Three Ways to Use Texting In Your Association’s Communications

Texting is immediate, convenient, and ubiquitous, making it especially useful for member communications. Is your organization taking advantage? Use these tips to engage members through text.

Texting is accessible, personal, and low-effort for members—and it has a much higher response rate compared with email, making it a strong touchpoint for brand connection. And yet, texting might not come to mind when thinking of member communications strategies, as it might be viewed as too informal.

But there’s a good chance your members will have had experience with using text messages for more than just personal communications. According to a Text Request report, 80 percent of professionals currently use texting for business purposes, and nearly 70 percent of employees think texting should be used for interoffice communication. Plus, with a text, you’re not competing with the hundreds of other emails or social media notifications that your recipients get throughout the day.

Consider these tips as you begin using text messages for member communications.

Setting Up Your SMS System

Setting up a mass texting system starts with finding the right Short Message Service (SMS) platforms, such as TextMagic or SimpleTexting, which provide two-way communication capabilities, feature personalization tags, let you schedule messages, and integrate with other applications so you can automate announcements such as registration reminders.

There are a few SMS compliance guidelines to think about as you put your strategy together: Remember to ask for your members’ permission before texting them, give them the option to opt out of SMS messages once you reach out to them, and keep an eye on the frequency of your messages. Once you’ve set your system up, consider how you can use the advantages of texting to engage and inform members.

Deliver Important Information in Real Time

Given its immediacy and high open rates, one advantage of SMS communication is that it’s an efficient way to get the word out on time-sensitive member information such as dues deadlines, volunteer opportunities, reminders to register for upcoming events, and last-minute scheduling changes. Did you recently distribute your quarterly member survey? Send a text with a link to the survey and a call to action that encourages participation.

With associations’ focus on advocacy and public policy, texting can also be particularly valuable when it comes to mobilizing members to take action quickly, from attending a rally to voting on policy.

Send Personalized Messages

Another benefit of SMS communication is that it naturally feels more personal, and associations can lean into that feeling. For example, happy birthday texts or congratulatory texts about a recipient’s recent awards and accomplishments will feel more personal than an email, further connecting members to your organization.

You can use your SMS platform to segment your members and add personalization tags to messages to deliver these targeted texts to your members.

Help Members Wherever, Whenever

Set up an SMS chatbot and you’ll have given members a convenient way to get help from your association on the spot, whether or not they’re in front of a computer or can make a phone call. Plus, a chatbot takes some of the pressure off of your member services team who might be fielding a constant stream of questions and comments.

You can program your chatbot to create automated responses to frequently asked questions, direct members to links or videos with more information, and forward messages to your member services team when a member wants to speak with a real person. Never done this before? Certain platforms let you program chatbots without any coding required.

(Sitthiphong/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!