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Best Text Marketing Practices

What is text message marketing and how can you use it? Read this blog to discover the best practices you need to know before implementing text marketing!

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10 min read
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We are all familiar with text messaging, but maybe not so much text marketing. So, what exactly is text marketing? Text marketing is a more intimate, direct digital marketing strategy that businesses use to send out promotional messages via text. This communication tool has been — and will continue to be — in the spotlight because of its proven ability to thrive in our current mobile driven economy.

  • Text marketing opens up businesses to communicate with highly receptive audiences;
  • It has unparalleled open rates;
  • It’s easy and there is no learning curve for the customer because texting doesn’t require any new skills; and 
  • The promotions are successful because they are delivered to current and prospective customers on the device they're already using.

Text marketing has a 98 percent engagement rate, which is far superior to any other form of digital marketing. Just to give you an idea, the response rate for text marketing is 45 percent, compared to just 6 percent for email. Text messages grab consumers attention like no other form of marketing. 

When you think about it, it makes sense. When you receive a text message, what do you do? You open it and read it (or at least check it). 90 percent of all text messages are read within 3 seconds. 

Our phones are so ingrained into our everyday lives, it seems natural to have it on us at all times. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that 91 percent of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7 — without it, we feel naked.

Text marketing uses the consumers native communication method (texting), which is installed by default into every phone. This enables you, as a business, to engage with subscribers without requiring them to download an app or create an account. It’s easy and effortless on the receiver's end. As a subscriber, I can receive a promotional message, act on it and then go about my day with little to no inconvenience.

Businesses (in all verticals) love text marketing because it builds customer loyalty and generates sales. It is a simple, yet efficient communication strategy that taps into the lucrative market of texting.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what text marketing is, let's dive into the best practices.

 

Text Marketing Practice #1: Get Permission

The golden rule of text message marketing is getting a person's permission. Without permission, you can’t even get a foot in the door. You have to secure the legal right to communicate with your customers through text or you may run into legal trouble down the road.

Getting permission is critical to making your text marketing efforts successful. No one wants to receive unsolicited texts they didn't agree to or from a business they've never heard of. You can try to get your customers to opt-in by incentivizing with:

  • Special offers;
  • New product updates;
  • Sneak peaks; or
  • Other information only available to them when they opt-in.

You can have customers opt-in through:

  • Online forms;
  • Raffle/contest entries; or
  • Texting a keyword to a mobile number or short code. 

A short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that is used by businesses to opt-in consumers to their text message programs. Once opted in, the short code is used to send messages for offers, promo codes, product or service updates and more to those specific customers.

CRM mobile app

 

Text Marketing Practice #2: Set Clear Expectations

Have you ever agreed to receive promotional messages from a business and then instantly regretted it because your entire inbox gets spammed with junk? Yup, it’s happened to us all. 

Nothing is worse than being deceptive about what to expect. Getting text messages from a business sounds great in theory, and it can be when this marketing strategy is used appropriately. As a business owner, you need to let people know exactly what they are getting into before opting in.

Be clear about the following:

  • Frequency 
  • Content 
  • Purpose 

Being misleading is a sure way to lose customers and push them to immediately opt-out, even if they’re interested in your business.  

 

Text Marketing Practice #3:Add Value in Every Message

You never want a customer thinking “why am I receiving this?” Make sure every message counts. Provide information that is relevant to the customer. Yes, we can all appreciate a well crafted message, but that won’t get you more business.

You can try adding more value with special discounts, perks and other exclusive offers that are beneficial to them. Here's an example:

Hi (First Name)!

We noticed that you added a few items to your cart, but forgot to complete your checkout. We want to offer you an additional 15% off your entire order if you place it in the next 30 minutes. Use promo code: SAVE15

Adding value to a message is simple and straightforward. A message like this won't only make a customer appreciate your text marketing efforts, it will also encourage them to make a purchase — it's a win-win situation all around.

 

Text Marketing Practice #4: Personalize Each Message

Make sure your prospective customers don’t feel like just another name on a long list of contacts. It’s all about getting personal. Including their first name as well as a personalized reference to a relevant event or promotion will go a long way.

It’s also important to make sure you aren't sending out mass text messages to everyone, when it's only relevant to a certain group of your contacts. You can use audience segmentation to target specific groups on your list and cater to their unique needs. This will allow you to create a more effective messaging strategy.

For example, offering first-time customers a promo code for their first purchase is great. This is a perfect way to bring in new customers and encourage them to make a purchase. However, long term customers wouldn’t benefit from this at all. Instead, they could receive messages referencing a receipt of purchase, a seasonal promotion or an update on new products or services that your business recently started offering. 

