7 Best Practices for SMS & Text Marketing
Welcome to an era where every text is a potential connection, and every relationship can lead to a possible long-term customer.
SMS and text marketing continue to outperform all popular social media applications—a classic method that still boasts the highest open rates.
Curious to know about the ultimate strategies that can skyrocket your business? Keep reading!
Why is SMS marketing still relevant?
Let’s be honest: who would have thought that in this digitally advanced era, with all the messaging apps at our fingertips, businesses would still consider texting their customers via good old SMS?
And let’s remember emails that we religiously check every morning with our first sip of coffee.
The truth is that SMS marketing is still very powerful and will likely remain so for a long time.
We can’t ignore the statistics that clearly tell SMS texts still have the highest open rates, an impressive 98%, which is hard to beat.
This means messages are opened instantly, making SMS an ideal channel for promoting time-sensitive offers, discounts, or limited-time promotions.
As weird and unusual as it sounds, not everyone is a slave to the trends, and there are still many individuals without all the popular social media apps installed.
Since SMS is a standard feature on every type of phone, whether it’s an iPhone or the good old Nokia 3310, if your business targets older people, the chances are that most of them might be using non-smartphones.
Apart from the fact that customers are likely to open texts much faster than checking their email inbox or Facebook, SMS marketing is a more affordable option, making it a win-win situation.
It has lower costs than other channels, allowing businesses to reach a broad demographic without exceeding their budget.
Unlike emails that can get lost in the space, SMS messages are delivered directly to the recipient’s inbox, eliminating the risk of spam or filters.
SMS campaigns are relatively simple to create and implement, requiring minimal resources compared to more complex digital advertising methods.
Even though SMS marketing might seem old-fashioned to some, it remains very interactive and engaging, regardless of the type of business you run—whether it’s in restaurants, retail, healthcare, or beauty.
Discover the incredible impact of bulk SMS on your revenue and business operations.
You can send personalized messages to your customers via MMS, such as brochures, GIFs, emojis, polls, and surveys.
SMS can also serve as a customer service channel, as many customers prefer messaging customer care agents rather than making phone calls.
This demonstrates the versatility of SMS as a communication tool beyond just marketing, enhancing the overall customer experience.
The truth behind SMS marketing – Is it legal?
Simply put, whether text messaging is legal depends on following specific rules.
The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) in the United States has guidelines for text messaging, so if a marketing text violates these rules, there can be a $500-$1500 fine for each violation.
The TCPA allows individuals or entities in a state to take legal action against those who break these rules.
For example, Papa John’s, a pizza company, had to pay $16.3 million for sending unsolicited promotional texts, which violated the rules.
To avoid legal issues, any organization sending text messages should get the recipients’ explicit permission (opt-in consent).
Messages without proper authorization may face measures like delays or blocking.
The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) gives recommendations, but following them is not legally required.
However, it’s advised to understand and follow the law to avoid trouble.
Some recommendations include getting consent before sending messages, tying approval to specific topics, storing consent records, tracking conversations, and respecting opt-out requests.
If someone breaks these rules willfully or knowingly, the court may increase the penalty. So, to keep things legal and avoid problems, businesses need to follow these guidelines.
Proven strategies for successful SMS marketing
Get customers’ consent
As we mentioned earlier, the first and foremost important thing is to ensure you follow regulations like the TCPA to avoid penalties.
There are a few ways you can do this – for example, you can request customers to opt for marketing updates through a form, checkbox, or text-specific keywords.
Consider providing incentives such as a chance for them to win something or get a discount or something for free.
Make sure you explicitly communicate that they are agreeing to receive text messages.
Once you do this, ensure you aren’t too intrusive since no matter how interested customers are in your business or services, no one wants to be overwhelmed with constant ads and messages all the time.
Be mindful of the time when you are sending the messages.
You can send texts once or twice weekly to avoid excessive automated flows, and you can also combine email and Facebook Messenger to maintain a balanced approach.
Rules for text messaging every business should know
Get permission in writing
- Before sending promotional text messages, businesses must ask for written permission.
- Permission can be electronic, like saying “yes” on the phone, clicking a box online, or texting a specific word to a number.
Be specific about the topic and sender
- Permission is for certain topics and sender IDs.
- If someone says “no” to one type of message, businesses can try to get them to say “yes” to another.
Keep a record of permission
- Save the permission in your business records.
- Keep it safe, including details about the topic and sender.
