8 tips to write an effective marketing text message

SMS text message marketing can be the most effective method of mass communication.

Compared to emails, text messages can be more powerful. They have a 98 percent open rate compared to 20 percent in emails, and consumers are 4.5 percent more likely to respond to (and not just read) your text message than your emails.

So, how are you approaching the copy of your text messages? Remember, you can engage with or lose a lead forever in less than 160 characters. Paying attention to what you’re saying and how you’re saying it matters.

The following are eight tips to write an effective marketing text message.

Keep it short and concise

When it comes to SMS text messaging, you’re already limited to 160 characters per message. It’s important to get to the point quickly without a lot of fluff. Consider the recipient’s “What’s in it for me?” angle and focus on that to do more than just read your text message.

Writing in short sentences can help you be as concise as possible while also being more engaging for recipients. Think “5th Grader Level” when writing your copy. Consumers are most likely to skim your message, so don’t write long or complex sentences. You’ll lose their attention if you do.

MMS messages, with the use of images, can help you maximize what you can convey in a single message. Learn more about how you can leverage MMS text messages.

Use a strong call-to-action

Having a 98 percent open rate doesn’t mean much if your recipients don’t know what to do next. A strong, clear call-to-action can make the difference between a sale and being ignored.

Some examples of call-to-actions that you can use:

  • Act fast
  • Sign up now
  • Buy now
  • Last chance
  • Limited-time offer
  • Don’t miss out

Keep in mind that your goals matter. What is the point of sending this text message to your recipients? You’ll want to aim for that goal while being as persuasive as possible.

Personalize your text message

Depending on your SMS text message marketing platform, such as DailyStory, you should be able to personalize your text messages.

There’s a lot of power behind personalization. By using a person’s name when addressing them, you’re breaking down the impersonal barrier that can exist in any type of marketing method. This can help build trust with your text message recipients. It also can help you stand out from your competitors.

About 72 percent of customers will only engage with personalized messaging.

Of course, personalization goes well beyond just including a first name. You could use other data points as relevant. But personalization also ties into the type of messaging you’re sending. You would send a different type of message to a past customer who hasn’t purchased from you in a few months than you would to a brand new lead who hasn’t purchased from you yet.

Dive deeper into how personalization is one-to-one marketing.

Use power words in your text message

Using power words in your text messages can help you engage with your audience. These words help spur some type of emotion in your recipients, which can help with your sales conversions.

See our 16 tips to increase your sales conversion rate.

Some top power words in marketing include:

  • Obsession
  • Bold
  • Epic
  • Secret
  • Daring
  • Imagine
  • Inspire
  • Risky
  • Avoid
  • Authentic
  • Secure
  • Tested
  • Rare
  • Immediately
  • Hurry
  • Proven
  • Affordable
  • Guaranteed

See more power words and take note of what might work for you in future SMS campaigns.

Of course, while words like “free” or even emphasizing certain words by using all capital letters can help engage and persuade recipients to act, you have to beware of potential carrier violations, which can prevent your text message from being delivered at all. You don’t want to write anything that can be viewed as spammy by mobile carriers.

Dive deeper into carrier violations and how to avoid them.

Add urgency to your copy

It’s easy for consumers to not act until the last moment (or at all) unless they’re compelled to do so.

When an offer or message feels urgent, you’re more likely to spur your recipients to action. For example, a sale that ends in two days should inspire customers to plan how they can take advantage of the offer before it’s over. If the sale is monthlong, it’s easy to think there’s plenty of time to act, but that means it’s that much easier to forget about it entirely.

Consider how you can infuse urgency into your text message.

Avoid ‘text-speak’

“Text speak” is the use of abbreviations to save time, energy and space in your 160-character text message. For example, saying “l8r” instead of “later” or “u” instead of “you.”

As a brand, you want to maintain some professionalism and resist any appearances of spam. Using “text speak” can devalue your brand and cause a recipient to lose respect for you and opt out of your messages.

Consider your brand personality. You can still sound human and engaging without devolving into “text speak.”

