Call To Action: Effective Strategies for Alerting Clients about Your Text Service

The call to action is what your clients need to text in order to contact your agency. A text call to action is similar to posting your phone number. So, when you go live, you can update your website with a call to action banner.

Most agencies we work with will have texting capacity before their community knows it. Texting is the most common communication channel for Americans under 55, more than voice calls and email. So, how do you reach this rapidly growing group? How do you build up your web presence so that members of the community know you can receive text messages from them? Here are a few simple and effective tips!

TIP #1:  Add your call to action to every page of your website. One way to make sure would be to put it in the footer or header, or anywhere that is prominent and highly visible and viewable.

Tip #2: Keep it simple. The call to action has two parts, the keyword and the short code.  For example, text DEMO to 898211 where "DEMO" is the keyword and 898211, the short code.  The keyword can have quotations or not - it doesn't matter. The best method is all uppercase, no quotations. You can also highlight the keyword and short code. When you post your phone number, it's just that - a phone number to call.  

Tip #3: Make it clickable. Same as click to call, a click to text link will autofill the short code in their text application, thus making it easier to access services.  With 80% of web browsing happening on smart phones, there's a good chance they're on their mobile phone when the visit your website. If you're not on a texting device, you'll get an error. So, be mindful of this. 

Tip #4:  A visual aide can also be helpful. A simple graphic that shows individuals texting can make your call to action really pop and doesn't cost much.  

Tip #5: Advertise as a "new service". People tend to get excited about new services, especially when it's as novel as text. Funders are also more likely to take notice when you make noise about it.  

Tip #6: Don't forget the Terms and Conditions! Telling folks "standard msg and data rates apply and they can text "STOP" to opt out" is not just best practice; with website posts, it's also a requirement.  While most people know they can text STOP, it's a nice courtesy for those that don't. Prominently posting your Terms and Conditions also sends a strong signal that your agency takes end user privacy seriously. 

Tip #7: Include the call to action in your IVR and for folks on hold. This will give you a great jumpstart and generate traffic instantly. Plus, your community will love you for it.

Here are some examples:

**Please note, all samples are for the 211 sector. Services are available for any agency offering live help. We power several short codes that are branded for various priority populations and types of agencies.  All collateral is available for your agency's uses. Just ask us! We will also provide you with the source images so that you can brand with your own logo and language. 

We Have Texting! Now What?

Perhaps the biggest issue our clients face today is awareness. They have texting but their community doesn't know it yet.  And what makes this particularly frustrating is, we all know texting is the most common communication channel for Americans under 55, more than voice calls and email. So, how do we reach them? How do we build up our web presence so that members of our community know that we can receive text messages from them?

The call to action should be on every page of your website. Place it in the footer, header, or anywhere that is prominent and highly visible and viewable on EVERY page. The call to action has two parts, the keyword and the short code.  For example, text HALLOWEEN to 898211 where "Halloween" is the keyword and 898211, the short code.  The keyword can have quotations or not - it doesn't really matter. The best method is all uppercase, no quotations. You can also highlight the keyword and short code as follows:

Text HALLOWEEN to 898211

Text HALLOWEEN to 898211

Using different colors for keyword and short code is very effective as well.

In 2-1-1 I&R the call to action is always the same:  "Text your zip code to 898211" "Text your 5 digit zip code to 898211"

Any of these methods/combinations are equally effective.  You can also provide an example...

"Text your zip code to 898211" (As a W. Ventura resident, I would text "93001" to 898211)

In the 2-1-1 I&R example, the end user's personal zip code is the keyword and 898211, the short code.

CTIA requires that you post (on your landing page, or the first page people visit on your website) the following notice:

Standard msg&data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt-out. For end user privacy and terms and conditions of texting with 898211, go to:  http://www.preventionpaystext.com/policies/

For websites, this only needs to be posted once.  However, if you put it in your footer, it will appear on every page, and this too is a good solution as it ensures your website will never be flagged for being non-compliant.  End user privacy is the single most important component of texting with the public.  If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact us!

You may also consider posting your call to action on blogs, newsletters, brochures, business cards, tweets, FB, or any other social media tools/platforms you use to alert your community about your services. 

A good rule of thumb: for every mention of your phone number, there should be an equal number of calls to action for your text service.  Remember your audience is there and they want to text you. They just aren't aware yet that they can text you.

Here are some examples of effective marketing by 2-1-1 Info in Oregon!  Also check out their website at: http://211info.org/about-211info

2-1-1 Info in Oregon developed this GIF which they use and reuse on blog posts, tweets, their website, pretty much anywhere. We like this because it actually shows the end user where to put the keyword and short code.  While most people know these steps now, it never hurts to remind them! And this is a very effective tool for doing exactly that!  I believe they have a generic version of this as well. If you ask nicely, I'm sure they will let you use it!  Contact: Curtis: curtis.waterbury@211info.org

2-1-1 Info in Oregon developed this GIF which they use and reuse on blog posts, tweets, their website, pretty much anywhere. We like this because it actually shows the end user where to put the keyword and short code.  While most people know these steps now, it never hurts to remind them! And this is a very effective tool for doing exactly that!  I believe they have a generic version of this as well. If you ask nicely, I'm sure they will let you use it!  Contact: Curtis: curtis.waterbury@211info.org