Texting has become increasingly popular, not just for communication among individuals but also for business purposes. Businesses began using text messaging for promotional purposes, and today, it is used for a variety of other purposes. One such purpose is to send emergency text alerts.
Why SMS for text alerts?
The speed of texts is exceptional. This speed does not refer to the time it takes to send out an SMS but the time it takes for people to read texts. Statistics show that the SMS open rate stands at 98%. Not only that, but most texts are read within the first few minutes of being received. That is how fast SMS gets the message across. Let’s compare this with email. The open rate for email is approximately 20%. Furthermore, emails can sit unread for days. That’s how long it takes to get the message across, and to only 20% of the people that you’re trying to reach. Even with social media platforms, the average open rate is a few hours, as compared to SMS which takes minutes to reach the target audience.
The best time to use SMS in case of an accident is when you need to inform hundreds of people as soon as possible. Suppose there’s been a huge accident on the highway due to heavy fog and there is a huge traffic jam at the accident site. Most of your employees take that route to work and they may not have seen the news or heard about it. Instead of risking your employees being late to work, you can use mass text service to send out a text informing them of the location of the accident and advising them to take an alternate route. Better yet, you could even add a short link in your text message directing them to Google Maps where you’ve pinned the location of the accident and mark any alternate routes that they can take. According to statistics, 98% of your employees will read your text within minutes of receiving it – thus accounting for timely spread of information.
We all learnt what natural hazards were in our 4th Grade Social Sciences class. Earthquakes, storms, floods – they are all examples. You can’t stop a natural hazard from occurring but you can definitely take steps to avoid it. Suppose the weather forecast didn’t predict a storm coming towards the city. People are at work and it’s about 4:30 PM. Some might be leaving to go home but the government issues a warning not to go outside as the storm will get worse. Again, not everybody will have access to the TV or news channels. Government departments or business organisations can immediately text all citizens of the area to stay inside until the storm subsides. By warning your employees you could gain the reputation of being a responsible business and also gain the trust of your employees.
Text is the perfect way to send out time-sensitive information at a moment’s notice, especially if the concerned personnel is not responding to calls. Suppose the CEO of a company is in a very important meeting. He is receiving calls from his bank but he cannot take them at the moment. The bank then resorts to texting him that large sums of money have been wired from his account. While the CEO may not have been able to take the call, he can read the message instantly. This will notify him of the urgency of the situation so that he can take immediate action.
If you own an iPhone, you must have noticed that you receive a text with a code for two-factor authentification if your iCloud account is logged in from an unrecognised device. The same happens when you log in to your Facebook account from a new device (if you choose the high-security option). You will receive a notification informing you that your account has been logged in at x hours. Many SMS platforms are integrated with social media apps like Facebook so as to receive security notifications instantly. Thus, if someone is trying to log in to your account, you can change your password and increase account security asap.
Everyone loves free subscriptions. Netflix lets you use its app free for 30 days before charging you. However, sometimes (paid or unpaid) subscriptions can be so long that we forget about the dreaded end date. That’s why companies send out text reminders when subscriptions are ending. These emergency text alerts are useful because either you may not want to resubscribe and your card will automatically be charged, or you will not have access to whatever it is that you have subscribed to. Thus, to save you from this stress and hassle, companies notify you several days in advance via text.
As I mentioned in the example above, the occurrence of natural hazards cannot be avoided. First and foremost, it is the duty of the government to keep its citizens safe. Governments also have predicted data on when and where a natural hazard can occur. So suppose a tsunami is likely to hit Florida. The government department responsible can issue out a warning via text for citizens to evacuate the city timely. The department can also set up a 24-hour SMS hotline in case anyone needs help e.g. someone needs to be rescued after the tsunami occurs. Citizens can just text HELP as a keyword to a given shortcode and their location can automatically be tracked so that help can be sent. This is just one example of how essential text can be to save lives.
When there is a security breach, customers need to be informed. Suppose your home alarm goes off in the middle of the night and it is deactivated. Still, to be sure that it was you, security companies can text and confirm. You can either reply with a YES to confirm that there was no security breach in your home or NO in case there is someone in your house and you need help. In the worst of cases, if someone has broken into your house and you can’t make a call, you can surely text and get help.
Do you know how political campaigns have started raising funds via text? Well, so have NGOs. It’s a perfect way. Not only it is extremely cheap, but it is also convenient for both parties. To enhance the text they can attach eye-opening pictures through MMS which convince the user to donate to the cause. They can also add a link shortener to direct users to the details of the project that requires donations. NGOs can use text not only to ask for donations but also thank their donors (yes, SMS is so cheap you can send out multiple texts). Moreover, they can text their donors with frequent updates about where their money is being spent. Short links directing them to the NGOs website or social media accounts with live videos and pictures can be sent via text. This builds trust between the donor and organisation so that more donations are made in the long run. Oh, and SMS can also be integrated with wallet apps so that donors can make easy payments. Whether you intend to give a small payment or a large one, with just a few clicks you are good to go. An easy payment option will also convince users to donate as it takes up less of their time and effort.
I think this is by far the best use of SMS. Hospitals are institutions that can save lives and SMS can aid them in doing that. Every day, a small action can save or lose a life. If you put in the wrong IV, your patient will die. If you get a patient operated in time, he/she may survive. But where does SMS come in the picture? Suppose a patient just came in and he’s losing a lot of blood. His blood group is O+ which is a rare blood type so its difficult to arrange but the patient needs it asap or his life will be in danger. What hospitals can do beforehand is set up an account on an SMS platform. Here, they can create different groups e.g. Blood donors, Organ donors etc. They will upload all the information on these donors including their phone number. When such a patient comes in, all the hospital has to do is send out a text to these donors. It is likely that most of them will read the text within minutes or receiving it so someone can come forward in time. Similarly, when a person dies, certain organs that can be donated have a very short expiry date. They have to be transplanted within a matter of hours before they perish. Thus, in the same way, patients on transplant lists can be texted immediately if an organ has become available. This way, a hospital can be much more effective in its goal to save maximum lives.
Last but not least, businesses are the biggest users of emergency text alerts. Heck, a good marketer can make a sale sound like an emergency! I’m sure you’ve seen a number of those marketing texts, ‘Grab your favourite clothes before they run out!’. Apart from the examples mentioned above, businesses can use text alerts in almost all situations.
Choosing an SMS Platform
Some of the best SMS platforms in the US include ExpressText, EZ Texting and SlickText. Our top pick for you was ExpressText due to three main reasons. The first is cost. A marketer’s main goal is to minimize costs in order to maximize profits. ExpressText offers packages that are the same in size as its competitors but cost less. The second reason is convenience. ExpressText is one of the few platforms that have an app so you can easily access your account from your phone or desktop. It also provides help videos for every process on the platform and its users have repeatedly commented on the platform’s ease of use. The last reason is features. ExpressText provides a variety of features and keeps adding new and advanced features frequently to better cater to its users’ needs.
At the end of the day, it’s clear that SMS is the best platform to send emergency text alerts. With the statistics that support it, there is no faster way to receive information than SMS. Did you know that the average person checks their phone 85 times a day? Then how can one miss a text message! Whether you have a smartphone or not, you will be able to receive texts. Whether you have an active internet connection or not, you receive texts instantly. Thus, opt for the wise option and go with text messaging to convey time-sensitive information.