 

Text Marketing Practice #5: Offer Text Only Deals 

Everyone loves to feel like they are getting a great deal. Offering exclusive deals over text is an excellent way to do this. 

Convince consumers to opt-in by offering a reward for engaging with the program — make the reward something they can't pass up. An example would be to send a generous promo code (that can be applied to their first purchase) directly to their mobile phone. This will get new customers excited about your text only deals and create hype about your business in general. 

This concept doesn’t only apply to first time customers. You can use text-only perks to reward loyal shoppers by granting them elite status, exclusive discounts, specials and unique coupons that are only available to them when sent to their mobile phone. 

This will entice customers — new and old — to opt-in so that they are eligible to receive their rewards. 

mobile CRM

 

Text Marketing Practice #6:

Use a Call to Action

Always include a call to action (CTA) button at the end of the message (or whenever you deem appropriate). These typically include a phone number, email, or link. Some examples are:

  • Click here
  • Buy now 
  • Learn more 
  • Call now

You can use these examples as a guide, but be creative with it and tailor your CTA to the specific message.

A CTA should do the following:

  • Grab the consumer’s attention;
  • Opt a person into a campaign; and
  • Provide some kind of special offer with clear value to the consumer.

If your CTA doesn't do any of the above, it's probably best you rethink your strategy. 

The CTA will usually direct the customer to a person or website with more information, so there is no need to complicate it. Make the CTA simple and ensure that it is always easy to find. 

 

Text Marketing Practice #7: Keep it Short and Concise 

Imagine getting a novel sent to your phone. You start reading, but it never ends...you scroll down and the words keep on coming. Next step: Unsubscribe.

The attention span of an average consumer is roughly 8.25 seconds, so if you want to reach them, you have to make it short. In order to make your text marketing a success, craft messages that are creative but concise. In this case, less is more. Consider capping your messages at 160 characters max.

This rule is also applicable for when you respond to a customer. Setting up an auto-response that is catered to a customer’s text message is great. You never want to leave your customer hanging. But again, keep the automated message short and try avoid any language that sounds automated. Don’t make it feel like spam or that’s exactly where it’ll end up.

Bottom line? Keep it short and sweet.


Text Marketing Practice #8: Don’t Text Too Often

Have you ever been inundated with unwanted texts? And it got to the point where you even considered blocking the phone number? As a business, you don’t want to be that person who can’t take a hint. In other words, don’t overdo it with the texts or people will opt-out or get annoyed.

Yes, the main purpose of text message marketing is to send promotional messages, but it also has to be relevant and provide value to the customer. Keep in mind that incessantly sending out mass texts to customers will only drive them away — even if they are well-intentioned messages.

Being given access to a customer’s personal phone number is a privilege; don’t abuse the power. Avoid coming off as bothersome or intrusive. You have to know when it’s appropriate to send messages and when it’s not. For example: 

  • Sending 3 promotional text messages in one day about an irrelevant offer: unacceptable. 
  • Sending a weekly text message regarding a special promotion going on at a nearby location: appropriate.

You can monitor who unsubscribes from your texts and why, to get a better idea of what works for your business. When and what you deliver in your text messages should correlate with the guidelines you provide when a consumer opts-in — make sure they match up.

 

Text Marketing Practice #9: Provide Clear Instructions on How to Exit

A breakup is never fun, but sometimes it has to happen. Customers need to be able to easily opt-out and stop receiving your promotional messages if that's what they want. You shouldn't make it hard. Opting out should be a simple process in order to avoid complaints and angry customers.

To make the most out of a bad situation, you can include a short multiple choice survey asking the customer their reason for leaving. It could look something like this:

We're sad to see you go! Please let us know your reason for leaving: 

1) I receive too many messages

2) The messages aren't relevant to me

3) I never signed up for this

4) I no longer wish to receive promotional text messages

5) Other. Please explain ___________________

 

You can then use this feedback to improve your practices and texting strategies in the future.

It's Time to Start Text Message Marketing 

With millions of consumers glued to their mobile phones, it’s no surprise that businesses are refining their marketing efforts and diving into the lucrative realm of text message marketing. When done correctly, text marketing can be an incredibly efficient and powerful marketing channel that can do wonders for your business — but you have to do it right.

Don’t get me wrong, text marketing is great, but that doesn't mean you can forget about your other marketing strategies altogether. Instead, try blending your other marketing platforms with your texting efforts to create one cohesive and persuading campaign that drives big results for your business.

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