Beware of special characters

Keep in mind that while special characters can feel like a great way to make your text message stand out, all characters are not supported by all carriers. Many carriers only support unicode.

This means that the use of a special character (like a special quotation mark or apostrophe) will not work for every recipient. That can cause confusion because (depending on the carrier) the unsupported character can be replaced with something random or a space. Either way, your text message will suffer as a result.

Keep your text messages legal

With various anti-spam laws in place, it’s critical that all your marketing text messages include an opt-out option in the text. 

Including the commonly used “Reply STOP to opt-out” at the end of your text makes your available message space that much shorter, but it’s better than risking thousands of dollars in fines.

In addition, you must identify who is sending the text message. This is non-negotiable. Make sure to work your brand name into your message.

In conclusion

Invest the time and effort into crafting text messages that support your goals, represent your brand and engage with and persuade your audience to take action.

Check out these six things to know before starting your first texting campaign.

While you’re crafting effective text messages, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 things to know before starting your first texting campaign

If you haven’t started your first texting campaign yet, you might be unsure of where to start.

The important piece is that you want to get started.

SMS texting campaigns have an engagement rate that’s three to seven times higher than with emails and a nearly six times conversion rate.

You don’t want to miss out on achieving higher marketing results for your business.

The following are six things you should know before starting your first texting campaign.

What’s a texting campaign?

First things first, an SMS texting campaign allows you to interact with your customers through text messages, which can feel more personal than emails.

You can still segment your audience (just like you would with your email marketing) so that you’re getting the right message to the right people at the right time. Automated text messages can also boost your interactions and ultimate campaign results.

There are limitations, though. You must work with a character count of 160 characters, and you have to fit the parameters of any included visuals, i.e. MMS messages.

What do you want to achieve with your texting campaign?

Thinking through your goals will help guide the direction of your first texting campaign. 

Setting goals increases the success of your marketing strategy by about 429 percent.

Consider your overall business goals and how SMS marketing can support any or all of them.

Still not sure what your goals should be? Check out our seven expert tips to set achievable marketing goals for your small business.

What texting campaign service should I use?

It’s important to identify and sign up for the technology that will enable you to create and deploy texting campaigns.

When surveying what text marketing services are out there, you’ll want to understand all the features available, whether those features make sense for what you want to achieve (or if you need something more) and the total cost associated with a subscription.

Regarding features, consider:

  • Ease of use
  • Any complementary tools (such as data-capturing forms)
  • Audience segmentation
  • Automation capabilities
  • Campaign reporting

DailyStory offers SMS text messaging features, as well as email marketing and more as well. Explore with our 21-day free trial.

Who can I text?

Before you launch your first texting campaign, it’s critical that your customers gave you permission to send them SMS messages.

It’s a best practice but also the law (as it relates to distributing promotional content via texting). But about 91 percent of consumers would opt-in for text messages from brands

Of course, there are many ways to opt-in your customers and even potential customers, including:

  • Including a contact phone number field and permissions checkbox in your contact or sign-up forms.
  • Using a “text to join” strategy, where consumers text a keyword to a specific number that you give them.

Check out our four tips to grow your SMS text message marketing subscribers

Just remember to give a clear option to opt out of your texts within each message sent. For example, a subscriber can reply “STOP” to opt out. While this feels countintuitive to your marketing goals, it is required by law, and you wouldn’t want to accumulate frustrated and uninterested subscribers anyway.

What should I text?

The sky’s the limit within 160 characters, creatively speaking. But you do have some guidelines to follow to avoid getting carrier violations and the resulting impacts from them.

A carrier violation occurs when carriers (such as Verizon, AT&T and such) receive an outbound SMS and opt to not deliver the message to the destination phone number. In other words, carriers monitor and filter SMS traffic, and if your message triggers a perceived violation from the carrier’s perspective, your text will not be delivered.

When your text messages are flagged, it becomes very likely that future messages from the same number (or those with similar content) will be filtered out as well.

Learn more about carrier violations and how to avoid them.

How should I track my texting campaign?

The metrics tied to texting campaigns aren’t as robust as what you might be used to with email marketing due to technoligical limitations. 

