Friday, 1 July 2016

Member messages: SMS or Email?

Leisure Management System providers and partners continue to push email as the best member communication channel. But who is it best for, the system, the club, or the member?

Email is low cost, easy to implement, and can contain lots of content. But open rates are often low, unsubscribes higher, and there can be a tendency to include too much content for certain messages.

For your monthly newsletters, email is great. But for short, critical messages that you want all targeted members to open and read, SMS is a much better option.
SMS is very popular for prospecting in leisure. This is probably because the return on investment is easier to measure, and this is seen as a true marketing spend. But targeted, triggered SMS messages to absentees, or to confirm appointments, are more effective than email. We always suggest that clubs lead on SMS for 21 day absentees because 71% of absentees return within 10 days of a text, compared with 64% of members who get email.

Sending non-critical, but punchy, meaningful messages via text can work really well too. If the National Blood Service had sent the above message by email, I would probably have missed it. But as it was an SMS, I’ve shown it to at least 5 other people face-to-face, and because my blood donation has been used in my hometown of Northampton (how did they know?!) I’ve shared it on social media too, possibly getting new recruits to donate blood.

Content is key, of course. Keep it interesting, varied, on brand, and share-worthy, and your members will stay engaged. Perhaps this is why there are far fewer unsubscribe requests to SMS compared with email.

A well timed SMS or text message is worth a lot more than an email. It’s a little more expensive, and systems integration can be a little trickier, but the results are worth it.

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