What’s the best device to target with mass notification?

1 People devicesIf you’re wondering about the best devices to target with your mass notifications, here’s a cryptic answer: target whichever devices are most likely to give you the response you want. Here’s why.

People are unpredictable

Targeting home phones during business hours won’t be as effective as calling on office phones and cells. If you know your people are more likely to respond to an SMS text message, on the other hand, then send your message that way.

However, if your system allows for it, your best option is to simply let your recipients prioritize their own device preferences. For instance, some users may opt to have home phones off at night but still allow for cell calls and SMS. Some may opt for SMS during business hours in order to avoid meeting interruptions, etc.

SMS comes with its own challenges

With the proliferation of smart phones—there are now more mobile devices on earth than people—it’s easy to tell yourself that recipients are a simple text message away.

And why wouldn’t you want to use SMS? During widespread regional crises, SMS message often go through even when phone service is impacted.

But although SMS can be an excellent way to easily deliver a message to many recipients at once, it does have limitations:

  • Text messages are often limited to about 180 characters, reducing the size of your message content. This can, of course, have an effect on meaningful communication.
  • Wireless carriers generally control the length of the SMS message and how messages are delivered if they exceed character limits. This could also get in the way of your ability to send a timely message that’s easy to understand.
  • Wireless carriers control the distribution of SMS messages to their contracted users. Each individual carrier sets the rules for identification of spam or high-volume messaging and can block delivery or response at their discretion. If you have a critical message that must get to everyone, SMS may not be the answer.
  • A single message, sent through multiple carriers, might ultimately be presented to users in different ways and at different times.
  • Rules and regulations can vary by country and by carrier—some may forbid mass notification altogether.

As you would in any situation with pros and cons, you’ll need to weigh the positive and negative before you commit wholeheartedly to SMS.

Email can trip you up

Ditto with email—because of the barrage of spam messages to which we’re all exposed, valid messages often get tagged by filters. This, of course, can make it exceedingly difficult to reliably deliver important information by email.

One tip that may help: make sure recipients white-label your notification address—mark your address as a safe sender, in other words—so you have a better chance of getting the message through in times of need.

Which should you choose? All of them

Clearly, when you target just a single device, circumstances might mean that your messages don’t make it through. As a best practice, use as many communication modes as you can to reach your recipients.

Learn more from the white paper Best Practices in Using a Notification System.