Within whatever texting campaign service you choose to use, you should be able to track the number of sent SMS messages as well as the click rate. You also should be able to see your deliverability rate, depending on the service.

Of course, to take this a step further, it’s a best practice to track any resulting sales from your texting campaign as well to give you a bigger picture view of how your text messages are performing.

In conclusion

Before you dive head first into texting campaigns, make sure you have a plan. Knowing your goals as well as the “rules of the road” that come along with texting can help you start strong. From there, be sure to experiment and measure so that you’re continuously optimizing your texting campaigns.

While you’re planning your first texting campaign, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips for automated text message marketing

SMS is a powerful tool in your digital marketing strategy, and you can level up with automated text message marketing.

About 96 percent of marketers using text messages said it helped them drive revenue.

This is especially true for eCommerce businesses, but truly, any type of business can benefit from SMS automation because it helps you increase your conversion rate through personalized texts that spur your customers to action.

Automated text message marketing involves pre-written SMS messages that send automatically based on specific criteria and/or actions, such as:

  • A trigger (like sending when a customer completes a purchase)
  • A schedule (like sending before the launch of a big sale)
  • A timeline (like sending a month after a customer’s last purchase, for example)

Automating your text messages helps you connect and build better relationships with your audiences in an efficient way.

Here are just a few examples of automated text message marketing:

  • Sending transactional messages (such as order confirmations or shipping notifications)
  • Sharing special offers, sales and promotions
  • Reminding clients about upcoming appointments
  • Requesting customer reviews and/or testimonials
  • Recovering abandoned shopping carts

Don’t miss our 10 best practices for SMS text message marketing.

But let’s get specific about automation. The following are five tips for automated text message marketing so that you can boost your sale conversion rate and grow your business.

Sign up for an automated text marketing service

The first step, before anything else, is to identify and sign up for the technology that will enable you to automate your text messages.

When surveying what automated text marketing services are out there, you’ll want to understand all the features available, whether those features make sense for what you want to achieve (or if you need something more) and the total cost associated with a subscription.

Regarding features, consider:

  • Ease of use
  • Any complementary tools (such as data-capturing forms)
  • Audience segmentation
  • Campaign reporting

DailyStory offers automation for not just SMS text messaging but email marketing and more as well. Explore with our 21-day free trial.

Start building your contact list (if you don’t already have one)

If you already have an SMS opted-in contact list, great! Go ahead and upload it into your new SMS text marketing service.

If not, you’ll want to focus on growing that list, especially since it’s a best practice (and the law) to send text messages only to those who are specifically opted into receiving those texts. (In other words, you can’t just add everyone in your customer database to your text message contact list without their explicit opt-in.) The good news is that about 91 percent of consumers would opt-in for text messages from brands.

Definitely start with advertising across all platforms and even within your business if you have a physical location for customers. 

Dive deeper with our four tips to grow your SMS text message marketing subscribers.

Plan your automated text message marketing campaigns

Successful automated text campaigns don’t just happen. Based on some of the examples you’ve already seen, list out the types of automated campaigns you want to put in place. The best campaigns come down to the structure of your business, the needs of your customers and your overall business goals.

Then, flush out each campaign idea with an outline that identifies who’s targeted, when they’re being text messaged (what triggers need to happen), the general messages you want to convey and your goals for that campaign.

For example, if you’re looking to have an automated Welcome text message series, you’ll likely decide that it will go to new text subscribers immediately and that the overall content is to educate these new subscribers on what they can expect from you, with the goal of them clicking on a special offer link later on in the series.

Create your message content

Now that you have an idea of the automated text message marketing campaigns you want to run and a service to deploy them on, it’s time to flush out exactly what each text message in your campaigns will say.

Remember that you’re working with 160 characters, but within that, you want to identify who you are, be clear and concise, include a call to action if appropriate and give them directions on how to opt out. 

That can be a lot for 160 characters, but MMS text messages can help convey more information in that limited space.

Refer to our 10 best practices for text message marketing for more.

