In today’s digital world, marketers are taking a multichannel approach to target consumers and the most coveted channel now is SMS (short message service), commonly known as texting.
However, there are challenges and regulations that health insurance marketers must keep in mind when using various channels. For example, the elimination of third-party cookies has created a roadblock for marketers to track their company’s website activity and thereby hampers their ability to personalize their online communications to specific customer interest. Likewise, while SMS can practically guarantee that the customer will at least see the message, as it has a whopping 98% open rate, health insurance marketers must collect consent prior to using this channel to market to customers.
The Current State of SMS Marketing
While there is no denying how relevant and highly engaging SMS marketing is to help health insurance providers better target customers, it needs to be done in a completely compliant way. Even more so, SMS needs to be used wisely and judiciously so the customer can receive the value they expect and at the cadence they desire or else they will unsubscribe from receiving future messages immediately.
Unfortunately, many health insurance marketers today have been texting the customer without consent, which is illegal under the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). As the Telephone Consumer Protection Act states, it is required by all companies, no matter the industry, to get expressed, written consent from consumers using mobile devices before sending them marketing text messages.3 If found in violation of the TCPA, fines may occur anywhere between $500 and $1500 per text message sent.
For example, in the 2013 case of Ferencz vs. International Clinic Consultants LLC, the clinic consulting firm was found guilty of violating the TCPA by sending millions of texts a month to consumers, containing unsolicited advertising messaging.4 As International Clinic Consultants LLC never collected written consent or gave the option to opt-out of receiving the text messages, the company was fined $3.5 million as a result.
In order for health insurance providers to avoid similar action that International Clinic Consultants faced and be in full compliance with the TCPA, they must make it clear to the customer that they will receive recurring, automated SMS marketing communication and how they plan to utilize the customer’s preferences in future messages or campaigns. Collecting consent and preference data through a robust zero-party data program can help with these issues.
Leveraging Zero-Party Data To Enhance SMS Campaigns
Health insurance providers have always wanted data that provides them insights into their customers and there’s no better place to get customer insights than from customers themselves. To do so, you must gain customer’s trust. This starts with collecting their consent and continues over time by collecting their preferences, such as the type of products or services they are interested in. Then you must honor those preferences by providing relevant content.
Whether it’s sending a personalized message through any number of channels (e.g. email, SMS, website) that includes a link to a survey, or simply offering the customer to leave feedback on a specific product or service, these types of zero-party data strategies will result in health insurance marketers being able to better tailor their messages to each customer based on this feedback. This leads to greater trust and longer-lasting relationships.
If the goal of the health insurance provider is to ask their subscribed consumers what services they are interested in or how they feel about a certain service, an SMS message will most likely generate that response faster than social media or email marketing. However, remember to use this channel judiciously so that you don’t wear out your welcome.
Planning for 2023 Marketing Success
If you want to have effective marketing campaigns into 2023, engaging your customers with SMS to collect zero-party data is the way to get the most personalized information. However, in order to maximize the consent and preferences from the customer, SMS marketing needs to be done in a way that gives the customer exactly what they want.
SMS is a channel that if retailers don’t use properly, can have serious consequences on the business as a whole. Health insurance providers need to utilize zero-party data strategies such as surveys and general feedback to make the text messages conversational and ensure better customer retention.
By taking zero-party data marketing strategies for SMS into account, you and your business are sure to be a step ahead of the competition at the beginning of 2023!
About The Author: Scott Frey is the original founder of PossibleNOW formed in 2000. Today, he serves as the President and CEO for PossibleNOW, Inc. and PossibleNOW’s wholly-owned subsidiary, CompliancePoint. Frey is responsible for the business growth and acquisition strategy, product development initiatives, and all sales and marketing strategy for both companies. He specializes in designing technology and professional services solutions to solve complex business challenges related to marketing and compliance operations. Under Frey’s tenure as CEO, the company has evolved from a marketing compliance solution provider solving privacy and compliance issues, to a more diverse organization that helps companies leverage PossibleNOW’s Zero-Party Data solutions to deliver relevant, targeted, personalized communications to their customers and prospects, increasing profitability and customer loyalty. Learn more at: https://www.possiblenow.com/