5 Ways to Get Employees to Opt In to Your Text Campaign

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For years now we’ve been hearing about “the future of work” and digital transformation in the workplace. Now, the future has arrived - thousands of employees are working remotely and companies are scrambling to make their business operations completely virtual. 

Employees need open channels of communication with their employers as new changes arise every day. As they are bombarded with messages, how can HR teams ensure that they’re receiving and understanding critical work-related news?

Text messaging is a great way to reach employees quickly and efficiently. 82% of text messages are read within five minutes, and 78% of consumers say that text is the fastest way to reach them for important updates. With open rates as high as 98% compared to just 20% for emails, it’s a great tactic to add to your communications toolbox.

But there is one important step to complete before you can start your text campaign: employees must opt in to receive the texts.

So how do you convince them to sign up? We’ve got you covered with five tactics to encourage employee opt-ins.

1. Give them a good reason to opt in

During normal times, texting is a great way to keep employees informed of key changes and updates, and now in the current environment of fast-paced news and day-to-day changes, it’s even more essential.

When you communicate with employees about your new text message campaigns, help them understand that it’s important to opt in so that they can stay informed about crucial changes happening in real time.

Think about the main reason(s) why you want to send them texts and try to articulate those in a way that answers the question “Why should I care about this?”

Some good uses for an HR text message campaign:

  • Reminders about where to find certain benefits or HR resources with links 
  • Notifications about work schedule updates
  • Information about office or plant closures
  • Updates about new safety protocols and guidelines
  1. 2. Never waste a text!

It’s not enough just to get employees opted in - you’ve got to keep them in over time. If your program does not maintain its value, you will see your subscribers start to opt out. 

With open rates so high, being able to reach employees directly on their personal cell phones is a very valuable communications tool and prime real estate for any key messaging. Be sure that your texts’ subject and content is just as high-value.

Adopt a ‘less is more’ strategy with this communication channel and use it as a method to direct them to other channels where they can find more detailed information. You don’t have a ton of room for long-winded messages, so it’s crucial to be strategic and concise.

You can segment your recipient lists based on specific data where applicable. Message all benefits-eligible employees with reminders about OE dates and materials, and filter the list down to those who have not yet completed enrollment for any follow-up reminders. 

Be mindful of any time zone differences and schedule messages during an appropriate time; avoid after-hours or late-night messages when possible.

3. Provide a little extra incentive

Don’t think of it as a bribe - it’s just some extra motivation to encourage them to join your campaign. If it’s in the budget, a $5 gift card for the first 50 opt-ins or a bigger raffle prize for those who opt in will go a long way to drive adoption among employees.

If light bribery is not in your budget this year, appeal to people’s sense of competition and make a contest out of it instead. 

Pit internal departments against one another in a friendly race to 100% participation - the winners could get a half Friday off, a company-sponsored lunch, or even just bragging rights. You’d be surprised at how motivating the prospect of winning anything is to some (especially Sales people!)

4. Promote across all communication channels

Put on your marketing hat and plan out a full-scale communication campaign to encourage text message opt-ins, well in advance of your first text campaign. 

Give employees time to process the message. Not everyone will remember if they only see one email about it, but if you remind them several times in multiple different locations, it’ll stay top-of-mind for them and they’ll be much more likely to get around to it.

Provide a deadline and create a sense of urgency for them to opt in before that date. Whether it’s positive reinforcement with an incentive or negative reinforcement with a consequence, having a hard deadline to go along with your opt-in instructions will help make the message crystal clear.

Hold at least two company-wide meetings where you introduce the new communication method and ask everyone to pull out their phones and opt in right then. Then send out a recording of the meeting with opt-in instructions afterwards to catch anyone who wasn’t able to attend.

Use personalization and eye-catching subject lines in your email campaign to ensure that people open them. In addition to a specific email campaign encouraging opt-ins, include opt-in details within your weekly email newsletter and any other HR emails for several weeks in a row before the deadline.

If employees are still heading into the office, put up flyers with quick and easy opt-in instructions in high-traffic areas so they’ll receive a visual reminder on a regular basis.

5. Use your ‘network of champions’

A general best practice in change management within organizations is to leverage a “network of champions” to mentor others and use their influence to get people on board. This group of evangelists should accurately represent the makeup of your organization and include your top performers.

As is the case with any employee call-to-action, there will always be those last few holdouts who just never get it done. They ignore all company emails, they don’t care about the raffle prize, and they’re too busy to attend the meetings about it. 

Keep a list of who has not yet opted in a few days before the deadline, and ask their direct managers to reach out about it. If the remaining holdouts have a specific reason why they’re not willing to opt in to the program, they’re much more likely to share it with a trusted third party like their manager than directly with the HR team. 

Senior leadership can help facilitate conversations and answer questions for the skeptics to get them on board, and they have the advantage of authority to influence decision-making.

Use these email templates to get your text message opt-in campaign started!

HR Email Template - to Remote Employees

Hi <first name>,

How is everything going? I hope you’re not feeling too stir-crazy as we settle in for the long haul of working from home for the foreseeable future.

We are all being bombarded with news via email, and it can be hard to stay up to speed. That’s why we are implementing a new text messaging communication campaign to ensure you stay informed with work-related updates.

We won’t blow up your phone, but we will send text messages to keep you informed of critical updates like:

  • Notifications about work schedule changes
  • Updates about office or plant closures
  • Adjustments to safety protocols and guidelines
  • Reminders about where to find certain benefits or HR resources with links 

Please text ‘START’ to 466-59 to opt in to the service by Thursday, April 30 at 5pm ET. 

Don’t wait to opt in; the first 50 people will be the lucky recipients of a $5 Starbucks E-gift card!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to support you!

Sincerely,

Your HR Team

HR Email Template - to Employees Who Are Not Remote

Subject Line: <first name>, I want to make sure you’re staying informed

Hi <first name>,

We are all being bombarded with news, and it can be hard to stay up to speed. That’s why we’re implementing a new text messaging communication campaign to ensure you stay informed with work-related announcements.

We won’t blow up your phone, but we will send text messages to keep you informed of critical updates like:

  • Notifications about work schedule updates
  • Updates about office or plant closures
  • Changes to safety protocols and guidelines
  • Reminders about where to find certain benefits or HR resources with links 

Please text ‘START’ to 466-59 to opt in to the service by Thursday, April 30 at 5pm ET. 

Don’t wait to opt in; the first 50 people will be the lucky recipients of a $5 Starbucks E-gift card!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to support you!

Sincerely,

Your HR Team

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