A Guide to Getting Started with Text Marketing

Did you know that text messaging yields eight times the response rate of email marketing? If you have not already implemented a campaign, it is not too late to get started with SMS marketing. It is an effective way to connect with your current and potential customers, and there are many different approaches you can take with this channel. By following these tips, you can ensure that you get off to a strong start when you execute your first text message marketing campaign.

With a solid foundation, your text message campaign will start strong.

Promote Your Campaign

Before you send out your first message, you need to promote your text marketing program and build your subscriber list. The best way to get the word out is to leverage your existing marketing collateral. You can add a keyword and short code to your print ads, asking your customers to text for more information, or include information on your social media profiles, website, and digital advertisements. Your text message campaign easily piggybacks on your other promotional efforts, especially if you use an associated keyword. For example, a restaurant promoting a new dish could use the dish’s name as a keyword. Adding information to opt into your campaign does not take much and increases the impact of your marketing efforts.

Find Content of Value

As with any other marketing campaign, you want to develop a strong strategy that includes content of value before you implement your plan. Text messages are short by nature, with a maximum limit of 160 characters. It’s important to always stay within this limit, since exceeding it could cost your customers money, lead to confusion, and make your message look unprofessional.

Know as much about your customers as you can to create the best content.

Research your target audience and determine what types of messages would be most valuable to them. Some of the best messages include offers and discounts, but you can also use texting for transactional messages, tips, reminders, customer follow up, loyalty programs, and more. Just be sure to avoid sending the same content in every message and make the messages you send exclusive to your mobile subscribers.

Time Your Messages Wisely

One of the best benefits of text marketing is its immediacy. Most people open messages within three minutes, making it the perfect medium for time sensitive alerts, reminders about events, flash sales, limited time offers, and more. However, it’s important to remember not to over-saturate your audience or send messages at an inopportune time. If you do, you could find your subscribers opting out. The types of messages at the largest risk for opt out are general, non-targeted and frequently changing messages, according to Oracle Marketing Cloud.

The ideal frequency of messages is about one to two per week. You should avoid texting early in the morning, late in the evening, during rush hour, and other times where receiving a text would be inconvenient. Unlike email, social media, and other marketing channels, text messages can be intrusive because they actually alert the majority of recipients upon their arrival. Depending on your industry, you may want to avoid texting over the weekends as well.

Reward Your Subscribers

Continue to reward your customers throughout the life of your campaign.

One way to increase the number of subscribers and ensure a high retention rate is to reward your subscribers. You can offer a special deal or discount for initially opting in. Once your campaign is underway, continue to reward subscribers by sending special offers, discounts, and content only available to your list, according to John Jantsch on the American Express Open Forum. Continually rewarding your subscribers ensures they remain active. Every text message does not have to offer something, but you do want to regularly send something special to your subscribers.

Leverage Keywords and Auto-Response

Your texting program should be more than just a one-sided communication medium. To get the best benefits, create a two-way dialogue with your customers. Developing auto responses connected with certain keywords makes it easy to engage with your mobile subscribers. For example, if you allow people to message customer service related issues to your number, you can create an auto response that thanks them for their inquiry and indicates that someone will be in touch soon. To get off to a good start, leverage a keyword and auto response when new subscribers opt in. You can choose to thank them, share your terms and conditions, and even add a special offer.

To get the most out of your text marketing campaign, you want to take the time at the beginning to build a solid foundation. This increases the chance that you’ll achieve your goals. You may continually have to make adjustments over time, but you will minimizs the chance that you need to make large-scale changes while increasing your level of engagement with your customers.

If you have already started your campaign, learn about the signs that demonstrate your efforts are working with this FireText blog post.

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