Thursday, January 2, 2014

Whether it’s to deliver information for marketing purposes, maintenance or safety concerns, SMS text messaging has moved in to apartment and condominium communities. Furnished with the ability to reach people on the go, it’s the answer to the ever subsiding block party and Homeowners Association (HOA) meetings. As people’s lives get busier and work, school and home base more geographically spread out, SMS can deliver the same messages with efficiency and ease.

Just as universities and government agencies use SMS bulk messaging to communicate with large groups regarding campus safety notifications and natural disaster alerts, apartments, gated communities and neighborhoods can benefit from the quick and convenient communication of bulk texting.

Why text messaging?

Nearly 100% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes of receipt. With that kind of statistic, messages are practically guaranteed to be received and read, immediately. This assurance gives peace of mind that residents are staying informed, and for the recipient, the immediacy and personal nature of receiving a text message enhances the importance of the information being disseminated.

More and more, communities are harnessing the power of bulk mobile communications to notify residents of essential information, such as weather emergencies, power outages, upcoming construction, special events, deadlines for HOA dues, etc. SMS text messaging is also the most affordable and quickest way to notify residents en masse. Landlords and community managers can simply log onto their account, create a message and within minutes send it out to hundreds and thousands of community members.

Management companies can decide to enhance their customizable SMS messages to include property contact info, links to a mobile-friendly property website, emergency contacts, etc.

This tool can also be life saving in the event that a child disappears, a pet goes missing or property has been vandalized or burglarized. The ability of being able to reach the masses quickly during a desperate time has the potential to keep people safe.

On a practical level, SMS texts work better than any other kind of communication as it does not require a good signal to carry on a conversation. Unlike voice messages, a text will still be received as there is no probability for a full voice mailbox. And, unlike email, it is less apt to be ignored or dumped into a Spam folder. SMS bulk messaging also eliminates the need to dial each number by hand as campaigns can be created and scheduled at the sender’s discretion. SMS campaigns also provide valuable data that show how many messages were successfully sent and which ones have and have not been opened.

How and where to begin

Signing up communities to receive these messages is easy. The first thing that needs to be done is to create a list. Get residents to sign up for these messages, also known as opting in.

Choose a keyword and shortcode and include it in a message that can be posted as a flier in a public area, or a newsletter dropped into their mailbox or email blast.

For example, a landlord running an apartment named the The Sunset Towers wants to start sending SMS text messages. They can post a sign that says “Text the word SUNSET to 81818 to receive building notifications.”

Residents text the keyword to the shortcode and are now added to a list to receive bulk SMS notifications. The landlord can then create various campaigns ranging from fire drill alerts or window washing notices so that all opted-in residents can stay in the loop and know what is going on in their building.

By opening up this line of communication, should a resident have an emergency such as a burglary or should a child or pet go missing, they can notify their landlord who can deploy an emergency alert to the same list of recipients so that the community as a whole can be on the lookout and join in on the effort to help solve the problem.

CallFire provides the conduit for efficient, affordable and easy-to-use SMS text messaging. And, with society constantly on the go with its billions of cellphones in tow, governments, schools, businesses and residential communities alike are increasingly implementing emergency alert programs via bulk SMS messaging. Learn more about group text message marketing here.