Monitor your performance

The only danger of automated text message marketing is the tendency to “set it and forget it.” And truly, the benefit of automation is that you can focus your energy and time elsewhere, but you do want to understand what’s working and what’s not along the way.

Some metrics that you’ll want to stay on top of:

  • Bounce rate (where carrier violations can prevent some text messages from delivering to your recipients, as well as incorrect phone numbers)
  • Click rate
  • Resulting sales (which you’ll want to tie back to your specific automated campaigns)
  • Unsubscribe rate

By monitoring your automation performance over time, you can easily tweak anything that’s not driving the results you’re looking for.

In conclusion

The power of automated text message marketing can boost your business revenue over time, so if you’re not currently using this tactic, now’s the time.

As you’re diving into automating your text messages, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation, powerful SMS text message marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

3 differences between long code and short code in text message marketing

 SMS text message marketing is a powerful tactic in any company’s digital marketing strategy.

Not only do about 59 percent of consumers respond to their text messages within five minutes, but nearly 100 percent of people at least open all of their text messages.

But as you’re entering the world of text message marketing, you begin your efforts with a very important decision: whether to use a long code or short code.

Long codes and short codes merely refer to the type of number you’re sending your text messages from. Long codes are a standard 10-digit phone number, while short codes are an easier-to-remember 5- to 6-digit number.

The following are three differences between long codes and short codes so that you can decide which is best for your company and goals behind text message marketing.

Capabilities

Long codes can be used for more than just text messaging. They can also be used for faxes and making calls. Short codes can only send and receive text messages.

Typically, long codes are used for customer service-related communication, such as:

  • Informing a customer that his or her package is out for delivery.
  • Updating customers with their account balance.

But companies often use short codes for mass marketing, security and emergency communications in text message marketing, such as:

  • Sending ads, coupons and other promotional information. For example, customers can opt in for a discount or other type of loyalty program by texting a keyword to the short code number.
  • Two-factor authentication for security purposes.
  • Alert notifications, such as hurricane warnings or flight delays.

While long codes can work worldwide, they don’t support delivery receipts. But there are still ways to know if delivery was successful when using particular SMS messaging platforms, such as DailyStory. However, short codes are considered to be the most reliable from both a technical and legal standpoint.

Volume

Of course, a big difference between long codes and short codes is the speed and volume of sending text messages in your text message marketing.

Long codes limit sending to one message per second, so companies typically use them for person-to-person communication. Short codes, on the other hand, can send 40 messages per second, so companies often use them for high-volume messaging, such as voting on TV shows.

In addition, according to carrier regulations, the ratio of inbound-to-outbound text traffic should be better than one-to-three for long codes. Short codes do not have this restriction.

Learn more about carrier violations and how to avoid them during SMS text message marketing.

Cost

Short codes can be much more expensive than long codes. The cost of a short code, for example, can begin at $500 per month in addition to any set-up fees.

Long codes are considerably more affordable.

In conclusion

The decision whether to secure a long code or short code depends on your budget and your intended uses for SMS text message marketing. Keep in mind that technology continues to evolve, and 10DLC is something to explore as well.

Check out our 10 best practices for SMS text message marketing.

As you’re deciding on whether to use a long code or short code, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation, powerful SMS text message marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

4 tips to grow your SMS text message marketing subscribers

With SMS text message marketing continuing to grow in popularity, every business should work it into its digital marketing strategy.

But with strict opt-in procedures required, you can’t leap into your first text message campaign before you have a confirmed subscriber list (regardless of how many contact phone numbers you might already have simply through conducting business).

The good news is that about 91 percent of consumers would opt-in for text messages from brands.

Assuming you’re already prepared to use best practices for your first text message marketing campaign or program, the following are four tips to help grow your text subscribers the right way.

Advertise your text program on all channels

This likely sounds obvious, but it cannot be overstated. How can your customers and potential customers opt into your texting if they don’t know it exists or the value it offers?

It could be as simple as including a line everywhere you can about texting a keyword to a phone number to receive exclusive deals. It also can be a full-fledged promotional campaign.

