Have you started text message marketing but aren’t yet seeing the results you anticipated? Not to worry, we’ve outlined 7 tips for improving your text message marketing.
1. Realize that text message marketing isn’t limited to just marketing
A lot of the tools that marketers use on a daily basis were originally designed for commercial or sales purposes – including text messaging. That is, text messages were once more often than not used by companies to sell directly to their customers or potential customers. But it wasn’t until people started thinking about the extra applications of text messaging that there were suddenly more ways to start using the service. What was once a method used to blast sales-related content has now evolved to become a highly intelligent, personalized service to convenience the customer.
Information like reminders, verifications and passwords, and last minute updates can all be sent directly to your customers as can sales-related material. And it’s a channel that people prefer to communicate with. A 2012 study found that text was the highest rated contact method for customer satisfaction out of all other customer communication channels. Text earned 90 out of 100 points, while phone earned 77 out of 100 and Facebook earned 66. That’s pretty impressive for a communication channel that uses less than 160 characters in each message.
2. Know the difference between transactional and marketing text messages
The content with your text message will be dictated by the purpose of your text messages. For example, are you sending text messages to contacts with no established a relationship? (e.g. potential customers, leads etc). Or are you sending purely sales-related content to contacts? (e.g. special offers or discount). If you answered yes to either of these examples then it’s likely that you will need to include a method for opting out, such as an opt-out code.
The only time that you can omit a way to opt-out is by sending a transactional text message; an SMS which contains information that the recipient has consented to receive. For example, reminders or new passwords/verification codes.
3. Source your contact numbers ethically
Perhaps the number one rule for all text message marketing activities and campaigns is that you must source your numbers ethically. Not only is this a best practice but it’s a legal requirement. Depending on where your company is located and to whom you are marketing to, you will need to follow the rules of your location. For those in the US, that means following the CAN-SPAM Act. For those in the EU that means following FEDMA. (Swedes can check their rules and guidelines over at SWEDMA).
4. Keep your text message short
This is for the benefit of both you and the recipient. Let’s start with the recipient.
Keeping your text message at a total length of one SMS (160 characters) ensures that the content you include in your text is only the most crucial and need-to-know. The alternative (writing an elaborate and lengthy message), kind of goes against the point of what text messages were designed for in the first place. Of course there are exceptions but as a general rule, try to keep your text message nice and short for the convenience of your recipient.
The added bonus of sending shorter text messages is that you’ll also cut your own costs. If you’re sending text messages that are actually the equivalent of three separate messages, you’ll find your cost quickly goes up. Now, it might not seem like a lot on an individual basis but if you calculate how much this happens on a per campaign and annual basis, you’ll quickly see that you’ve spent two to event three times the amount you expected to – without even noticing.
5. Use custom fields
If you want to create an exceptional customer experience for individual customers then you need to treat each communication as unique. This means that your text messages also need to be tailored to the individual. You can do this by using custom fields such as your recipient’s first name, company, city, job title – whatever is relevant to the content of your text message and the customer experience with your business. Take a look at some examples below:
6. Set a budget
If you’re finding that you’re simply not getting enough return value on your current text message marketing, it might be time to revisit your budget.
It may be that you’re spending too much on customers that simply aren’t converting into larger value. Or perhaps you aren’t spending enough on your customers (too small of a contact list for example). Regardless of which category you fall into, revisit your goals and evaluate if your current text message marketing spend is putting you on track to reach those goals.
7. Check your statistics
It’s important to measure the statistics of your text message since it’s possible that some contacts may have not received your SMS. This might be due to service provider issues, numbers being temporarily unavailable or numbers are no longer is in use. If you are noticing that your text messages aren’t reaching your recipients then make the effort to resend them or attempt to connect with them through another channel (such as email).
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Updated Aug 2022. The article was written in 2016.