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. 

Phone-to-Text Referrals Done Right!

One of the many ways health and human service agencies use PreventionPays is our simple "phone-to-text" utility.  Also referred to as "phone2text," we offer a very elegant solution that can also be linked to your CRM software. The utility is demonstrated in the video below!

The steps are simple:

1.  Enter the mobile number or mobile number(s) you wish to send the referral(s) to

2.  Paste the content into the text box (one or more referrals) Don't worry, the system will auto-concantenate messages over 160 characters (split and send sequentially)

3.  Select your silent keyword option (this step only has to be done once since the service will default to the last keyword used) The silent keyword ensures your client just gets the content in the text box, thus bypassing the optin message!  The queue will not update as it does when a live request comes through.  The only time a phone2text referral would update is if your client has a question about the content you've texted them.  So, you can create an automated message that says please call us for questions, or if you have live support turned on, you can simply open the case and respond to the question!  Simple!

4. Click the big green "Send" button.

Content will go out! Simple. You will see a report at the top of the page confirming the number was sent the content. You can also view the case in your queue by clicking the Users tab.  You can search for the number, look in your archives or simply archive to reports. Regardless of what you do with the case, the information went out and most importantly, you can confirm so just by looking at the number in your queue.  You will also benefit form a delivery receipt which comes from the carrier (known as "carrier grade delivery notifications") a completely complimentary component of PreventionPays Text! 

Why text referrals to people who call you? 

According to PEW Research, 80% of adults own smart phones and 80% of smart phone owners text more than they make voice calls and email! And for help-seekers, there's a strong preference for the medium. Most people would rather text about sensitive subjects than "talk" about them. 

Information that is texted to smart phones is many times more likely to be used. It's easy to misplace a piece of paper or simply write the information down incorrectly. When it's texted, the information is always correct to the letter. Also, smart phones enable clients to engage with referrals in new and exciting ways.  Links are browsable, addresses are searchable and interactive with your maps app, phone numbers are "callable"!  In sms, the referral becomes much more consumable! Which is the most important part of the work you do. Also, when you text referrals with PreventionPays, you can interact with your data so that archived results are searchable and reportable to your funders/partners and stakeholders.  

Most importantly, Phone-2-Text referrals are producing high return rates! With over 60% return rates for live I&R texting, when you text your caller, they're many more times likely to text you as a first choice medium. Therefore, Phone-2-Text referrals are an on-ramp to live sms help down the road. In the continuum of help, the referral is just the beginning!

How are you texting your referrals? Here are just a few of our very happy clients using PreventionPays Text for all their texting!

We were using the old system (long code) and many of our clients were calling us up and telling us they didn’t get the text. We started using the short code with PreventionPays and everything goes through instantly. It’s so easy. The best part is, no more complaints!
— 211 Atlanta
We had to put in the phone number and the carrier. We thought that was strange. With PreventionPays you just need the mobile number. We really like how easy it is to send texts to callers on 898211!
— United Way of Central Iowa 211
Our system was not giving us positive message tracking and we were not ever certain if our referrals got through, then ultimately we found out that a whole part of our state had been unbound by the mobile carriers…no texts were getting through.
— 211 Indiana
We were using a long code system and were unable to trust any of the information coming into us. We tried to pass along information to our emergency management associates to enable a rescue but they were not able to use the information and said that it was impossible to trace. This created a barrier and damaged our relationships with local authorities. We have since replaced that system with short code texting and repaired those damaged relationships.
— CrisisLink, Virginia
We tested our existing (long code system) next to the short code system and saw in real time that the long code was not sending our referrals while the short code went through every time!
— Contra Costa 211