Keep track of conversations
- Record all conversations with each person.
- Save the conversation history in your records.
Make it easy to opt-out
- If someone doesn’t want messages, save them in your records.
- Confirm their choice with one final message.
Follow rules from TCPA and CTIA
- Follow CTIA rules for extra protection, like telling people what your campaign is about, how often you’ll message, and if there are any costs.
- Tell people about future messages, that they’re from an autodialer, and that they don’t have to buy anything.
Clearly explain terms and conditions
- For TCPA, say in your message that people will get future promotions, messages are automated, and agreeing isn’t needed to buy something.
- For CTIA, tell people about your campaign, what to expect, how often, and the costs, and give a link to terms and privacy.
Check and update regularly
- Know if there are new rules for text marketing.
- Keep checking and updating how you do things to follow the rules.
Introduce your business
Don’t assume your clients automatically recognize your SMS contact information.
If you don’t declare your identity upfront, they may not know who is reaching out to them, and this lack of identification could result in them not paying attention to your message.
Follow a simple format by placing your company name at the beginning of the message, followed by a colon.
SMS messages have a 160-character limit, so introducing yourself and providing an opt-out is not much space.
Make sure your message is clear and concise. Use links (and shorteners) to share more details after a brief intro.
Personalized communication: Go beyond the generic messages
In today’s fierce market competition, standing out and gaining your customers’ trust is very hard.
Ask yourself why they should choose your business and engage with you in the first place.
Of course, it’s because of the trust and value they place in your service.
Make sure you make them feel special and appreciated, so sending generic automated messages won’t work.
You want to get to know your customers more personally and closely, so segment them based on their age, gender, and interests, like previous purchases or subscriptions.
You don’t want to advertise the wrong item to the wrong customer since you might risk losing them.
Build fast engagement with loyalty programs and location-based marketing
Also, using location-based marketing can be highly effective in reaching mobile users.
With the help of GPS technology, businesses can send relevant and timely offers to users based on their location, increasing the chances of engagement and conversions.
Integrating a loyalty program lets you build a mobile subscriber list reasonably quickly.
Then, when you want to alert your customers about an event, a sale, or a new product, you can send a text blast out to all of them, and within minutes, it will be seen by 98% of them.
There isn’t another channel that has this instant reach.
With that loyalty program we mentioned, there will be other texts sent to customers due to actions they took or didn’t take, so your brand will stay top of mind consistently.
Strategic approach for best results
To stay ahead in marketing, businesses must constantly look for new and inventive ways to connect with customers.
Test different strategies and keep a close eye on the results of your SMS marketing efforts, analyzing metrics like response rates, opt-out rates, and conversion rates to refine and enhance future campaigns.
Embrace emerging technologies
Implement emerging technologies like AR and VR.
These tools can be used to create incredibly interactive experiences for users.
For example, AR allows customers to try on products, while VR can create virtual tours or simulations.
Implement video content. Develop engaging, mobile-friendly videos to grab the attention of mobile users.
Sending short videos, such as stories or reels, is particularly effective in mobile marketing.
Explore SMS marketing tools
For effective marketing and customer care, unlike essential messaging apps, the TextGrid platform helps integrate SMS into your initiatives by collecting and managing customer care messages from various channels in one inbox.
This unified approach ensures a cohesive response to customer inquiries.
Automate routine customer care tasks, allowing employees to focus on more complex issues.
Agents can access CRM information during active chats, ensuring well-informed responses to delight customers.
TextGrid allows you to launch mass SMS campaigns, including transactional messages and promotional content.
The platform also offers a built-in web form to convert website visitors and email subscribers into SMS subscribers.
You can take advantage of TextGrid’s MMS capability to send GIFs, pictures, and text messages. Here you can learn more about the difference between SMS and MMS and how you can use each of them for your business purposes.
Create personalized, compliance-focused messages to enhance customer engagement and generate revenue.
Guaranteed business success by mastering the SMS marketing game
It’s not a secret anymore that sticking to just one channel is old-fashioned.
Marketing pros understand the importance of reaching out to their audience through different platforms.
Businesses must use various methods to connect with customers for the best experience.
Adding SMS marketing to the mix boosts social media strategies, allowing businesses to communicate with customers instantly through engaging messages.
While getting attention through text messaging can be challenging because people often avoid promotional messages, remember that the only way to a successful campaign is to create messages that offer real value.