(To see the infographic that outlines all our text message marketing best practices, scroll down.)
The world of business marketing has changed drastically in the past few decades — for years, marketing plans were relatively the same, and the options were limited.
Then came the Internet.
Suddenly, businesses were encouraged to create a website and use email to reach their customers and allow their customers to reach them.
Then came social media platforms — it started with one or two, and now there seems to be a new one popping up every day.
Nowadays, small businesses can have a hard time competing with the marketing campaigns that established companies with large marketing budgets are able to accomplish through content marketing, email, and social media.
However, there are some technologies that help to level the playing field — SMS marketing is an effective way to reach a lot of people on a small budget.
It has also proven to be one of the most successful ways to get your marketing message in front of customers. In fact, 90% of your customers who opt into your text message marketing campaigns will read your message within 3 minutes.
There’s no other form of marketing that can reach your customer with the same speed.
These Text Message Marketing Best Practices Are Based on Over a Decade of Experience
The statistics are not new, but for some reason, many businesses still have not jumped on the text message marketing bandwagon.
It has proven results, and in fact, there are many ways that businesses can benefit from texting their customers.
Here’s an example:
Hair salons often deal with cancellations — rather than sit around for 30 minutes with no work to do if an appoint cancels, a savvy hair salon might use SMS marketing in conjunction with a late list, which is just a list of customers who want to be notified if there’s a last-minute cancellation.
Once the salon receives a cancellation, they simply contact their “late list” customers via text. By using text instead of email, you’re able to get your message in front of your customer faster, fill your empty spots, and reduce the losses from no-shows.
Polo Ralph Lauren uses text message marketing with its “First to Know” approach. Customers can sign up to get text messages about the latest discount offers and new arrivals, and the company can, therefore, increase its sales.
But, the trick to an effective text message marketing plan is to make sure you’re sending a text that will encourage your customers to take action.
Getting them to read your message is the first step — getting them to respond is the goal.
If you follow the text message checklist in the infographic below (here’s the link to the original text message marketing checklist), your messages are much more likely to be impactful and move your customers to action.
Of course, that assumes that you’re targeting the right customers in the first place — if you haven’t segmented your target markets, download our Starter Buyer Persona Template and get started today.
12 Text Message Marketing Best Practices
If you want your SMS marketing to be effective, the first (and most important) step is making sure you write an effective message. To do that, include the following things:
- Show your business name — This might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it’s easy to forget. You don’t want your customer to have to struggle to figure out where the text came from. Include your name in the message itself, or alter the sender name to show as your business name.
- Use your customer’s name — Chances are, your customer will know that you aren’t sending separate text messages out to every single one of your customers, but it’s still important to personalize the message with their name. People love to hear their names, and it makes them like you more as well.
- Grab their attention — You need to start off with a bang so they want to know why it is you’re contacting them.
- Make it valuable — Don’t waste your customer’s time contacting them if you don’t have something that’s going to add value to their life. That’s one of the fastest ways to aggravate a customer. Think about it — when your phone alerts you that you have a text, would you be frustrated if there was no real purpose for the message?
- Spell out the details — You need to be clear and concise when you message your customers. Tell them exactly what they need to know and leave the rest out.
- Don’t forget to use power words — Use words that are either going to play on an emotion of the customer or motivate them into action. For example, when you include the word “free,” people take action because they perceive that they’re getting something of great value (compared to the cost).
- Use CAPITALS — If there’s a word you really want to emphasize, don’t be afraid to highlight it. But, be careful not to overdo it with capitalization — it quickly becomes ineffective or has the opposite effect of what you’re going for.
- Include a call-to-action (CTA) — Text message marketing might not seem like traditional marketing, but some of the rules of traditional marketing still apply. You need to include a call-to-action at the end of your message. Tell your customer what they need to do to make the most of your message.
- Shorten your URL — You don’t want to waste precious space with your long URL. Using a tool like Bitly.com can help you include your link without taking up as much space.
- Tell the customer how to opt out — Always include a way for your customer to stop receiving your messages.
- Make it relevant — Only send an offer or message to a customer if it applies to them. Don’t waste their time with messages that aren’t relevant or targeted to them. Split your customer list into groups so it’s easier to send relevant messages out to your list, and use a buyer persona for each group to ensure you’re properly targeting your messages.
- Make it urgent — Your message should convey a sense of urgency to your customer. It needs to motivate them to act quickly.
Text Message Marketing Best Practices — What Not to Do
Text message marketing is something that businesses can easily mess up (and render ineffective) by making a few common mistakes — mistakes you need to avoid.
You want to make sure that your messages are coming across as professional and represents your brand well, so here are a few things to avoid when writing your business SMS message:
- Avoid using text-speak (like “Deals 2 Die 4”) — This can make your brand appear to be trying too hard to be cool.
- Don’t use abbreviations or internet slang (like “lol”) — Make sure that you spell out your words and present yourself in a professional manner.
- Don’t use multiple exclamation points or emojis — If you choose to use these, use with caution as a little can go a long way.
- Avoid sending messages to people when they are sleeping or driving — Texting during work hours is the best way to make sure you’re reaching people when they will be able to read your message and take action.
- Avoid spamming your customers — Don’t text each person more than a couple times during the month. If your customer thinks of your message as spam, you will quickly lose their trust.
Starting a text message marketing plan is an important step to keep your business in front of your customers. Implement these text message marketing best practices to make the most of your marketing efforts and to motivate your customers to take action today.
And you don’t have to send all the texts manually. Using a bulk SMS platform like TextMagic, can bring your text message marketing to the next level. Check out their full set of features and get started with your first campaign.
Not Sure Who to Target With Your Marketing? Get the Buyer Persona Template
Now that you understand the basics of text message marketing, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right customers with the right messages.
Because no matter how well written or enticing a marketing message is, if it goes to the wrong person, it’s not going to be effective.
Get the Blue Steele Solutions Starter Buyer Persona Template to start segmenting your customers. Once you’ve built several personas to represent different segments of your market, you can think more effectively about what kind of text message will be most enticing to each segment.
Click the button to download it.