Consumer behaviour changes rapidly— today, mobile devices are becoming more personal than ever.
People are spending more time texting than doing anything else on their phones. It’s expected that 48.7 million people will opt-in to company communications via text by 2020.
So, what does this mean for you? We start by going over the basics of SMS marketing and the best practices to safely grow your business in this age of mobile messaging.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is the process of using short message service (SMS) text to create relationships and satisfy customers.
Text marketers focus on respectful and compliant communications. They drive leads and interest in products and services, which can involve writing positioning, imagery, and click-to-purchase options.
The instantaneous and personal feel of SMS marketing makes it attractive for businesses. 85% of mobile users prefer SMSs from a company over email and phone, according to AT&T. They also statistically open texts and click-through in record-high numbers compared to other marketing channels.
SMS marketing best practices
#1. Get permission
Text will always be a valuable marketing tool; but before sending messages, you must get permission.
If a prospective customer doesn’t give you consent, you could face legal problems. Texting without permission also feels ‘spammy’ — definitely not a good look for your company.
Don’t upload a list of phone numbers or contacts manually and start sending stuff. People forget when they opt-in to lists all the time, so make sure you keep a record of people opt-in agreements.
#2. Set expectations
You should specify how many texts you’ll send each week or month. This lets people know when they’ll hear from you, so they won’t be bothered by your messages.
Kelly Mirabella, a Certified ManyChat Educator Partner, adds to this:
“With SMS Marketing, you need to be clear about what a subscriber is getting, when they are getting it, and you have to follow through. Are they getting promotions or news? What is it you’re going to be texting them? Text messaging is very personal to users, so you have to set expectations to see better engagement for your campaigns.”
Besides, no one wants to receive a ton of messages from any business anyway. Try to stay between two to six texts per month.
#3. Keep the context in mind
When designing SMS marketing campaigns, resist the urge to send random messages to subscribers.
Contextually relevant texts are much more likely to get a click-through, which can mean higher conversion rates.
For example, if you have a promoted event on Tuesday night, send a text Tuesday afternoon. If you want to run a bar special, send your message at 3 or 4 PM on a workday versus 8 AM.
Keep it simple — you’ll avoid getting pinged as spam, and you’ll see better results.
#4. Own a keyword
You must create easy ways for people to opt-in to your SMS marketing.
Reserve certain keywords for people to text and subscribe with. When people text your short code — or special five or six-digit number for your business — with the keyword, you can respond back with an automated and customisation response.
Marketers should treat this as a fun opportunity to connect with potential subscribers.
#5. Use short and close-ended messages
Keep messages short.
Long messages may appear ‘spammy’ and lack purpose, so keeping your text concise is important to improve click-through rates.
“One of my biggest best practices for text messaging: Be shorter than short. People don’t want back-to-back messages in their texts, which means you need to be straight to the point. You can then take people from text to Messenger where you have more flexibility with how much copy and content you send.” Kelly Mirabella
The message below is a great example of a short and clear message. It’s conversational, shows exactly what the receiver needs to do next, and why:
#6. Drive traffic to other marketing channels
When collecting leads from your SMS campaign, it’s a good idea to move them onto other marketing channels as well.
Use text conversation to start building the relationship, then encourage people onto other platforms such as Messenger bot or YouTube channel. Make sure you’re not just sending promotional texts in hopes of a sale.
You can also use texts to recoup lost sales opportunities. For example, Framesbuy, an eCommerce glasses store, uses text marketing to reduce abandon cart rates. Customers give their phone number at the beginning of their buying process. If someone leaves items in their cart, the company sends a coupon code for them to apply to their deserted cart.
#7. Offer to opt-out
Subscribers need to know they can opt-out from your texts any time. So, whenever possible, add “text STOP to cancel” at the end of your response.
When someone opt-ins into your list, you must include this. Occasional texts throughout your text sequence should also include an opt-out option. Some people may not want to receive your messages anymore, and you need to give them an easy way to do so.
Today, everyone has a smartphone and they spend their days browsing, scrolling, and texting. By meeting them where they are, your business can harness a cost-effective and simple channel that drives success.
Text and Messenger Marketing make a powerful and conversational medium to build relationships with your customers.
It’s time to get started.
Author: Pariken Claire