Are mass text messages really a good way to promote your business? Won’t they just annoy your customers?
No, they won’t! If you haven’t tried SMS marketing yet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective it can be at bringing in new customers and bringing old ones back. SMS text marketing is an affordable way to reach your customers through a channel that they’re willing to engage with. Let’s take a look at the basics of SMS marketing, so you can start to integrate this strategy into your overall marketing campaign.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS message marketing allows you to send promotional offers, company news, coupons, and other information directly to customers via text message. It’s a more personal means of spreading your brand message, because you can communicate with customers through text just as if you were a friend or family member. You can send bulk SMS to entire segments of your customer base, or you can send more individualized messages to specific individuals. Using SMS marketing, you can bypass all the noise on customers’ phones and reach them where they are.
The FCC Regulates Text Message Marketing
There are several reputable online SMS messaging services you can use to send bulk or individual marketing texts. But before you send your first marketing text, familiarize yourself with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines regarding marketing text messages. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), you’re required to get permission in writing from each customer to whom you plan to send marketing texts.
You can get that written permission by having your customers text a keyword to your SMS service, or you can have them sign up online through a form on your website (or one in a pop-up ad that appears when users navigate to your website). You could even have them sign an old-fashioned piece of paper. Once customers enroll, you’re free to send marketing texts between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. The TCPA places limits on how many texts you can send in a given period. You’re also required to send customers an opt-in message, giving them all the details they need about your messaging service, including a link to the terms and conditions and opt-out instructions.
Get to the Point
A marketing text message is no place to be long-winded. SMS marketing texts have a 98 percent open rate, because customers voluntarily sign up only for the marketing messages they’re most interested in. But the brevity of messages plays a role, too. If customers know your messages are going to be long, boring, and maybe even confusing, they’re going to stop opening them at best and unsubscribe at worst.
Instead, keep your messages short and sweet. Your marketing texts should be straightforward, simple, and under 160 characters. Use this formula: start with an opener or greeting, briefly relay the details of the offer, explain how they can redeem the offer, and then wrap up with an opt-out reminder.
Those of your customers who sign up for your SMS loyalty program will already be more engaged than customers who haven’t signed up for marketing texts. That’s because the customers who join your loyalty program are those who know they like your products and definitely want discounts, specials, and promotions from your business.
That said, you can boost customer engagement with your SMS text messaging program by offering special deals they won’t get anywhere else. Customers will be more inclined not just to open your text messages, but actually act on them if they’re getting exclusive offers. You can also strive to make your SMS loyalty program more interactive, with surveys and polls, and bring it across channels by encouraging customers to engage with your brand in other channels, such as on social media, or even by looking out for your messaging in more traditional channels.
If you want to keep engagement high, though, try not to send too many messages. No one wants multiple daily marketing messages in their SMS inbox, no matter how much they like the company. Of course, there might be some situations in which texting multiple times a day is acceptable — for example, if you run a food truck and want to give your customers a heads up about where you’ll be for lunch and dinner today. But for many businesses, it will be sufficient to stick to one or two special offers per week.
Give Customers a Way Out
It’s not just the law that you have to give your customers a way to opt out of SMS marketing texts — it’s good business practice. Customers would be much more reluctant to sign up for marketing texts if they weren’t sure that they could stop getting them later. Giving customers a clear opt-out option from the beginning gives them confidence that they won’t be bombarded with spam they don’t want.
Marketing your business via SMS is a smart way to reach customers on the most personal level. SMS marketing lets you offer both exclusivity and savings — a great combination. Start putting your SMS marketing campaign together now, and grow your business even more.