The Do's and Don'ts of Text Message Marketing

The Do's and Don'ts of Text Message Marketing

May 10, 2016 by Lynn Bates

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Mobile marketing and ecommerce is a rapidly growing field. Marketers are shifting their efforts toward mobile devices using great tools such as mobile web optimization, QR codes, and text message marketing.

Text message marketing or SMS marketing has become hugely popular around the world because texting enables marketers communicate easily, immediately, and effectively their audiences. SMS marketing has become a favorite amongst small businesses in particular because it is easy to set up, use and offers a great ROI. Although sending out a quick text may seem is easy, marketers need to use caution and learn the best practices for SMS marketing success.

Text message marketing isn't just about shooting off texts and hoping they'll bring in customers. SMS marketing is an art form, just like any other form of communication. With a little thought, creativity, and planning, you can increase your conversion rates with SMS marketing. Here are a few Do's and Don’t's when it comes to using text messages:

Do

Comply with the Rules

There are three entities that govern the mobile industry, specifically SMS. The CTIAFCC, and the Mobile Marketing Association. These entities monitor things like opt-in procedures, disclaimer messages, frequency, permission, etc. It's important to understand the rules of SMS prior to launching a campaign. If you ever have questions about SMS marketing compliance please don’t hesitate to contact the mobile marketing experts at Mobilozophy.

To comply with the wireless carriers, you need to include:

  • STOP and HELP, instructions
  • Frequency
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Business entity (Program Sponsor)
  • Disclosure of additional carrier charges
You also need to ensure that any recurring SMS optin program is following the double opt-in procedure, where by a mobile subscriber is not opted-in to a program unless he/she has confirmed the opt-in via their handset. (or something like this needs to be added)

 

Properly Build Your Contacts List

Build your contacts list by simply asking for your prospects' and customers' numbers. Ask if they would like to receive communications from you, just like you would for an email list. This way, you have permission and you know that you're communicating with people who already have an interest in your business. Buying mobile phone numbers from a vendor is never a good idea and can have serious consequences. Think about it. Why would a person you've never interacted with want to hear from you? And why should those people take positive action from those texts? Build your contacts list strategically and honestly. Target your communication to people who are interested in hearing from you to get the most out of SMS marketing. 

Add Value

You should always have a good reason for your marketing texts. Avoid using overly "salesy" language in your messages, and offer something of value to the recipients. While it's okay to send out a coupon codes once and a while it's not the only way a text message should be used. Appointment reminders, order notifications, event information and an invitation to enter a special sweepstakes are all great examples of how you can use text messaging. 

Text messaging isn't just part of the sales process. It offers a great opportunity to add a personal touch to your communications. Fun, simple messages can bring a smile to your audience and remind them that your business values them. Holidays are great occasions to send out cheerful greetings like "Happy New Year," or "Happy Halloween." Your SMS marketing contacts are some of your most loyal customers, so send them information that they find valuable. The bottom line is to make subscribers feel valuable. Otherwise, they will most likely opt-out of receiving any future texts from you.

Use a Call to Action

All of your marketing efforts should include a call-to-action (CTA) so that the next step is clear. Whether you want subscribers to forward the message to friends, download your app or visit your web page, make your CTAs clear and easy to understand. 

Test

Don't forget to check your links and spelling before directing your subscribers there. Additionally, you'll want to make sure that the page they've landed on is mobile friendly. It’s a simple task that can avoid a lot of frustration on your customers’ end.

 

Don't

Send at the Wrong Time

Relevancy and timing is crucial to the success of your text message marketing campaign. Late night or early morning text messages can be very annoying and disruptive. Of course, people can disable alerts during select times but many don't. When sending text messages, keep to normal business hours and think carefully about how often you send out messages. Too many texts or texts at the wrong time can very quickly become a nuisance.

Mislead Subscribers

Customer relationships are built on trust. Don't break that trust my sending the subscriber to a link that doesn't mimic the offer. If you're promoting your app, don't send subscribers to your home page. Send them directly to the app download landing page. If subscribers feel that things are too time consuming or irrelevant they won’t be subscribers for long.

Send Long Messages

160 characters is the magic number for text messages. Longer messages can lead to multiple sends and leads to confusion and frustration. Think about it: getting multiple texts in a row and trying to figure out which order they came in isn't a great experience. If your message requires more than 160 characters, consider sending subscribers to a link on your website. 

Use Too Many Abbreviations

You may use text abbreviations in your messages to friends and family but it's not always a good idea to use it for business. Avoid using “u” for “you” or "ty" for "thank you". These abbreviations can seem unprofessional. Your SMS marketing strategy should only include abbreviations which are widely known by your audience and reflect the image of your brand.

Forget to Identify Yourself

This one sounds like a no-brainer but can sometimes be overlooked. Don't forget to identify yourself with your url and/or company name in your messaging.

Here's what it looks like:

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Making Text Messaging Marketing Work

Text messaging isn’t just another distribution channel. When interacting with your customers via SMS, always remember to use them wisely and adhere to these simple dos and don'ts. One text message can not only delight your subscribers with a more personalized experience, but also humanize your brand and help you create a stronger relationship.

Topics: Text Messaging

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