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Top 10 tips on how Kiwi SMEs can utilise text messaging in a crisis

The current global Covid-19 crisis has meant businesses have needed to find new ways to communicate with their clients and customers. In response, New Zealand messaging provider MessageMedia has developed a free Resource Hub for small businesses to access resources to better connect with their customers. 

The company is offering 10 tips for small business to harness SMS communications in a crisis.

1. Prepare to send SMS messages 

  • Collate your data  
  • Use correct formatting  
  • Test your broadcast 

"If you haven’t already taken measures to audit and update your current contact lists, make sure you do this," the company says.

2. Organise your contact list 

  • Think about your audience  
  • Segmentation in action  
  • Use contact groups 

"Plan your communication segments for different scenarios so that you can have your groups set up accordingly."

3. Understand your audience needs 

  • Check your information accuracy
  • Consider opt-outs and compliance   
  • Consider local languages, regional dialects and translation issues

"Understand, research and use the tools available to you to make sure you are servicing your specific audience needs," MessageMedia explains. 

4. Optimise your text messages 

  • Use short links  
  • Send dynamic messages  
  • Enable replies  

"Make sure you have the features you need enabled in your platform before the need to send out emergency information."

5. Prepare your team  

  • Nominate team members 
  • Consider email to SMS 
  • The company says businesses should give consideration to not only their external audience, but to those inside their team or organisation. 

6. Write engaging messages 

  • Include your identifier   
  • Use templates  
  • Add personalisation   
  • Consider length and links   

"Work out what you want your messages to do, and who should be handling them. We suggest mapping them out and talking through them with your team, so they understand the campaign’s point and objectives," it says.

7. Check your account  

  • Raise your credit limit   

"Consider the wider number of recipients you need to reach in an emergency against your current credit balance," MessageMedia says.
 "Is it topped up or do you have access to top it up in urgent circumstances? If not, consider changing your plan or talking to your provider so you don’t run into trouble later."  

8. Test your broadcast 

  • Conduct a test run   
  • "Test, test and test again before you have to send out your live broadcast."

9. Use SMS etiquette 

  • Stagger your send
  • Consider time zones 

"Have some consideration about when you’re sending and what you’re expecting back."

10. Track engagement  

  • Check delivery status reports