How Harrison Township Used Text Messaging to Help Residents During Coronavirus Pandemic

how harrison township used text sms messaging to help residents during coronavirus pandemic
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Harrison Township, a  rural community in Southern New Jersey located just 15 miles south of Philadelphia PA, is known for being a close-knit and supportive community, mobilized local businesses to help fund, procure, and distribute surgical masks for residents of the Township during the Coronavirus Pandemic,  Read below to see how text messaging played a critical role in bringing awareness to this event to township residents in a record amount of time.

 

Challenge

In an effort to minimize the risk and spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19, the municipality of Harrison Township NJ, procured an adequate amount of surgical masks for residents of the township; approximately two per household.

The masks were procured on April 14, 2020 and the township wanted to distribute them in a safe and organized manner, immediately.  Organized distribution events were scheduled for April 15, April 16, and April 18.

While the Township has active social channels, and an active email list, they knew that the most effective way to guarantee immediate awareness and engagement in this event was through text messaging. The problem was, the township only had a partial list of opt-in numbers for township residents and it had never been used before.

Solution

The Mayor’s office contacted Txtra to see if we were able to help. In a matter of two hours, we worked with the township communications team to review and improve the hygiene of the list, plan an integrated communication plan that would maximize reach, ensure that we were able to grow the list of residents contact information and establish two-way communication with residents through texting.

Improving Contact List Hygiene

After reviewing the list of residents’ contact information, we realized that approximately one third of all opt-in residents provided names and cell phone numbers for text communications. After standardizing all of the information, we utilized our bulk import subscriber feature to bring all list information into the Txtra text messaging platform and then conducted number validation to test that phone numbers were active and associated with the names on the list.

Integrated Communication Plan

As the text list only accounted for approximately one third of all township residents, we knew texting needed to be integrated into a larger communication plan to maximize reach.  Texting would be the primary driver to bring immediate attention to the event and would be supplemented by social and email communications. Within the text messages, we used Txtra’s integrated link shortening and tracking feature to drive users to a web page with additional details about the event logistics.

Grow the List

We encouraged all subscribers of the text list to make other township residents aware to drive referral based acquisition to grow the list.  Additionally, we leveraged social and email communications to bring attention to the ability for residents to subscribe.

When new subscribers opted-in to the text messaging list, in addition to capturing their mobile numbers, we enabled the ability to automatically capture their names and email addresses.  Integration with the township’s email marketing platform was also enabled so that all name and email information could automatically synced.

Establish Two-Way Communication

The township did an impressive job of providing detailed instructions and information about the surgical mask distribution event.  However, understanding the seriousness of the situation and the short lead time, we wanted to ensure that all recipients of the text messages had the ability to interact via text to ask any questions.

To do this, we enabled Txtra’s browser based 2-way text chat feature.  This allowed personnel to monitor and respond to all incoming text messages.

Quote

One of the amazing things about Harrison Township is the way this community comes together.  Local resident, Kevin French and his texting platform, Txtra, have demonstrated that sense of community by ensuring we could urgently inform our fellow residents about the availability of surgical masks during the Coronavirus pandemic.  We’ve realized the significance of having text messaging as part of our broader Township communication plan because of the effectiveness we experienced with Txtra.

Mayor Louis Manzo

Results

The initial surgical mask distribution event was less than 24 hours after township residents were notified via text message communications.  In total, the township distributed in excess of 5,000 masks to township residents.

The text outreach performed exceptionally well as we experienced a 99.2% deliverable rate, generated in excess of 35% click through rate, and 75% of those clicks occurred within the first ten minutes of receiving the initial text message. Additionally, we were able to grow the township’s opt-in text list by nearly 9%.

The success of the entire event was covered by Fox 29 News of Philadelphia, who interviewed Mayor Lou Manzo as part of their coverage.

Deliverability Rate

Engagement within 10 Minutes of Receiving Text

Click Through Rate

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