You’ll want to think about how you can raise awareness about your text program on your:

  • Website, where you can include an online sign-up form
  • Social media accounts, where you can use compelling visuals and direct users to your online sign-up form
  • Emails, where you can dive into all the benefits of signing up and include a link to do so (a great way to convert your email subscribers into text subscribers)
  • Analog paper (such as fliers, posters, even your receipts), where you can either use a QR code to make signing up online easy or offer paper sign-up forms

Use a memorable keyword

We mentioned that potential text subscribers could text a keyword to a phone number to opt in.

The more memorable you can make that keyword, the better. Don’t overthink it. Just put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would make sense for your brand, reflect the point of the texting program and be easy to remember if a customer doesn’t act immediately?

Offer an incentive to text subscribers

To help grow your text subscribers, consider offering an incentive for signing up. After all, you’re asking for direct access to their most-used device. Opportunities include:

  • Offering a discount on a first purchase
  • Giving away a free swag item (or some other product that makes sense to give away)
  • Hosting a contest or giveaway (just keep it legal)

Be upfront about your texting frequency

To avoid the risk of looking like spam, it’s best to be clear about how often you plan on texting subscribers.

You can include the expected frequency in your advertising. Of course, we recommend including it in your confirmation message when text subscribers do sign up as well.

It’s best to be as upfront as possible in any texting program.

In conclusion

Any successful SMS text messaging campaign or program should include a component to help grow your text subscribers.

DailyStory can help. Our platform offers dynamic audience segmentation, automation capabilities and other features that can level up your text message marketing, email marketing 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.

MMS marketing: Using images in your text messages

Using images in your text messages (otherwise known as MMS marketing) is a great way to convey brand identity and other important content in your text message marketing.

It is often said: “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which can help you communicate more than the typical character limit for a standard text message. Plus, using MMS can also help avoid carrier violations!

But, as great as it sounds, it’s not as simple as just picking an image and sending it. There are important considerations for the type of image and implications surrounding delivery.

Check out our eight tips to write a text message that won’t get ignored.

The following are some tips and recommendations to get the most out of your MMS marketing messages.

What is a MMS text message?

As defined by Wikipedia, a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from a mobile phone over a cellular network.

Examples include: images, video, JSON and more. For the purpose of MMS text message marketing where hundreds or thousands of messages may be sent, we’re limiting our discussion to images.

Use JPG or GIF file formats

MMS supports many image file formats, but we recommend staying with a more standard and common format.

Unfortunately, not all devices you are sending to will support all the newer formats, and the goal is to always maximize deliverability.

For images, we recommend using JPG or GIF, but only use GIF when sending animated images.

Image resolution should be less than 640 pixels wide

The image used should not be wider than 640 pixels and no taller than 1,138 pixels. This ratio (9:16) is a portrait ratio and is optimized for viewability on mobile screens. However, you can use other ratios, such as a square, while staying within these dimension constraints.

Larger, high-resolution images will not be as easily viewed on a mobile device. They also will cause the file size to exceed the recommended 300 KB, and carriers will reject the message if the image is too large.

Image size should be less than 300 KB

Image size, or how much storage space your image uses, is important to consider.

Generally, images that are larger than 300 KB should be avoided.

While the newest specification for MMS allows for larger formats when sending marketing text messages, we typically recommend the smaller the better.

You can easily find the size of an image by right-clicking and selecting properties. Below is an example from Windows for the MMS Image Dimensions image (used above) that is 36.7 KB. Well under 300 KB!

Images that are too large will not be supported by all devices. Staying within the preferred size will prevent carriers from rejecting messages for MMS file sizes being too large.

What to include

We typically recommend using imagery associated with your brand — as this helps people identify who the text is coming from. You can also include text, too.

Using text in the image is one way to work around carrier restrictions for certain words or phrases.

For example, the text phrase “20% OFF” would get flagged by carriers as part of their carrier violation score. However, the same text used in an image can bypass this restriction.

An MMS text can still include additional text content, too. We recommend including the standard “Reply STOP to opt out,” but other content can also be included. We recommend limiting the text content to no more than 320 characters, though.

