10 best practices for 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.

What is 10DLC? Plus, 4 reasons why you should use it

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, SMS text message marketing has only increased in popularity.

This resulted from overall increased texting among consumers. In fact, about 50 percent of people sent more texts during the height of the pandemic.

Of course, pandemic or not, the value of text marketing is clear. Almost 100 percent of people read all their text messages. Compare that with the average 18 percent email open rate businesses aim to hit.

If you’re beginning to consider SMS text message marketing for your own business, you’ll want to understand 10-digit long codes (10DLC).

Let’s dive into what 10DLC is, as well as four reasons why you should use it in your own text marketing.

What is 10DLC?

In a nutshell, 10DLC is the long-code solution for application-to-person (A2P) business messaging in North America.

Also known as commercial long codes, 10DLC is just a standard 10-digit phone number that supports high-volume messaging that’s required by businesses.

The first version of 10-digit A2P messaging years ago could only handle very low volume and simple one-to-one communications. Demand has helped push for its evolution.

10DLC versus short codes and toll-free numbers

To better understand through comparison, there are three types of numbers:

  • 10DLC
  • Short code, which is a 4- to 6-digit number used for non-consumer (A2P) messaging globally
  • Toll-free long code, which begins with an 8 and is available for voice calls but also has been enabled for texts

Each type supports different business needs and desired outcomes. 

10DLC best supports a localized, smaller customer base, with typical uses including chat, event-based interactions, service updates, appointment reminders and more. While traditional local long codes send at a rate of 1 message per second and only support sending of a few hundred messages per day, 10DLCs should be capable of sending around 100,000 text messages per month with a send rate of between five and 15 text messages per second. Keep in mind that support for 10DLCs is exclusive to the United States and Canada.

Short codes support an enterprise-level, large-scale customer base, with typical uses including marketing blasts, one-time passwords, fraud alerts, transactional and more. While short codes are appealing, their lease rates are the most expensive and can range from $500 to $1,000 per month or more. Short codes feature unlimited throughput and volume. For example, you can use them to send millions of text messages per day and at rates of up to 500 per second.

Toll-free long codes support either enterprise-level or localized messaging volumes, with typical uses including customer service chat, customer feedback, notifications and more. Its volume capabilities can be more limited, though. Toll-free long codes can only send at a rate of 3 messages per second, though, with the capability of sending a few thousand texts per day.

Short codes do not have voice capabilities, while 10DLC and toll-free do. But 10DLC does not include delivery-receipt capabilities, while short code and toll-free do.

Why use 10DLC in your SMS text marketing?

Low-cost option

When compared to short codes, 10DLCs are far more affordable for small businesses. They typically cost only a few dollars per month. Granted, if you have the budget to use both short codes and 10DLCs, definitely do since they both serve different purposes and have different benefits.

Local phone number recognition

10DLC enables businesses to reach customers individually or in mass with a local phone number. This vastly improves user experience and then customer engagement as a result. Think about your own experience as a consumer. Are you more trusting of a local number being used by a nearby restaurant?

Both text- and voice-enabled

10DLCs support voice, which means customers can send and receive text messages on the same number they call you on. Again, this contributes to a better, less-confusing and more-seamless user experience. The better the experience, the better your results.

Higher messaging volume (but not the highest)

10DLC numbers feature a higher messaging volume than traditional long codes and toll-free numbers for about the same cost. They can’t compare to the volume that short codes feature, but depending on your SMS text messaging goals, that might not matter to your business.

In conclusion

SMS text message marketing is a powerful tactic that businesses should be using in their overall digital marketing strategies.

And 10DLCs can help you drive results. Plus, check out our eight tips to write a text message that won’t get ignored. Just make sure that you’re avoiding all carrier violations so that your texts deliver to customers.

DailyStory can help you get started with SMS marketing. Our platform features dynamic audience segmentation, automation features, text carrier violation checker and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.