Effective Communication is Key to Delivering Value
Your Chamber of Commerce delivers value to its membership in many different ways. All of them rely heavily on you being able to reach your audience effectively.
If you can’t reach your audience, you can’t provide value. If you can’t provide value, then your members are not reaping all the benefits from their memberships. And if they’re not, well… they’re going to miss out on some critical information and some fantastic opportunities. Worst case scenario is that they don’t renew their memberships as a result. No matter how you slice it, no one wins.
In 2018 and beyond, the most effective, forward thinking communication strategies make use of a number of different channels.
With that said, here are 8 reasons why using a mass texting service should be one of them…
1. Your Current Communication Channels Don’t Cut It!
Today, you probably rely heavily on email and social media to reach your audience.
And while both offer value, you’re only connecting with a small percentage of your audience this way…
- Email: Still works very well for longer communications, but “open rates” vary considerably. If you’re getting 40% open rates with your Chamber newsletters, you’re doing well. However, even members who open your emails miss critical information. That’s because Chamber newsletters, by the very nature of the amount of content they need to contain, tend to be long and heavy on the graphics. So members skim the content, rather than read every word.
- Social media: While this medium does offer some value, your ability to reach your audience without paying to do so continues to decline. For example, in early 2018, Facebook announced changes to its newsfeed, indicating it would show more content from friends, and less content from publishers and brands. Since posts can only come from 3 places – friends, businesses and brands, and ads – this suggests “organic reach” is the only place to cut back.With organic reach already hovering around 2-6% (between 2-6% of your audience could expect to have your updates appear on their newsfeeds), this is terrible news for any business or organization looking to broadcast their message through social media. And it’s not like Facebook is the only problem; other social media platforms present their own brand of problems; on Twitter for instance, data shows that 72% of tweets are ignored.
That leaves a significant percentage of your audience who are simply not being exposed to your messages.
2. Everybody Texts
Text messaging is a simple, un-intimidating technology that even your grandmother can use comfortably. It works on phones long considered obsolete, doesn’t require a smartphone, Internet data, or the installation of any apps or programs.
As a result, almost everybody texts. The latest numbers from *Pew Research look like this…
- 18-29 years of age: 100% of people text
- 30-49 years of age: 98% of people text
- Over 50 years of age: 90% of people text (including my Mom, who’s 75!)
Technology based communication channels only work if they have wide-spread adoption and appeal.
That’s certainly the case with texting.
In other words, no one is going to be unable to receive your messages, should you deliver them in this format.
(*Pew Data is U.S. data; Canadian data will be similar, perhaps slightly less).
3. Text Messages Deliver a Distilled, Concise Message
How long does it take a member to read through your newsletter from top to bottom?
Not skimming. Reading.
5 minutes? 10? 20?
What if they’re reading it on their phones?
How long does it take to read a text message?
3 seconds? Maybe 5? 7, if you’re really slow.
The point is in an exceedingly hectic world, people appreciate fast, efficient communication that can be consumed in seconds.
Text messaging is the ideal channel for such communications!
4. 95-99% of Text Messages are Opened and Read
It’s an astounding statistic; 95-99% of all text messages are opened and read… most within 3 minutes.
Compare that the industry average open rate for email newsletters (22-27%) or your “reach” on Facebook (between 2-6% before Facebook rolled out the recent changes to its algorithm), and the power of text becomes more and more evident.
When you have an important message that can’t be missed, you need to send it via text message.
5. Text Messages Bypass Personal Filters
If you get a phone call on your cell phone from a number you don’t recognize, what do you do?
If you’re like most people, you let it go to voicemail.
After all, if the caller has something important to say, she’ll leave a message. If it’s important to you, you’ll return it… if you remember to check it at all.
But if you get a text message, what do you do?
You read it.
Because the fact that the message has arrived as a text identifies the sender as being part of your social circle.
Text messages are of the highest priority to you because they always originate from someone with whom you have a relationship.
This is in part why text messages have such a HUGE open rate.
6. A Mass Texting Service Provides Added Value to a Chamber Membership
Advertising that you have the ability to provide instant notifications for important chamber events like mingles, networking opportunities and special events so that they are never missed, provides your members with an additional benefit and is a “value add” for maintaining (or selling) a membership in your chamber.
7. Bulk Messaging is Flexible and Easily Managed
A well-designed bulk messaging service is simple and easy to use with a minimal learning curve. You can login, create your message and send it in less than 60 seconds. Or schedule your messages in advance. Whatever you like.
8. Reach Members “On the Go.”
Text messages reach your members wherever the are, within seconds of your broadcast. Not all your members check emails or social media on their phones, and some may not even have internet data. So messages sent on these channels may not be seen for a day or so. Text messages however, will reach them wherever they are… within moments of your broadcast.
Mass Texting for Your Chamber of Commerce: Frequently Asked Questions
For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the most common questions about using a Mass Texting Service for your Chamber of Commerce…
Q. Do I need my members’ permission before I can start sending them SMS messages?
A. In the U.S., yes. In Canada, you do not. Under CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) you have what’s called “implied consent” to message them, and do not need to obtain official consent to do so (contact us to discuss if you have questions). Of course, your members must maintain the ability to “unsubscribe” from your notifications. Since all our message templates include “opt out” information as required by law, this is always an option to them.
Q. Won’t my membership find these messages intrusive and annoying?
A. That’s not what our clients tell us. Chances are they’ll appreciate the messages, and see them as an “added value” of their membership in the chamber. Of course, if you message them 6 times a day, then all bets are off. Text messaging should only be used sparingly, to communicate important, time sensitive messages.
Q. Aren’t text messages short? What can I possibly say in one?
A. Text messages are short… anywhere between 160-480 characters on the Local Text Marketers’ system. However, text messages should only be used to send short, important messages. For example…
- “Don’t forget the Chamber mingle tonight from 5-7 at Cheers!”
- “To register for the free chamber business seminar this Thursday, call us at 905-555-5555”
- “Don’t miss today’s email newsletter, it contains vital information about your membership!”
- “Join us for breakfast with your MP/Congressman this Thursday at 7 am. Details here; linktoyourchamber.com”
They are not intended to be a replacement for your newsletter.
Q. Who manages my chamber of commerce account?
A. You do. It super simple to do and offers the greatest flexibility for messaging.
Q. Why wouldn’t we use a free app instead?
A. Apps offload the cost of your messaging onto your members. Consider what has to happen for successful app-based communication. Your members need to…
- Be aware of the app, which means you’ll need devote significant resources to telling them about it.
- Find and install the app.
- Agree to surrender a certain amount of privacy to use it.
- Be willing to allot some of their monthly data allowance to communication with you.
- Be willing to sacrifice some of the performance and battery life on their phones.
- Have a smart phone and data plan.
And of course, they need to have data or regular WiFi access to use the app. Not everyone does, not even today.
Text messaging, of course, doesn’t require any of this!
So What’s the Next Step?
Contact us. Either via email here, or call 877 403 2402.
We’ll have a friendly chat about a suitable solution for your chamber, bang around some ideas, and even schedule a demo of our service.
Of course, chatting with us doesn’t obligate to anything. We’re friendly, happy to help and don’t believe in high pressure sales tactics.
Look forward to talking with you soon!