What not to include

Don’t take one of your large images used on Instagram or your website and just downsize it to use for MMS. The image quality will suffer and most likely the content will be unreadable.

Keep it simple and always design for MMS, just as you would design specific assets for social media channels like Instagram.

Sounds great, but … it’s triple the cost

Text message marketing isn’t free. Carriers charge based on the number of characters sent. For example, a “segment” consists of 160 characters. Billing is calculated per-segment times the number of messages sent.

MMS text messages are no different. They effectively cost 3 segments and may go over that depending on additional text (varies by carrier).

Therefore, sending an MMS is effectively triple the cost of a regular text message.

MMS deliverability

The No. 1 concern with any text message is deliverability. And, while MMS text message marketing is a way to enhance your messages, it, unfortunately, doesn’t guarantee delivery. The tips above will help, but they can’t prevent carrier violations.

Additionally, all mobile phones do not support MMS. For example, pay-as-you-go phones have limited support for text messaging.

Carrier violations: What to avoid during SMS text marketing

Text messaging, also known as SMS marketing, is a powerful tool that enables you to contact people directly. But carrier violations may be preventing your texts from being delivered.

According to Smart Insights, 97 percent of text messages are read within 15 minutes of delivery, and 45 percent of text message marketing campaigns “generate a successful ROI (return on investment).”

In fact, 54 percent of consumers have said they would like to receive promotions via text messages.

However, your SMS marketing success can suffer from simple mistakes that will get your message blocked by phone carriers.

Why would a text message not be delivered?

A text message may not be delivered because the recipient has opted out. This occurs because they believe your message was a spam text or no longer want to receive your messages and have replied STOP. But, the most common reason a text message is not delivered is because of a carrier violation.

What is a carrier violation?

A carrier violation occurs when carriers (such as Verizon, AT&T and such) receive an outbound SMS and opt to not deliver the message to the destination phone number. In other words, carriers monitor and filter SMS traffic, and if your message triggers a perceived violation from the carrier’s perspective, your text will not be delivered.

The monitoring is through adaptive (machine learning) software systems that take into account the rate of sending and the content of the messages. Think of the spam filtering you’ve seen in email accounts, except that instead of being delivered to a spam folder, the message is not delivered at all. According to Betwext, messages receive a “cumulative score based on how many messages have come from a phone number during a time period, how many similar messages have transited the carrier’s network, or if the message contains content that makes it a high match for spam. Time periods are measured by the second, minute, hour and day.”

When your text messages are flagged, it becomes very likely that future messages from the same number (or those with similar content) will be filtered out as well.

While carriers do not share their exact and unique triggers for a violation (so that spammers can’t game the system), here are tips to avoid carrier violations during your text message marketing.

Warm up your sending reputation

Similar to warming up your email sending reputation, you should warm up your text message sending number(s).

Sending from a new number can cause recipients to opt-out, which may cause your message to get flagged as a carrier violation.

When carriers see your text messages for the first time, it’s best to keep your messages simple and concise. Most importantly, don’t use links or any sales language.

Consider your sending number

First, it’s important to understand that in SMS text messaging, there are short codes and long codes. 

A short code is a 5- to 6-digit number used to send SMS or MMS messages. For example, a spa health club can ask customers to text RELAX to 35353 to join its loyalty program. 

A long code is a standard, 10-digit number that also can be used to send SMS or MMS messages.

One of the differences between the two is that short codes allow you to send thousands of messages at once, making them ideal for mass texting, while long codes can only send one message per second. A common practice is to register multiple long codes to share the load because short codes can be more costly and frankly more impersonal. 

Find out more about the pros and cons of using either short or long codes.

Text frequency counts

Be aware of your texting volume and frequency. Sending too many messages from a single number during a certain time period could cause that number to be blacklisted. 

The CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry, advises that each long code phone number should stay under 15 to 60 messages per minute and under 200 unique recipients a day. (See more best practices from the CTIA.)

Using multiple numbers and/or building in a “cool down” period where sending is paused for a day or two can both help prevent carrier violations.

