No matter what kind of business you run, SMS marketing can help you attract new customers, and get more business out of your existing ones. With a 98 percent open rate, it’s no surprise that SMS marketing is effective. It’s perhaps the best way to advertise in the mobile space.
Before you just start firing off texts, though, there are some things you need to know. You have obligations to your customers under the law if you’re going to send them marketing texts. And you’ll also need to know how to write engaging texts that will convert sales. Here’s what you need to know.
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Follow Federal Law
All marketing telephone calls, faxes, and text messages are subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA requires you to get consent from customers before you send them marketing text messages. You can get customers’ consent by having them voluntarily sign up for the messages, either by texting a keyword to the service from their cell phones, signing up via online form, or even signing a piece of paper. You’re required to disclose information about your planned SMS communications when customers enroll — so after they opt in, send them a disclosure text listing your company name, how often you plan to text, the purpose of your messaging, data and SMS rate notices, a link to your terms and conditions, and instructions for opting out and asking for help.
Under the TCPA, you can only send text messages between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. You need to include your business name in each text message, and it’s good practice to have clear opt-out instructions at the end of every message. The most common opt-out choice is to have customers reply with “STOP” to unsubscribe.
Write Engaging Marketing Texts
SMS marketing is affordable — it can cost just pennies per message. You can even buy bulk messaging — 1,000 messages a month, for example — for a flat rate. You can use an online SMS marketing service to send and receive SMS messages to and from entire segments of your customer base.
But sending the texts is the easy part. The hard part is writing snappy, engaging marketing texts that make customers want to take action. There’s absolutely no room for fluff in a marketing text message — you want your message to be no more than 160 characters, not just because someone out there may still have a character limit on their text messages, but also because customers tend not to finish reading long marketing texts.
So, keep your texts short and focused. Start with a greeting and identify yourself. Give the details of the offer, and explain how customers can take advantage. Finish off with opt-out instructions. Avoid text abbreviations and slang, as some customers may not know them or may think they look spammy.
Keep Customers Interested
Text messages have a sense of urgency — when you hear your phone beep, you immediately want to check the text. That’s no less true for marketing texts. You can use the sense of immediacy that attaches itself to text messaging to create a sense of urgency for your products and services, and keep customers engaged with your brand so they don’t opt out.
The best way to keep engagement high and capitalize on the immediacy of the text message genre is to offer promotions in real time. Let’s say you need to move some old stock out of your boutique so you can bring some new stuff in — hold a flash sale and notify your customers about it via text, and attract some customers who happened to be nearby or had nothing better to do that afternoon. Maybe you own a bar — text that day’s happy hour specials to your customers right before quitting time, and get a few more than usual stopping by to unwind on the way home.
When customers realize that many of your text message offers require immediate action, they’ll be even more likely to keep opening your messages right away — and maybe they’ll even be more likely to take action to redeem your offer. Just make sure you’re offering things that your customers want — and that you’re not offering to the general public.
SMS marketing is a fabulous new mobile marketing tool with high open rates and lots of potential. Jump on the bandwagon and start marketing your business directly to your customers’ text message inboxes, so you can get new customers and get more out of your old ones.
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