Better healthcare outcomes: Start growing your mobile list

Jed Alpert

Jed Alpert, Co-Founder, General Manager, Mobile Commons

Recent years have proven time and time again that text messaging is the most effective way to open a dialogue with consumers. Mobile Commons discussed this previously here at HIT Leaders and News, and the evidence supports our claim:

  • 91 percent of Americans have mobile phones
  • Americans send or receive an average of 41.5 text messages per day
  • 90 percent of text messages are read within the first 90 seconds – intentionally or otherwise
  • 80 percent of text messages are responded to within 15 minutes
  • Text messaging regularly sees click thru rates 5-7x’s higher than email

While studies have shown that hospitals spend up to 11 billion dollars on ineffective communication, text messaging continues to show why it’s a growing and valuable asset in helping healthcare providers reach their patients:

Having seen the mounting evidence of how effective text messaging is both in general and specifically in healthcare, the question is no longer if texting whether to use text messaging to reach potential and pre-existing patients and members, but how we should be messaging them. The intention of this article is to discuss the best ways to build your subscriber list.

One of the most crucial elements to a successful text messaging campaign is having potential and pre-existing patients opt-in to your program. To grow a subscriber list, healthcare organizations can automatically collect consent for mobile messaging through typical text-in opt-in through calls to actions on direct mailers, social media, billboards and TV ads. Web-forms and even patient contact forms can be used to gain subscribers. Of all of these methods the text-in opt-in through ‘calls to action’ are often the most effective and here’s why:

  • It’s simple – A text-in opt-in takes a matter of seconds. Because it’s disseminated via mobile, it can also be done from virtually anywhere and immediately, as seen by the high response rates previously noted

For example, Food & Water Watch launched their “Take Back the Tap” campaign, which was designed to raise awareness among college students of the detrimental environmental impact plastic water bottles have on the environment. Students opted in by texting “I <3 TAP” to their short code, and in doing so entered their school into a sweepstakes to win prizes for their college.

Screenshot 2015-08-18 at 10.47.30 PM

  • It’s far reaching and cost effective: If you promote a text message call to action on your existing media, you won’t need to spend additional dollars on adding new channels to your outreach strategy. Simply add your text message call to action to your existing content and see a higher return on your investment.
  • It creates a single, unified message – When people are given several options for taking action, they often end up taking none. By promoting a single, unified text message call to action, you will capture more people than if you offer several ways to enroll in your program. Compared to the few seconds it takes someone to opt-in into your mobile list asking people to visit a website, a social media page, or to make a phone call, seems like a lot of work. With text messaging you can capture them, automatically engage them learning more about them, and then ask them to complete your intended goal at any time.

A simple way to put a magnifying glass on your list building tactics is to integrate it into the programming you already have. By breathing a call to action into other outlets of your campaign, your short code will be seen more places, boosting your opt-in potential. Furthermore, when patients check in for appointments in person, staff can take advantage of the opportunity by enrolling them at the beginning or end of their appointment.

The broad healthcare industry and widespread appeal of text messaging are an ideal partnership. Once you have your mobile list built, whether you’re sending out health alerts, appointment reminders, tips, or programming details, text messaging makes a positive impact on health care organizations of all types. Building your lists can improve your reach to potential new customers and improve your relationship with pre-existing ones, and is the catalyst behind so many better outcomes.

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