The SMS marketing best practices listed below should be part of your text message marketing strategy.
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.
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.
You can’t text numbers that are not opted in
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
- How to unsubscribe – more specifically including: Reply STOP to opt-out in all your messages
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.
Optimally send two to four text per-month
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.
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 text messaging gives customers a reason to sign up and a reason to stay subscribed.
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 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.
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.
Know who you are texting
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.
Personalize as much as possilbe
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.
Personalization of your text message also helps with deliverability since each message is unique.
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.
Include opt-out language
Simply include “Reply 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.