The average American checks their phone 47 times a day. The average open rate for text messaging marketing campaigns is 90%. Nearly all (90%) of short message services (SMS) messages are read within 3 minutes, and SMS messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, Facebook, or email.
These numbers illustrate the potential of using text messages in mobile marketing strategies. Text messaging marketing can open new avenues for connecting with customers and getting them to interact with your brand. But before embarking on a mobile marketing campaign, you must follow these rules to comply with the law:
Get permission. A customer must give permission for you to send them text messages. There are two types of consent for a text messaging campaign: written consent and consent by keyword. Written consent means that someone signed up to receive your texts. Consent by keyword comes into play when your business sets up a specific keyword for a campaign. Then someone who texts that keyword is expressing consent by doing so.
Disclaimers and opt out. By law, you must include a disclaimer stating that “Mgs and Data rates” may apply with the texts you send to let the customer know they might be charged for the text (the same as any other). You must also legally include an opt-out option. It is a best practice and gives the customer the chance to stop texts coming from you at any time. The opt-out option and honoring it can build trust and creditability for your brand. It’s as easy as stating “Text STOP to unsubscribe.”
To make a text messaging campaign successful and garner responses and engagement from customers, marketers should heed these six best practices:
1) Pay attention to the actual message
Marketers only get 160 characters to work within a text message. Therefore, aim for a sharp, concise message that gets your point across and offers value to the recipient. They might have shown interest and opted in to receive your texts, but it’s just as easy for them to opt out if they think you’re wasting their time. As with any marketing communication, you should strive for as much relevance and personalization as possible. Resist the temptation to use abbreviations in your text to save space, as that can look unprofessional. Instead, work at crafting a short, impactful message that’s useful for the recipient.
2) Consistency and visibility
Use your other channels, such as email and social, to advertise your text messaging campaign and to illustrate how people can sign up. When someone has signed up, keep in touch. Regularly send texts to engage with them. However, don’t go overboard by sending too many texts, as that can irritate a customer and not only cause them to opt out but also leave a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to your brand.
Consider sending two to four texts a month, meaning one every week or every two weeks. That way, you are keeping in touch but aren’t overloading your recipients. However, every customer and business are different. Pay attention to your engagement rates and metrics to determine what your optimal frequency should be.
4) Times to send and reply to a response
Common sense should tell you not to send texts in the middle of the night or at an inconvenient time. Business hours would likely work the best. However, make sure you communicate quickly back when a customer responds–even if it is only an automated message–to keep them engaged.
5) Offer value other channels don’t
If someone has signed up to receive your texts, consider sending them information and content that they can’t get from your emails, social, blog, website, and other channels. Make it worth their while to sign up for your texts (and other channels) by giving them something different on each. Do you want to give an example here? Like a discount, special access, sneak peek (link to the other blog).
6) Use MMS
Multimedia messaging services (MMS) allow you to use visuals, video, and gifs when you send a text. It also lets you to use up to 1,600 characters of text. The campaign and the tone you are trying to strike will dictate if a MMS is right and what media to use. Do you want to give some guidelines on when MMS might work well?
Find out how to “Go Further with Mobile Marketing” to see how you can fine-tune your strategy and make it an even more integral part of your marketing.