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Engagement: Choosing the Right Delivery Channel
Engagement: Choosing the Right Delivery Channel

A comprehensive guide to effective communication strategies and best practices when it comes to email vs. text messaging

Erika Gardner avatar
Written by Erika Gardner
Updated over a week ago

In today's digital age, sending text messages (also known as direct or SMS messages) has become a go-to method for businesses to connect with their customers. But have you ever stopped to think about how many texts you're sending and why? Let's dive into it!

Mastering Text Messages: Finding the Right Balance

At Dental Intelligence, we've noticed that some of our users are sending a ton of SMS messages –– more than what's typical. We get it, SMS is super handy for things like appointment reminders and payments. But sending too many texts can actually end up costing you more money! We're here to help.

Let's take a closer look at how you're using text messaging and figure out where all those messages are coming from and find ways to cut back without sacrificing communication with your patients. Maybe it's tweaking the wording of your messages or being a bit more selective with who gets them.

Delivery Channel Best Practices

Knowing when to use email versus text messaging can significantly impact the effectiveness of your communication strategy. Here's a breakdown of situations where each channel shines:

Text Messaging

  • Timely Reminders: For time-sensitive reminders like appointment confirmations or upcoming appointments, text messaging is highly effective due to its immediacy and likelihood of being read promptly.

  • Short and Concise Updates: When communicating brief, essential information such as appointment reminders, changes in office hours, or urgent day-of updates, text messaging's brevity ensures that the message is delivered and understood quickly.

  • Personalized Outreach: Text messaging fosters a more intimate connection with recipients, making it ideal for personalized outreach efforts such as birthday wishes, follow-up messages after appointments, or patient review requests.


  • Detailed Information: When you need to convey extensive or complex information such as appointment details, treatment plans, or comprehensive updates, email provides ample space for detailed explanations.

  • Formal Communication: For official announcements, policy changes, or professional correspondence, email maintains a formal tone and is often the preferred method of communication in business settings.

  • Non-urgent Matters: Email is suitable for non-urgent matters that don't require an immediate response. It allows recipients to review and respond at their convenience, making it ideal for less time-sensitive communications.

Patient Messaging Limitations

Engagement has set limits for texts and emails that are sent in bulk:

Texts: 250 per hour for bulk messaging

Emails: 15,000 per campaign for bulk messaging

Why are direct messages limited to 250 messages/hour? Text messages should only be used to send important office updates to impacted patients. Sending mass text messages runs the risk of the number being flagged as marketing/spam by carriers and not being able to communicate with patients via text. If your filtered list exceeds 250 patients, try using the age filter to reduce the size of your list.

While email is preferable for conveying detailed or formal information and handling non-urgent matters, text messaging excels in delivering timely reminders, concise updates, and personalized communication. As a general rule of best practices, marketing should always be done via email. By understanding the strengths of each channel and matching them to the appropriate context, businesses can optimize their communication efforts to better engage with their audience and enhance the overall customer experience.

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