Watch your links

Links are tricky. You want your lead or customer to easily click on a link as a call to action. However, “http,” “http://,” “https://,” “https,” “bit.ly,” “goo.gl,” “TinyURL.com,” “Ow.ly” and others can trigger some filters.

However, before you avoid links altogether, make sure you’re using a messaging service that will alert you for any blocked texts. DailyStory uses Twilio and other SMS providers to deploy and report on text messages.

Encourage replies to your text messages

Replies, other than those used to opt-out, is a positive signal for your sending reputation. 

A good practice is to send messages asking for replies to specific questions.

If you can craft a message that requests a response, such as “Reply YES for more info,” these help the carriers identify that your content is expected and welcomed by the recipient.

Don’t use flag words and avoid carrier violations

Aggressive language, hyperbole (exaggeration), too many CAPITALIZED words and even certain keywords can violate a carrier’s rules.

For example, the word “gift” with a $ symbol looks like spam to the content-checking programs carriers use. Repetitive content can appear spammy as well.

Also, consider what sort of content your customers or leads are expecting from you. Did they sign up for more promotions or other types of updates? 

In general, consider “warming up” your leads before getting into any sale or promo speak.

A good rule of thumb? Put yourself in your recipient’s shoes and write in a way that would be compelling for you. It’s about delivering a good user experience always.

Use the DailyStory deliverability score

SMS marketing created in DailyStory is automatically scored to help you understand the likelihood that your message will be flagged as a carrier violation.

Use deliverability score to avoid carrier violations

Consider the length of your text

The structure of your text message matters just as much as the content itself. 

Most critically, you should keep your text at no more than 160 characters. When a message is longer than 160 characters, you risk the carrier breaking it up into multiple texts. The carrier can then send those in an incorrect order and charge you for multiple messages.

That’s a bad experience for both you and the recipient.

Identify yourself

This is both a best practice and an expectation of the FTC.

If you don’t identify yourself, your text risks looking that much more mysterious and spammy to recipients. 

Confirm the source of your leads

This might sound obvious, but make sure that the phone numbers you have are opted into hearing from you.

Not only does this help you adhere to FTC guidelines, but consumers can easily report texts as spam. If they don’t really know who you even are, the likelihood of being reported as spam is that much higher.

Be upfront about opting out

On the flip side, you also should offer clear opt-out instructions. 

If users do not understand how to unsubscribe, they might automatically contact their carrier to request blocking your messages.

Unfortunately, if your think your sending number has been blacklisted, there’s not much you can do to appeal that designation. However, many carriers will automatically remove numbers from their blacklists after a certain period of time. This amount of time has not been made public by any carrier.

To find out more about the laws regarding text messaging (that all businesses should be up to date on), check with the FCC directly.

Remain compliant with applicable laws

If you are planning to send a high volume of SMS marketing, it is important to familiarize yourself with the laws and guidelines surrounding SMS marketing. Don’t risk carrier violations.

We’ve put together some guidance for tips to keep your business out of trouble.

While you’re ensuring that your text messages aren’t getting flagged, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Use audience segmentation to generate leads

A segment is a grouping of your audience who share common attributes. Segmentation helps you get the right message to the right people.

Examples of segments include people in a 30-day trial who have not completed a purchase or customers whose membership expires next month.

Once you identify a segment, you can target the segment with specific messages using the channels most appropriate for that segment. And, using personalization, content is uniquely targeted at each individual.

The end result is each person receives content targeted and personalized to them, through the channel (email, text messaging, push notification, etc.) most appropriate to them.

Sounds great. But where do you start? With data.

Collecting customer data

You have more data than you realize and countless untapped opportunities to collect it. One of the biggest challenges we see with our customers is how to aggregate customer and prospect data together.

Aggregating data from multiple systems and applications is not easy, but when done, doing so creates a rich trove of data for segmentation.

