Marketing moves fast, and the fastest way to reach consumers today is through their smartphones. Text marketing allows your message to immediately appear on a consumer’s screen — not buried in their email inbox or on a search results page. In fact, texts have an open rate five times greater than email (98% compared to 20%), according to an Acxiom-supported research study, and SMS is more cost-effective than other forms of marketing such as paid social or direct mail.
Most marketing pros have heard about text messaging’s impressive response rates, and many employ this strategy in some form. But for those who have not yet jumped on board, it’s not too late. These best practices will ensure your first text marketing campaign is a success.
1. Make messages personal and relevant
Automatically insert specific contact data such as a first name or appointment date to personalize messages using tokens. Carefully consider and craft your content — messages should make your customers’ lives better in some way and clearly demonstrate your offering’s relevance to them as a consumer.
2. Reserve a great keyword
Secure a unique keyword that leads can use to opt-in to receive text messages. Pro tip: Before selecting a keyword, type the word on a mobile device to ensure it won’t be changed by autocorrect when typed. Choose a keyword your customers can easily remember and avoid any special characters. For example, a footwear retail chain might use the keyword SHOES — something simple and contextual. If you’re using a keyword for a short-term campaign, keep the keyword active for a few weeks after the promo has ended to allow for signups by users who may have missed the promotion but are still interested in joining your list.
3. Make your message pop
Images and videos can be powerful in a text message, and a good text marketing platform should allow you to send MMS messages aka picture messaging. Providing visual content beyond the written message will improve text open rates and increase customer engagement. Highlight your product, staff or store using visuals within your text marketing.
4. Shorten URLs
Use a URL shortener to free up more characters in your messages. With the right link-shortening tool, your team will be able to track and analyze clicks, allowing you to understand how customers engage with your messages. With this information, you can tailor messages to your customers’ needs based on interactions with your message.
5. Create urgency
Research shows that 90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. Leverage the immediacy of text marketing to create a sense of urgency. When your contacts know time or supplies are running out, they will be more likely to act on your offers. Calls to action (CTAs) are also valuable in a marketing text message. Tell your contacts exactly what to do with the information in your texts by prompting them to reply, call or click on a link.
6. Make your text offers exclusive
Consumers respond more positively to texts including exclusive offers not found in email or social media. Offer text-only coupons or deals, encouraging customers to share opt-in information with friends and family so more subscribers can benefit from the offer.
7. Choose a consistent cadence
Boost sign-ups by letting customers know how often they can expect to receive marketing texts before or when they opt-in. Your confirmation text to a new opt-in can include this information along with instructions for how to opt out. Conduct research on how frequently you want to send messages and stick to your rhythm. For consistency and convenience, send your texts through a text-marketing platform with functionality for scheduling messages to be sent at a specific time and responding automatically with a preset message.
8. Test campaign types
Many marketers approach text messaging with one use case in mind and are surprised by how many ways there are to use text messages. Take the time to examine which campaign type is best for your audience and marketing goals. Campaigns can include birthday messages, billing reminders and appointment scheduling, just to name a few.
9. Respond to replies
Text messaging makes it easy to have conversations, and your contacts are already used to conversing over text. If a contact makes the effort to reply to a marketing text, take a few moments to respond. Consumers will appreciate the time you take to answer questions and make a personal connection.
Don’t wait to take advantage of this high customer engagement marketing tactic. Try these tips to develop an effective text marketing strategy. Your customers will appreciate interacting with your business in a personal, familiar and accessible medium.