Daily SMS Reminders Can Help Improve Health
Before the winter cold and flu season hits I decided to do what I can to get healthy and stay healthy. Last week I began a 21 day cleanse that involves eating lots of fruits and vegetables as well as taking supplements. A lot of supplements. So many that I really have trouble keeping track.
But luckily the company that makes the cleanse I’m using offers support via SMS reminders. Three times a day I get reminders to take the supplements. As a busy person I need those reminders to keep myself on track. I know how many to take and when to take them because of these reminders.
Could I set up my own reminders, leave sticky notes, or have alarms go off three times a day? I could, but it is so easy when the company already does all that for me. And it turns out SMS message reminders for health related topics help people get and stay healthy.
Results of a US study
Last year the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) conducted a systematic review of health related SMS messaging studies, 60 in total. The studies focused on “health promotion and disease prevention” using SMS messaging.
The overall conclusion HRSA made was SMS messaging improved health outcomes. However there were some issues when it came to how the topic is studied in general. For example, some participants opt out before the studies are completed. This makes it more difficult to assess the real impact of the programs and draw statistically significant (fancy words for a “real effect” versus a random one) conclusions.
The HRSA review made an observation about people opting out of the messaging before the study was over:
“The two studies that did not use tailored text message content were among the studies with the highest participant attrition. This finding may support the notion that untailored health messages are less engaging for participants than tailored messages.”
People respond better to more personal messaging. That’s a consistent and almost obvious theme no matter how you are communicating. Health, though, is such a personal topic it’s even more important to make sure the person feels like the message is for them.
There was another important observation from the studies involved in the review. When both phone and SMS messaging were used as reminders, some studies didn’t see that much difference between the groups that received phone calls and the groups that received SMS messages. But, they said:
“There was no difference in attendance rates between text message and phone message reminders. However, the cost of text message reminders was lower than the cost of phone message reminders.”
So in some cases, SMS messages were just as effective as a personal phone call, but cost the provider much less.
A global perspective
Another study from Health Psychology Review reported “SMS messages had a small, positive, significant effect on a broad range of healthy behaviour. This effect was maximised when multiple SMS messages per day were used.”
The study included people from developing and developed nations and a variety of ages, ethnicity, health status, and socio-economic backgrounds. This means the positive effect seen spans countries and other demographic information. It appears that daily SMS messaging about health topics, including reminders, can lead to healthier people.
I know I probably would have given up on my own health initiative without the reminders. It’s easy to forget to do a step, then justify when it’s ok to give up. You may have had the same experience if you’ve ever tried to follow a health related New Year’s resolution. But I’m on track thanks to the messages. If you’re a health provider of any kind, take my word, and all of the studies discussed above and see if SMS messaging can help improve your clients’ health too.
There is something of a revolution occurring in the UK, and worldwide, where healthcare is concerned. Gone are the days of patients idly sitting and waiting for doctors to dole out advice. With 93% of the population holding a tool in their hands, anybody can use a mobile phone to access a wealth of information, just at our fingertips. SMS can maintain that feeling of instant information without causing the confusion, panic and misunderstanding so often associated with self-diagnosis.
A lot of the time, personal training can be one of the most rewarding jobs you could possibly pursue. Yet at other times, it can be dispiriting. Naturally, this is all part and parcel of the industry, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t changes you can make to your everyday work habits that will boost the benefits and mitigate the downsides. And top of the list of those changes are SMS marketing strategies.
In a report released last week by Nielsen, it turns out people want more than just to see a lower number on the scale. In their study, 75% of people worldwide plan to lose weight by changing their diet. And another 72% plan to exercise – that’s where your health club and SMS comes in.
Marketing for gyms and leisure centres is unlike marketing within many other industries. It's not enough to simply gain a customer and expect to keep them indefinitely. It's important to make every attempt to keep that customer dedicated and interested in achieving their fitness goals to avoid lapsed memberships and cancellations. It's in every gym's best interest to have a loyal customer base that feels supported and encouraged to attend the gym regularly. Failure to do so can result in members who feel it is a waste of money to pay for a membership that they don't use often enough. That's where SMS marketing can make a big difference.
False Hope Syndrome happens to nearly 90 % of the people who make New Year’s resolutions. People set grand, hopeful, but unreasonable goals for themselves. But if you can get yourself to focus on something specific you want to improve, SMS messaging can help you achieve it.
Last year, over 1 billion prescription items were dispensed in England. There were, on average, 19 prescription items per person in England, almost half the population is taking prescription medications. It's safe to assume some people are finding it hard to keep track, enter SMS.
Christmas is coming and with it plenty of opportunities to increase your retail sales or market your services. If you're a hairdresser or beautician, you'll know how busy you get during the festive party season. It's still not too late to create an SMS campaign for Christmas and the New Year.
SMS marketing has seen a huge uplift in popularity in recent years, with big brands investing in the technology to better engage with their customers. There are so many benefits of SMS marketing, from the ability to directly to reach customers with your communications, to the fact that over 80% of SMS texts are read. With over approximately 90% of the world receiving mobile coverage, you’re highly likely to be able to reach your audience, regardless of where they are. SMS marketing is cost effective, and campaigns are quick to develop, in as short a time period as the time it takes to write a text message. This gives you the advantage of being able to communicate quickly, and effectively with customers, reacting to information almost instantaneously. With so many reasons to use SMS marketing, we’ve highlighted four sectors successfully using SMS messaging as case studies to highlight the advantages of investing in the technology.
In the 21st century, it’s easy to lose track of all the technology needed to make you the biggest profit and improve your reputation. With our simple SMS services, you can drag your business into the modern age with relative ease, reducing missed appointments and increasing your bottom line.