Moreover, 45% of SMS campaigns result in a triumphant return on investment.
Cell phones are the most widely used form of communication in the world. According to new GSMA Intelligence data, there are approximately 5.27 billion unique mobile phone users globally. Moreover, the total number of individual mobile users worldwide increased by 117 million in just the last 12 months.
Mobile users are on the rise, with unique numbers increasing at a rate of 2.3% each year. Furthermore, the number of people switching from feature phones to smartphones increased significantly last year.
Unlike email, which is routed through a central location, text messages are delivered directly to your customer’s mobile phone, making them quite personal. Furthermore, due to the pervasiveness of mobile phones, SMS messages are delivered directly to the client’s hands.
Ensure that each message is unique, addressing each individual by their first name to show that you put the time into crafting your message.
Best Practices for COVID-19 SMS Marketing
You can employ several techniques to make the most out of your SMS campaigns. Discover our best practices in the section below:
Many organizations have difficulty keeping up with their messaging strategy, and it’s because they don’t maintain a consistent schedule. Businesses are worried that they will spam their customers and annoy them; however, this rarely happens.
Remember, your customers opted-in to receive text messages from your business; therefore, they expect to hear from you. Frequent messages will ensure that customers don’t forget who is texting them.
After you’ve sent your SMS campaign to your list of contacts, ensure that you’re following up with them right away. Quick responses will build trust and ensure that your people receive the correct information at precisely the right time.
If you’re using text to spread the word about COVID-19, you should think about your target audience. For example, people in distant geographic regions are unlikely to be interested in receiving COVID-related information about your area.
Make sure to segment your lists based on region to avoid irritating your customers.
Short and concise
Don’t take advantage of the fact that your users have expressed an interest in hearing from you. Instead, be clever, engaging, and brief when sending text marketing messages.
Provide valuable information that leaves your subscribers wanting more. You risk losing subscribers and your contact list if you don’t strike the right balance.
Every successful marketing strategy includes an effective way to track the success of your campaigns. Track link clicks with Google Analytics UTM parameters to see how people interact with your texts.
After you’ve gathered some data, evaluate your messaging and link placement in future campaigns until you’ve found the best solution.
COVID-19 SMS Messaging Mistakes
While text messaging is an effective way to facilitate on-time information to the right people, you might also want to avoid some of these common mistakes.
You might be able to send emails to people without their permission, but SMS is a whole different can of worms. Various laws and regulations enacted under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 prohibit you from sending text marketing campaigns without the person’s consent.
Furthermore, receiving unsolicited text messages is more likely to irritate people than to raise brand awareness.
Before you begin sending out mass messages, double-check that you have the necessary permissions from the end-user. Using a keyword opt-in is the easiest way to get consent.
You can find more information about the ordinances governed by the TCPA here.
Sending too many messages
Too many messages can irritate your COVID-19 subscribers and cause them to stop engaging with your messages. Messages sent seldomly, on the other hand, will continue to capture the user’s attention.
Before users opt-in, make sure you specify what types of messages you intend to send and how frequently. Your subscribers will know exactly what to expect if you state the intended messaging cycle.
Texting sensitive information
Don’t send sensitive health information over text messages. If you’re a healthcare provider or somebody who facilitates patient data, make sure the information is only made available through a protected link.
This entails including a link in the text message that directs the user to a login portal where, after entering their credentials, they can access their health information.
Texting the wrong phone number
People frequently change their phone numbers, resulting in numbers that are no longer active or owned by someone else. As a result, you should make sure that your phone numbers are up to date.
You can accomplish this by sending a campaign to ask your subscribers if they still want to receive messages from your company. Additionally, identify the numbers that don’t get delivered and remove them from your contact list.
Not identifying yourself
COVID-19 is a sensitive topic for many people. If you don’t identify your company in your texts, you may receive negative responses. In light of the preceding, make every effort to identify who is sending the messages to avoid confusion.
5 Ways To Use COVID-19 Messaging
COVID-19 is prevalent in nearly every aspect of our businesses. Here are a few examples of how texting can be used to facilitate COVID-related information.
1. Hours of operation
Because of the increase in COVID-19 cases, business hours are unpredictable. However, you can use text messaging to communicate information about your business hours so that your customers know exactly which hours they can visit your location.
Help raise awareness about COVID cases in the area and encourage proper hygiene practices such as hand washing and wearing a mask.
Quickly determine who was exposed to COVID-19 without drawing attention to employees on the job.
4. Shift Coverage
Once you’ve determined which employees were exposed, send out a text message asking for shift covers as soon as possible.
Encourage the use of proper hygiene practices such as hand washing and the use of a mask. Frequent reminders will help to keep employees healthy and reduce the number of COVID cases at your establishment.
SMS marketing is a tried and true way to reach people no matter what the scenario is. Because SMS is the primary means of communication for people worldwide, we should leverage text marketing for business communication to enforce proper hygiene and promote tips to help people lead healthy and happy lives during the ongoing pandemic.
Try SMS for free on CCAI
Grow your traffic, convert leads, and improve ROI.