As more people are increasingly using their mobile devices to fuel everyday life, the difference between text and email is blurring. They both occur via mobile devices, they’re both fairly instantaneous, and most people have the ability and know-how to do both.
Many residential communities already have an email strategy, even if it’s rarely used. You may have made it a practice to ask new tenants for their email address when they sign the lease, then keep them up to date on community happenings or important reminders.
But text messaging can do the same thing (and more!), and given it’s the preferred method of communication over email, more residential community managers are turning to texting as part of their community communication strategy. Here’s why:
Text vs Email: A Brief Overview
Emailing and texting share many of the same characteristics and benefits, but the two can hardly be considered the same. Email occurs via an email client (e.g. Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, etc.) and can include attachments, images, or other rich details. It’s certainly the older of the two forms of messaging, and can also be accessed via desktop.
Text messaging isn’t exactly new, but it hasn’t been in use as long as email. It’s strictly a form of communication via mobile device and is sent through your service provider (e.g. T Mobile, Verizon, etc.). MMS text messages can also contain video, images, and interactive elements, but SMS text messages are strictly text.
In some cases, an email can be more effective than a text message. In others, a simple text message will suffice. Let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks that can indicate when to use each one.
Benefits of Texting
There’s no quicker form of communication than sending a text, especially now that voice typing is increasingly accurate. Just choose a recipient, type your message, and click Send. People who get a text message are more likely to prioritize opening it versus an email. The average email open rate is just 20%, but texts see a 98% open rate, likely because we don’t get as many of them.
Texting is seen as the conversational form of communication. It’s a friendly, one to one interaction, giving brands a perfect opportunity to strengthen relationships with their audience.
In addition, mobile users need an internet connection to access their email, but not with texting. They can send and receive texts as long as they have phone service, which also makes texting a more reliable option.
Drawbacks of Texting
For some, texting can pose certain challenges, particularly regarding length. Texts have character limits, which means you’ll need to get creative with your messaging to stay within your space restrictions. However, this can also be considered a good thing since it means you’re only communicating what’s most important. This way, your audience won’t have to waste time picking out the most important details.
Also, unless you have a dedicated SMS texting platform, your texting program likely isn’t streamlined or scalable. Imagine if you had 50 units and had to text all 50 residents individually! It’s complicated and time consuming without the right tools and features, which could prevent many communities from implementing a texting strategy.
Benefits of Email
Email is still largely effective as a community communication tool in certain circumstances. For starters, you can write emails as long as you want, no character restrictions or word limits. If you have something highly valuable or detailed to share with residents, email may be the best medium.
Like texting, you can use email to reach lots of people at once. Everyone gets the same information at the same time, and keeps all of your replies in a single location, too.
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Drawbacks of Email
The biggest downside of modern email is that you risk recipients not opening it. If it’s something important, only the residents who see your email will benefit from it. It can easily end up in spam, which can also damage your sender score.
In addition, people just aren’t as excited to open an email like they are a text message. They may only check email once or twice a day, but they get notified every time a text comes through.
When to Text vs. Send an Email
Though there are no hard and fast rules on when to text versus when to email, there are a few basic practices you can follow.
In general, send a text when
- It’s urgent
- You want a quick reply
- Your message is short
- You want to maintain a conversational tone
- You can include a link to more info
Send an email when
- The content isn’t urgent or timely
- You have a LOT of details to share
- You have time to design an email
- You want a more formal tone
How to Start a Text Message Program to Improve Community Communication
Is texting or emailing better for your residents? Simply put, the answer is usually both
Each format has its own unique advantages, and having the flexibility to do both can not only improve community communication, but also provide more value to every resident.
Notifii Connect can help you fast-track your text message program by offering automation tools, a user-friendly interface, and all the benefits of texting in a central platform. Try it free for 14 days and start putting the power of texting to work for your residents!