April 30, 2018   |   Vol. 17   |   Issue 4
By DoriAnn Gedris, CAE, MGI Senior Account Director

Does Texting have a Place in the Marketing Mix
for Associations and Nonprofits? Increase Value and Engagement

I was abruptly woken up at 4:57 am by a text from VRE (Virginia Railway Express). The text indicated there would be train delays of 10-20 minutes due to flash flood warnings. Since I no longer take the train, I dismissed the text and luckily was able to get another 30 minutes of sleep before my alarm went off.

As I headed out the door with my coffee in one hand and my umbrella in the other, I was prepared for a little longer commute due to the rain, but nothing prepared me for what I encountered. I turned on the radio to my go-to news station and heard the dreaded words … 95N Express Lanes closed due to flooding … all traffic diverted to the regular lanes. All of a sudden my commute was going to get a lot longer. By this point I was already committed to my route, and so I sat and slowly crept along … now really wishing I did not drive a stick shift.

With over two hours in the car, I had some time …. a lot of time. I recalled that text message from VRE … why did I not pay more attention? Does EZPass have a texting system to alert drivers of road closures or other issues? They do offer a text notification for low balances, but they could do more. EZPass certainly knows my travel patterns and regular use of the 95 express lanes. They have my email address, they have signage, they have multiple channels to ask me to opt in to text message alerts … and yes I would. Based on data they have, EZPass could create a texting program that would be valuable to me. And I could have chosen an alternative way to work and saved myself time, money, and aggravation.

Do you have the capabilities to save your members time and money while increasing value and engagement? Consumer brands are paving the way for text messaging … from Wegmans and PetSmart to the Gap and United Airlines, texting is everywhere. What have these brands determined? Texting is an effective marketing channel and even more so when combined with other marketing efforts. According to CTIA nearly 2.2 trillion text messages are sent each year in the United States. And 99% of text messages are read within the first five minutes. Compare that figure to your email open rates.

If you want your association or nonprofit to stand out and be differentiated in a competitive market place, developing and implementing a SMS and MMS strategy is the first step. From renewal reminders, VIP offers, press announcements, and mobile couponing to deadline/early bird announcements, study tips, and continuing education credit hour summaries, text messages are a powerful marketing channel.

SMS is not for the faint of heart, and cannot be adopted and implemented on a whim. Success of the program is dependent on a thoughtful opt-in strategy with a solid plan for list growth. At the same time, messages need to be carefully developed and managed to limit list churn. Personalized texts can be utilized to increase value on an individual level. And texts can create a two-way dialogue unlike other channels.

I have been in your shoes and can hear the questions and reasons not to … my AMS won’t allow me to be integrated and send texts? How can I build a subscriber list? How do I measure the effectiveness of a SMS campaign? And what is the ROI?

Your members are consumers and are receiving texts every day, if not from you then someone else. Differentiate your organization and provide value to your members.

Are you ready to take the next step? Contact John Sample, Senior Relationship Director at 703-706-0346, email JSample@marketinggeneral.com, or text mgiinfo to 31996 for more information and to opt-in to receive text communications from MGI.

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