Professional Resource

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Considering Using Text Messaging to Broaden Your Reach or Connect With Families?

Dec 27, 2016

Scalable technology-based communication is increasingly becoming a focal point for outreach to families.

Text messaging (also called short message service or SMS), in particular, has emerged as a fast and accessible way to share information with families. There are many questions people have as they consider developing or adding a text messaging based program to their outreach with families. Here are some typical considerations to think through if a texting approach would be helpful in your endeavors:

Why Go Mobile?

  • Ninety one percent of Americans own a cellphone,i and texting is more frequent among minority and low income populations compared with their counterparts.ii This traditionally harder to reach population is now reachable via mobile.
  • Using mobile health programs for maternal and infant health has already resulted in positive outcomes.iii
    • Text messages can change and improve single, low-income, adolescent, minority mothers’ health behaviors, including getting immunizations, breastfeeding, and attending health care visits.
  • Text messaging makes sure your messaging gets to families :
    • Texts are opened.
    • Texts have a 98% open rate, while email has a 20% open rate
    • Texts are read.
    • 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes
    • Texts facilitate you receiving an answer.
    • It takes an average person 90 minutes to respond to email, and only 90 seconds via text.

Where to Start?

Here are some tips that we’ve learned supporting Text4baby, the largest mobile health initiative in the nation for pregnant women and new mothers. Text4baby mothers receive free, customized health information, safety tips, interactive surveys, urgent alert messages, and appointment reminders through at least 3 text messages per week and a free app—timed to the user’s due date or baby’s birthdate—all at no charge to the user.

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