Think about the feeling that you get when you receive a spam phone call or text message. Its visceral, right? Our advice is to try to keep that feeling in mind when running a text message campaign for your health organization. Here are some tips for running an SMS campaign that will engage and most importantly, maintain and motivate your followers.
1. Work with local experts to ensure that your messages are appropriate, relevant and timely.
You cannot use a one size fits all message, even in campaigns tackling the same issues. Text messages should use the appropriate language and tone for a given audience, and be sure to address the subtleties of the issue in your particular population. For example, in their youth outreach campaign in Nicaragua, ChatSalud worked with a team of local experts in order to adapt their messages to the particular population and context they were working with.
2. Be clear about what you want recipients to do as a result of your texts.
Include a call to action in each text message. This could be a suggestion for leading a healthier lifestyle, a donation plea, or a lead to more information on a website or hotline. Bottom line is, you need to be sure you are clear about your goal and how it can be accomplished before even thinking about sending out a text.
3. Consider ways of rewarding subscribers for joining.
Commercial businesses use text messaging campaigns to promote products by offering discounts to subscribers. In one of their SMS campaigns, Julep, for example, got over 5,000 new mobile opt-ins by giving a 50% discount on one of their products. If you are able to distribute promotional materials like mugs or t-shirts for your organization, consider linking giveaways to an SMS campaign. You may also consider entering every new subscriber into a raffle, or by entering all existing subscribers into a monthly raffle. This will create interest and add value to the recipient.
4. Make it easy for your subscribers to interact with you.
Be sure that subscribers can respond to your messages with questions, input or feedback to keep them involved. You can get buy in for your campaign by providing the opportunity for subscribers to learn, act, or do immediately upon receiving your message. For example, you may want to allow subscribers to respond to your text in order to begin the process of enrollment in a program, or to find out where the closest participating clinic providing a certain service is. This will ensure that your campaign provides utility and that subscribers stay tuned.
Remember, your overall goal is to maintain interest and avoid drop outs in order to motivate action. Treat your subscriber like the valued client they are and you will see results!