How not to become SPAM


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No matter how talented or expert you think you are at public health education, the reality is, mobile message campaigns are only as good as your audience thinks they are. Your mobile message campaign might have excellent data, sources, and facts, but no one is going to listen unless you present your standpoint in a compelling way. Think of a message campaign like trying to conquer a Tinder match. You have to be ultra selective with your words and presentation; one wrong move and you might meet the ultimate fate of “unmatch” or “unsubscribe.”  Follow these easy tips to become a smooth mobile messenger:

  1. Overanalyze. Do what some of my girlfriends do. Some of my friends will forward her Tinder conversations to our circle of friends asking for advice on what to say next. We dutifully pick it apart and give recommendations on how to word a response. This is probably a little borderline crazy within the context of dating but may be sound advice for a professional trying to get a message across. The ultimate goal is to not “turn off” your audience so in this case, overanalyzing and getting feedback from others is a positive.
  2. Use emojis. Stop fighting the emoji. No, they are not grammatically correct, nor are they are not professional, but whether you like it our not they are becoming a valid part of mainstream communication, especially in Asian cultures. There is not a single smart phone keypad that doesn’t contain emojis on it anymore. In fact, the emoji is being adopted at a faster rate than any other language in history.
  3. Be funny. This is a surefire way to win over an audience. Think of the most memorable Superbowl advertising campaigns you’ve ever seen (think Etrade baby), no one ever got sick of those commercials and if you incorporate humor into your campaign there’s also less likelihood your reader will experience message “fatigue.”


4. Play it cool. Choose your messages wisely. Do not text multiple times a day. Do not send 10 texts for every 1 text your audience responds to. Do not text during your audience’s busy hours, whether it be school or work or Saturday night when people usually have plans. What might seem like enthusiasm from your end may soon come across as desperation and cheapen your message.


So keep these tips in mind and may you be on your way to a happy, successful message campaign!


4 thoughts on “How not to become SPAM

  1. I love the title! Interesting topic and great use of graphics. I have never heard of Tinder match (dating ?) and I am not sure how that compares with Snapchat or Instagram. If this is a dating site, I can understand your points of how not to be deemed “spam” and still engaged. How is unsubscribing different than blocking? Some of these points could be applied to a public health campaign that targets a younger audience (emojis, humor, volume of messages sent). Volume of messages that one entity sends over various formats is enough for me to want to unsubscribe regardless if I find the topic useful. Over-analysis and asking how someone should interpret something before responding are dating and social media concerns.

    The public health application would have been clearer if examples of your points could have been tied into PH campaigns or references for them.

  2. Another effective title from one of our group members. It’s interesting and it draws me in. I thought your opening statement “mobile campaigns are only as good as your audience thinks they are” is a powerful statement and carries a lot of weight. When doing any sort of campaign I think you have to analyze your audience first. You can’t possibly hope to reach your audience if you don’t first consider their needs and what they are interested in.

  3. In addition to your important points how not to become spam, I would like to add a few below:

    1. Keep messages short and to the point – create a short effective message within limit of a text message.
    2. Consider the various differences among smartphones, such as operating systems, navigation, and mobile screen sizes, it is advisable to send a test message before sending out text campaign to the target audience.
    3. To help with “spam” problem, option for opt-out should be always provided. Perhaps, campaign contacts list should contain information about preferred lines of communication for participants. One of America’s favorite pizza chains, Papa John’s, was accused of sending 500,000 SMS messages to its consumers without their permission. Their direct marketing campaign violated state and federal law. Papa John’s was ultimately faced with a $250 million class action lawsuit.
    In another example, Ford’s SMS marketing campaign sent to recipients who had opted-in to SMS marketing from the company, was accused of spamming. Recipients claimed to receive multiple text messages that were not only vague, but also lacked a call-to-action. Due to consumers being unable to learn more about Ford’s products and receiving multiple pointless SMS messages, consumers began ignoring the messages.
    In other words, “play cool”, respect your customer, and value quality over quantity. Good reputation does matter and as practice shows, spam will be not tolerated.
    Thank you for bringing-up this important topic!

  4. Great blog post and interesting topic to expand upon! I loved the analogy to Tinder and dating because text message campaign and frankly any other communications campaign, is in a sense, a relationship. From a public health professional stance, we need to balance the fine line between information overload and “desperation”. My favorite tips that you provided were overanalyze and play it cool. I think your message around getting feedback and input on messaging is so important. In a text you have only so many words and it is crucial to make them count. You also need to be careful that the message you are sending and the way it can come across are thoughtfully put together. First impressions count and you definitely don’t want to be off-putting. I think you raised an excellent point in this tip that can often be overlooked because text messages can seem so harmless. I also liked the tip “play it cool”. The last thing anyone wants is to be constantly bombarded with text messages they signed up for, let alone friends. It can be overhwhelming and while you can’t “unsubscribe” a friend that easily, you sure can unsubscribe from an text campaign with four simple letters, “S-T-O-P”!

    The key message that I think you hit the nail on the head is that any text message campaign needs to be well thought out and balanced, just like any other communications. While it is so easy to hit send on a text, it’s better to think twice about what is being said, how its being said, and how frequently.

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