Texting Bulk Messages – Here’s What You Need to Know
When you run a practice, you often need to reach all your patients at once as quickly as possible. Broadcast messages are the best way to save time while sending bulk messages to your patients. Why? Patients are most likely to see messages when they are sent via text, and a broadcast message is simple to put together. Simply write one text that goes out to all your patients! However, it’s important to carefully consider how to word the broadcast message—the right wording can help you avoid SPAM and also make the biggest impact in the message you are sending! Read on for top best practices when sending broadcast messages to your patients.
1. Keep bulk messages short.
We advocate for the “SPEAR” method in sending all texts, including broadcast messages. Text is a short format—no one wants to sit reading a text that goes on forever, and you might be flagged as SPAM if your message goes on and on. The SPEAR method is:
- Expecting a Reply
So, for example, a SPEAR-method text to dormant patients might read “It’s been a while…how are you?” This is brief, doesn’t sound like typical bulk messages, and will engage the patient by making it natural for them to reply back—to get a conversation going so you can reactivate them and fill that calendar!
2. Be prepared to reply!
You wrote it to expect those replies—this is because you are trying to engage your patients—to talk “with” them, not “at” them. Because of this, it’s important to read any followup messages and reply, moving the patient along in the process. If you sent a bulk message about being closed for an emergency weather situation, be prepared to reply when people ask to reschedule. The good news is, the Zingit dashboard makes it easy and efficient to reply to messages you receive back and keep those patients engaged.
3. Avoid the SPAM filter flags.
A few major flags can be thrown up by a mass text that can prevent your messages from ever reaching your patients’ phone. Follow these rules to help your broadcast texts to reach your patients:
- Avoid all caps
- Avoid shortening links you send with services like “TinyURL” or “Bit.ly”
- Don’t send too often
- Avoid resending the same message multiple times
The larger point here is to treat all texts—even broadcast messages—like friendly, professional marketing communication that you yourself would want to receive. If it looks or sounds SPAM-y, it probably is!
4. Include Opt Out instructions on non-health related texts.
Anyone receiving your messages needs to have clear instructions should they not desire to receive texts from you anymore. (As a phone user yourself, we’re sure you’ve seen opt-out messaging at the end of text messages—typically something like “Text STOP to opt out.”) Partner with Zingit, so we can help you understand which messages need opt out instructions.
5. Make your messaging appealing so people don’t opt out!
You don’t want to be considered SPAM! So your broadcast messages should contain important information—not only to you, but to your patients. Carefully consider how you word broadcast messages, and the purpose of sending the message before you text all your patients. This will help you to be relevant and valuable as you engage with your patients via bulk messaging.
6. Be familiar with compliance rules
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) helps to protect consumers from “junk” messages that are bothersome. And it’s not just general guidelines—the rules come with huge fines for violations. The good news is, healthcare exemptions apply, and you can partner with Zingit, who is familiar with TCPA rules and regulations. We can help you understand Opt-in rules, as well as how to become familiar with the best practices in sending broadcast messages to patients. Oh, and as always, mind HIPAA.
7. Timing matters for bulk messages
You should always be aware of sending both the right amount of messages to your patients—don’t send broadcast messages too often. And also send during normal business hours—avoid evenings, busy times of day, or times patients would normally consider “family time.”
Are you interested in sending bulk messages to reach all your patients?
Partner with Zingit—we can help you understand how to make every message count to engage patients more than ever before and fill that calendar! Set up your 15 minute demo now to learn more about how Zingit can help.