Engaging Older Audiences with SMS Notifications

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Main Keyword (in italic): sms communication strategy, older audience, Teaching Older Audiences New Technologies, technology for elderly customers
Secondary Keywords (in italic): Throughout Content.

Phone AlertWhether an Older Audience would adopt an SMS Communication strategy in the Museum/Cultural Organization and Alumni/Higher Ed Associations Sectors is an interesting debate. Modern technological communication involves Phone Calls, Emails, SMS‘s and Apps. In today’s hustle and bustle, it is hard for these organizations/associations to communicate with their patrons. A Phone Call may be too personal and time-consuming. With Email, it is often hard to tell which emails are most important due to a flooded Email Inbox. That is why some organizations are adopting an SMS Communication strategy. It is a simple approach that gets the customer’s attention quickly. Firstly, we ask: Would the Older Audience of Museums/Cultural Organizations and Alumni/Higher Ed Associations be likely to use SMS? Next, we will talk about Technology Usage Statistics for Older Audiences. Then we will delve into Teaching Older Audiences New Technologies. We will go through SMS vs Email. We will discuss How does SMS Technology work & benefits. Finally, we will end with our conclusion.

Would the Older Audience of Museums/Cultural Organizations, Alumni/Higher Ed Associations be likely to use SMS?
A lot of the members of these organizations are most probably in a high wage bracket but I would say not necessarily all of them. Most probably these members would own a smartphone and have access to email. Within this group exists the Older Audience and they may own a smartphone. Email usage would be lower than younger members. The question is would the Older Audience want alerts to the events from these organizations? The older audience and retirees lead simple lives. They probably go out less than the younger audience. They also would need to know in advance whether an event is on because they may not be feeling up to going somewhere on a whim. If they received an SMS received early for a future event, the older audience would get a lot out of it. They would be able to schedule their future activities and there would be no surprises.

Technology Usage Statistics for Older Audiences
The technological advances of the Personal Computer, Internet, and Mobile Devices were major leaps forward for humanity. Of course, the younger generations adopted these technologies as soon as they went to market. Generally, technology is harder to learn for Elderly customers and we will see in the statistics below that this may be a fact. But the Older Audiences are rapidly becoming more tech-savvy because they have taken the time and effort to learn technology by taking a course, learning from others and doing individual research. Text messaging is a phenomenon that may have started among the teen and twenty-something crowd, but it has grown to include Baby Boomers and seniors. The statistics suggest that the over-fifty population is no stranger to mobile phones or text messaging. If you’re looking for relevant technology where usage by older participants increases with each month, there is evidence stating that text messaging is a good option.

Older adults and Internet us
Insights From: https://www.pewresearch.orgOlder adults and internet use
Half of adults ages 65 and older are online.
– After age 75, internet and broadband use drops off significantly.

– Seven in ten seniors own a cell phone, up from 57% two years ago.

SMS Marketing Stats for Seniors
Insights From: https://www.marchex.com – 3 Mind-Blowing SMS Marketing Stats for Seniors
– 86% of Americans over 50-years-old communicate with text messaging.
– 57% of Baby Boomers who text would have a favorable view of a company that offers texting.
– 42% Agree that it would be convenient for any company to use texting for customer service.

Seniors sometimes need to use SMS Technology
Insights From:
http://wellapp.com – Seniors Texting
– COVID forced seniors to use SMS technology.
– One in three Americans over 65 prefer texting to phone calls.
– Seniors and texting are seen as a useful tool for patient empowerment, and as a part of the fast-growing trend of “AgeTech.”

SMS Usage for Middle-aged and older adults compared to younger adults
Insights From:
https://journals.sagepub.com – Study of mobile messaging preferences by age

– Almost all participants (99.6%) owned a cell phone.
– Participants in the younger group were significantly more likely than those in the older group to have unlimited texting plans.
– Older group demonstrated a clear preference for messages that were grammatically correct
– Older group have clear preferences related to message structure, voice, and tone

Text Messaging, Older Demographics and Clinical Research
Insights From:
https://www.mosio.comText Messaging, Older Demographics

– Ninety to ninety-six percent of all emails received are spam. 
– On average, Americans exchange five as many texts as they do phone calls.
– People aged 45-64 are the fastest growing demographic on the mobile frontier. 
– Ninety-four percent of smartphone users 70 and older are text messaging on a weekly basis.
– People aged 55-64 send and receive an average of 80 text messages per month, and senior citizens 65+ average 32 text messages per month.

Teaching Older Audiences SMS Technology
Older audiences may learn better if taught in a one-on-one lesson or even in a short course. But they may not have the time nor the energy to go to such a class. The SMS approach can teach you “on the go” so to speak. As long as you educate the Older Audience that such an SMS strategy exists via a Phone Call, Email, Paper Flyer, Group Meeting, etc.

SMS vs Email
With SMS it’s as easy as turning your Phone on and checking the SMS queue. You instantly see new messages that are not read. The message comes as pure text and is not usually more than 50 words and can be as short as 5 words.

When an SMS arrives you are instantly notified by default. Phone Email clients also have notifications but you have to set this up for it to work. Older Audiences one would presume would enjoy less technical setups and adjustments to their phone.

Opening up an email requires you to access an Email Client whether it be on your phone or desktop device. The steps required are: Turning on your machine, Clicking on the Mail Icon and then going through your inbox which may be cluttered full of emails. By the time you open the desired email, you may be faced with over 500 words because an email is usually a longer communication.

How SMS Technology works and it’s benefits
How SMS Technology works
There are existing custom Software Solutions that engage your members and build stronger relationships across the entire membership experience via SMS. The organization that adopts this technology will be able to:
Make Announcements: Ensure your members are aware of new exhibitions, changes in hours, and other key information.
Supercharge Fundraising: Bolster your fundraising efforts by appealing to members through today´s most impactful digital channel.
Send Event Invitations: Boost Event and program attendance by delivering your members direct invitations and reminders.
Automate renewal notifications: Convey Updates and changes to member benefits and more.

Benefits of SMS Technology
Rapid delivery: 95% of SMS messages are opened within 3 minutes of delivery. Get your message across faster!
Higher open rate: The average open rate of a text message sits at about 99%. That’s X times higher than e-mail.

– Drive more value: Promote your membership benefits, discounts, and reciprocal program to the fullest.
Increase renewals: Send reminder messages to your members when their membership is about to lapse to increase renewals.

Adopting SMS Technology for Elderly Customers of Museums/Cultural Organizations and Alumni/Higher Ed Associations is then probably a wise move because the market is already there. Of course, there will have to be a mandatory testing period before deployment would commence. In general, the usage of technology for elderly customers is on the rise.

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