If you want to effectively communicate with a massive audience, especially during a time-sensitive situation, you need a mass notification system that’s fast, secure, and far-reaching. Your mass notification system is the vehicle transporting your message and it’s paramount you can fully rely on its abilities.
But, there’s also another important factor to ensuring you reach your audiences in the most efficient way possible: crafting smart notifications. In addition to the sophisticated software you use to distribute your message, there’s also the how and what you deliver in that communication that plays a large role in keeping individuals safe and informed, and your entire organization connected.
6 Tips for Creating Efficient Notifications to Your Audiences
- Leverage templates for incident-specific scenarios
We can’t stress this enough: plan ahead. You never know when a critical situation will occur.
According to the Business Continuity Institute, in a 2015 report, “the common triggers of emergency communications plans are 50% unplanned IT outages, 49% weather-related incidents, 47% power outages, 45% natural disasters, and 42% fires.”
Within your mass notification system, we recommend using the notification template tool so in an emergency or time-sensitive situation, you can quickly deploy a pre-created and pre-approved communication to your audience. This will save you time and allow you to execute a thoughtfully-crafted response to a critical event more urgently. Review the common triggers from BCI (listed above) and consider any incidents that may affect your organization. Then, write notification scripts and save them as templates.
- Write clear messages that are easy to understand
Be sure to include only the most critical, directive information, providing facts and instruction. In the body of your notification, as applicable and as it makes sense for your organization: report the event, include when and where the incident took place (if necessary), and then give specific direction, or your recommendation, for the course of action.
In order to easily familiarize your audience with your messages, make sure to use a “from” email address, or “reply” address, that’s easy for your audience to recognize, so the recipient will know to respond accordingly.
Messages should be short in length and easy to read within 30 seconds or less, allowing the recipient of the message to consume the information, respond, and take action as fast as possible.
- Target your audience
Advanced grouping and geo-targeting features within your mass notification system are an absolute must when sending smart notifications. Thoughtful audience grouping and real-time location awareness of all your users allows you to send messages to the right people at the right time. It’s particularly important that you’re considerate of sending notifications during location-specific emergencies. For example, you would not want to send a message about a ‘shooter in the building’ to your office in Chicago, when the incident is taking place in your Dallas office. Causing unnecessary panic for those who are not in the face of danger can be damaging to both the organization and audience.
Geo-fencing and grouping give you the tools to be sensitive to addressing the different needs of your different audiences, wherever they’re located and whatever incident is taking place.
- Get the timing right
During an emergency, your messages’ delivery time is crucial to a person’s well-being. Deploying a message quickly in response to an incident is absolutely necessary.
However, always consider the urgency of the message because an important notification at the wrong time can actually be disruptive. Is this a message that needs to be consumed for next week’s ‘ice storm,’ but you accidentally sent it too early? Definitely consider sending messages at a convenient time for your recipients, so they receive it when it’s top of mind, easy for them to respond, and most important.
- Use multiple channels for delivery
Before you send a message, think through where your people will be. What’s the best way to reach them? Your options are text message alert, voice call, email, app push notification, social media posts, and any custom channels you have set up. Select as many or as few channels that make sense with regard to the message you’re sending, the channels your people use, and the urgency. If this is a true emergency, you should include as many channels as you can – to make sure each person receives the message over one available channel.
When it comes to choosing your channels:
- Personalize each message format. You’ll want a text message with fewer words than, say, an email. For email, you should include a relevant subject line. And for voice call, we recommend recording your own voice message so there’s a familiar voice on the other end of the line.
- If you want to track when each individual receives and reads the message you send, be sure to include “read confirmation” with your notification.
- If you need to collect feedback to make a decision, set up your notification as a survey and poll your audience.
- Test the system and train your staff
Test your system often, and train your staff so they are fluent in sending notifications, and can handle any incoming messages during an emergency.
Sending frequent test notifications will condition your audience to know the dedicated emergency phone number, and know what to expect when emergency notifications are sent out. They’ll learn how to interact with the system as well.
Using the system to send regular business communications or test notifications will also allow you, as an administrator, to keep your mass notification system updated with clean contact data for your people.
Crafting smart communications matters just as much as partnering with the right emergency notification system vendor. AlertMedia knows exactly what you need, and what it takes, to effectively deliver notifications using the most innovative technology on the market, and the highest degree of reliability.