Customer segmentation data sources may include:

  • Basic demographic data: age, gender, title and more
  • Website activity: What pages did the customer visit?
  • Past purchase history: What purchases has the customer made previously?
  • Submitted form data: What data has the customer submitted through forms?
  • Sales profiles: Information obtained from systems, such as Salesforce (for example)
  • Mobile app engagement: Data from mobile app usage
  • Customer location: What time zone is the customer in?
  • Customer communities or other applications: Pulling data from sources such as a Telligent community or other customer management systems.

And those are just some examples! In addition to the data you have, you can also augment data from external sources.

Augment customer data

In addition to the data you already have about your customers, this data can be augmented.

Examples include:

  • Converting addresses to geographic latitude and longitude for proximity-based groupings, such as people within so many miles or kilometers of a location
  • Average income and home value groupings (by using public and private sources this data can be derived from geographic information)

Building customer profiles

Now that you have some customer data, what do you do with it? How do you consolidate all the data into a unified customer profile?

DailyStory solves this by enabling you to extend DailyStory’s built-in customer profile.

For example, adding custom fields to your contacts, such as Membership Level, Expiration Date, Customer Groups and any other data type you can think of:

Next, you can update DailyStory contacts simply by uploading a spreadsheet. Including your own customer profile data.

While these two concepts aren’t unique to DailyStory, the ability for any customer profile data to be used for segment creation is unique. And, for those segments to automatically update themselves as data changes using Dynamic Segments.

Once you have your customer data aggregated together, you can start building your segments.

Building Segments

We recommend starting with large, “macro,” segments of your audience. Then, build smaller “hyper” segments.

What’s the difference?

Macro segments

Just as it sounds, a macro segment is a large segment, such as millennials, previous customers, current customers, customers in the U.S., people who use your mobile app, customers in Washington state and so on.

Macro segments describe a large group of your audience.

A macro segment typically represents about 10 percent to 30 percent of your total audience base.

For example, if there were 10,000 contacts in our list, we would expect 1,000 to 3,000 to be customers or previous customers.

Once you have established your macro segments, you’ll want to build smaller hyper segments.

Hyper segments

A hyper segment is a much smaller group and typically combines multiple macro segments along with other criteria.

An example of a hyper segment is millennials living within 5 miles of New York City that are previous customers.

Whereas a macro segment represents 10 percent to 30 percent of your total audience base, a hyper segment should represent about 5 percent or less.

For example, if there were 10,000 contacts in our list, we would expect 300 to 500 people to fit into a hyper segment.

Why are hyper segments so narrow?

Hyper segments are purposefully narrowly targeted.

Because the target audience is so specific, using personalization along with the most appropriate channel and message yields a higher engagement rate.

You can measure your overall engagement rate through opens, click and conversions.

Fit the channel to the audience

In marketing-speak, we say “channel” in reference to how we’re delivering our message: email, text messaging and push notifications are several examples.

  • Push Notifications:  Messages sent to people who installed your app. The message size is limited but represents an engaged audience.
  • Text Messages: Messages sent to people for whom you have both a mobile number and have opted-in to receiving text messages from you. Similar to push notifications, the message size is limited, but text messages see a much higher engagement rate than email.
  • Emails: Messages sent to people who have opted-in to receive emails.

When it comes to channel selection, use push notifications first (when/if available). When targeting younger audiences, use text messages. And email is the constant fallback if no other channel is available.

Once you select the appropriate channel, personalize the content to better target the recipient.

Personalization and content targeting

Personalization is your ability to use the data you have about your audience to understand how your content best fits their needs or interest. This ensures visitors and customers get messaging tailored to them.

In DailyStory, any profile field (including custom fields) are available for personalization. This includes basic personalization, such as addressing the recipient by his or her first name, or more complex personalization that selectively includes content.

The primary purpose of personalization is to make the message as targeted and as relevant to the recipient as possible. It goes hand-in-hand with the power of segmentation.

The more personalized your content, the higher the engagement rate you will see.

In conclusion

Properly segmenting your audience, choosing the most appropriate channels and personalizing your content will yield higher engagement rates. As an example, one of our customers achieved a more than 40 percent open rate on a campaign that used these techniques.

As you’re exploring audience segmentation strategies, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.