Discovering new ways to communicate with supporters is essential for all nonprofits in today’s ever-shifting digital era. Identifying new and effective communication channels can help your nonprofit organization increase its reach.
Text message marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. Research shows that 90 percent of text messages are opened within three minutes, and 99 percent of them are opened within 20 minutes. It’s a spam-free, direct channel. Plus, text messages have a 99 percent open rate compared to email, which has a 20 percent open rate. While emails can sit unopened for hours or are never read, 78 percent of consumers agree that SMS is the fastest way to reach them.
The effectiveness of text message marketing is unquestionable. It’s no wonder that top nonprofit organizations such as The Humane Society of the United States, Conservation International, and the American Red Cross use text message marketing as part of their marketing strategy to engage supporters and provide value.
In this blog post, we share how you can take your nonprofit communications strategy to the next level by amplifying your message so more people can hear it, respond, and contribute to your mission.
Choose an Easy-to-Recall Short Code
Before we dive in, here’s a quick review of short codes for those unfamiliar with the term.
Many types of brands and organizations use a short code (a five- or six-digit phone number) to communicate with existing and prospective customers and subscribers. Unlike standard 10-digit mobile phone numbers, SMS short codes are half the length and are much easier to read and remember.
There are four types of short codes––vanity short codes, random or non-vanity short codes, shared short codes, and dedicated short codes.
A vanity short code is specifically selected by a brand and has aesthetic appeal. That is, this short code may have repeating or consecutive numbers such as 007007, 411411, or 12345. Vanity short codes can also have numbers that spell something when you look at a mobile phone’s keypad. Many brands select vanity short codes because they’re easier for consumers to remember when glancing at an advertisement. A vanity short code costs $1,000 per month to lease.
On the other hand, a non-vanity short code, also known as a random or generic short code, is a randomly generated combination of numbers. As you might have guessed, the monthly cost of a random short code is much lower than the cost of a vanity short code, although it can be harder for supporters to remember. A non-vanity short code costs $500 for a month to lease.
A shared short code is a single SMS short code used and paid for by many brands. For example, if someone subscribes to Goodwill’s and PETA’s text message marketing campaigns, and both campaigns use the same shared short code, the subscriber will receive both organizations’ text messages from the same phone number.
A dedicated short code, as the name implies, is used and paid for by a single brand. The benefit of a dedicated short code is that you are in total control of the dedicated short code, and aren’t at risk of being shut down if another brand uses it incorrectly.
When choosing a short code, one important thing to keep in mind, regardless of the advantages and disadvantages of each type, is to choose a short code that’s easy to recall. A memorable short code will help supporters remember you and increase your brand exposure.
Choose Compelling Imagery
When creating a text message marketing campaign, an organization can send two types of text messages, SMS and MMS. SMS messages are text-only messages with a 160-characters limit, and they can include emojis and links. MMS messages can include media content such as eye-catching images, GIFs, audio files, QR codes, videos, and a subject line. And with Tatango’s MMS marketing functionality, a single message can include up to 5,000 characters.
Use compelling images to make your SMS messages draw your recipients in. Data shows that MMS messages increase engagement by 300 percent compared to text-only messages. Nonprofit supporters are benevolent and passionate people who want to help. Captivating messages with heart-stirring imagery will grab your subscribers’ attention and invite them to act. For example, The Humane Society regularly features photos of animals in its MMS messages in order to capture the hearts of animal lovers.
Choose an Easy-to-Recall Keyword
Don’t underestimate the power of your keyword. Many brands aren’t aware of how beneficial an easy-to-recall keyword really is. Selecting the right keyword can significantly increase the number of subscribers who engage with your organization and have a massive positive impact on your campaign’s success and your organization’s exposure.
At Tatango, we recommend choosing a keyword that’s relevant to your nonprofit or your campaign. For example, if your nonprofit’s name is Save our Seas, you can start your search by looking for keywords like “OCEANS”, “SEAS”, or “SAVE”.
The main point to keep in mind when selecting your keyword is to make it easy to remember and keep it simple and short. Avoid complex characters, multiple words, or terms that autocorrect might automatically change—all of these can reduce the number of people who opt in.
Once you’ve selected your keyword, promote it everywhere—your website, signage, advertisements, flyers. Everywhere!
Feature Hot-Button Issues
Nonprofit organizations can benefit from text message marketing because it allows them to engage with their supporters effectively. Many nonprofit campaigns are time-sensitive, and it’s crucial to create a sense of urgency in your messages to supporters and other audiences you’re trying to reach. By featuring important hot-button issues, you capture subscriber attention and inspire them to act and share your message.
One of the best ways to amplify your message is by getting supporters to share your content. And what a better way to achieve this than by incentivizing them to do it. People like to feel like they’re part of something special, impactful, and unique. Invite your subscribers to interact with your nonprofit and let them know that you value their opinions. Reward supporters for sharing your cause with others. Some ideas for incentivized sharing are:
- Provide swag like bumper stickers, decals, or t-shirts.
- Let supporters vote for the image you’ll use in a major campaign.
- Match support donations up to a certain percentage.
- Do drawings for special VIP events for donors
Amplify Nonprofit Messaging With Tatango!
Text message marketing is one of the most effective ways to amplify your message, gain supporters who are passionate about your cause, and build loyal relationships with them. Talk to one of our nonprofit SMS marketing experts to learn how Tatango can help your organization reach more people who will stand with, support, and share your cause.