10 best practices for SMS text message marketing

SMS-text-message-marketing

Text messages should be part of your digital marketing strategy.

About 85 percent of consumers in one study say they want to receive text messages from brands. 

And when done right, businesses can see SMS response rates of about 45 percent (while email marketing shows about 8 percent). When not done right, thought, you can lose about 65 percent of your subscribers who will unsubscribe because you’re texting too much and/or your content isn’t relevant to them.

So, how can you do SMS text message marketing “right”? The following are 10 best practices to make your text messaging efforts as successful as possible.

Get permission

The biggest mistake a business can make when first getting into text message marketing is to get ahead of itself and begin texting the contacts you have before you’ve confirmed your opt-ins.

But it’s important to do so.

Without consent, you’re breaking the law and open yourself to possible litigation. It also can negatively impact your brand’s image.

Opt-ins can be fairly easy, though:

  • Texting a keyword to your number
  • Filling out a web form (or paper form if necessary)

Consider this the most important aspect of your SMS text message marketing strategy.

Include all necessary disclaimers

Beyond just being up front with text subscribers, industry regulations actually require you to share the following disclaimers up front:

  • That messaging and data rates may apply
  • How often you plan to text your subscribers
  • A link to your Terms and Conditions and your Privacy Policy
  • How to unsubscribe

We recommend reviewing the official messaging principles and best practices from the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) to ensure that you’re operating within the industry guidelines.

Establish consistency with your sending frequency

It’s obvious that you don’t want to text too much and potentially overwhelm and turn off your subscribers.

But you also don’t want to text too sporadically either.

When you don’t text consistently enough, the texts you do send can appear out of the blue (in a bad way) to your subscribers who may have forgotten why they subscribed in the first place.

This can lead to fewer conversions and more unsubscribes.

In general, most businesses strive for two to four texts per month. But every business is different. You could have a daily or weekly need to text your subscribers. The key is to be upfront about your frequency as subscribers opt in so that there are no surprises (and subsequent unsubscribes).

Consider the timing of your texts

Just like how you wouldn’t want to receive a promotional text at 9 or 10 p.m. at night, don’t plan on sending your texts at awkward times for your text subscribers.

Timing considerations include:

  • What’s right for your audience
  • Any time-zone differences
  • The availability of your team if response support is required
  • Volume pacing, which means that depending on whether you’re using short codes or long codes, this impacts how many texts can be sent per second. For example, you could send an afternoon text to thousands, but if the volume takes time to handle, plenty of recipients could receive your text far too late. Learn more about 10DLC numbers and more.

Think exclusivity

Because your subscribers have to opt in to receiving your text messages, keep that in mind when you create your content.

It’s an exclusive group who’s giving you the ability to contact them directly, yes? Treat them that way.

What can you offer that’s different from your email, social media and website promotions?

The answer depends on your business, but keep it simple. It could be a special discount for one day only, just to test the waters.

Maintaining exclusivity for your SMS text messaging gives customers a reason to sign up and a reason to stay subscribed.

Be responsive

About 34 percent of people will read a text message within five minutes of receiving it. If your plan involves two-way messaging (for customer service, for example), you have to be as responsive as you possibly can be.

Build the necessary time into your or your team’s schedule. Text message marketing platforms, such as DailyStory, also have built-in features that help notify you to replies and can even automate certain responses, depending on the scenario.

Use concise language

A regular SMS text message gives you 160 characters per text message. This space restriction might tempt you to abbreviate and/or use texting abbreviations, but keep your brand voice in mind. You want to sound clear and professional as a brand.

Of course, the use of MMS can give you more flexibility in communicating your message since you can include an image.

But either way, keep carrier violations in mind since they will prevent your texts from even reaching the phones of your subscribers.

Plus, see our eight tips to write a text that won’t get ignored.

Personalize your content as much as possible

Mass text messages offer the automatic one-to-one connection with customers simply because of the medium.

But you have to elevate your content to speak directly to that one customer rather than general language that feels like you’re talking to everyone.

First of all, know who you’re texting. Segment your contacts as much as you can to be as specific with your messaging as possible. For example, you’re not going to say the same thing to a customer who hasn’t purchased from you in 45 days that you would to your most loyal customers.

In addition, text message marketing platforms should give you the ability to use custom fields in your texts that will automatically pull in your contacts’ information, such as the first name. A text using your first name in it (despite being a mass text) is going to be that much more effective than a text that doesn’t.

Again, DailyStory offers all these features and more to boost the success of your text message marketing campaigns.

Offer an easy, clear way to opt out

While no business wants its subscribers to opt out of receiving text messages, you must make it easy and clear to do so. 

It’s an industry requirement, but it also helps your brand image. Everyone should know that they can unsubscribe anytime and how to do so. It’s about establishing trust and credibility for your brand.

Simply include “Text STOP to unsubscribe” in your texts and/or when promoting your text campaign.

When a subscriber does unsubscribe, make sure to send a confirmation and then remove that individual from your contact list.

Measure your SMS campaign performance

Just like any other tactic in digital marketing, you’ll want to monitor how your text messages perform. 

Text messages don’t necessarily offer all the same analytics that you expect to see in email marketing campaigns. But you can track deliveries, clicks and replies. It just depends on what platform you’re using to conduct your SMS text message campaigns.

As you’re exploring these best practices for your SMS text message marketing, consider using DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more that can apply to texting, emailing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

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