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Text Message Marketing: Is It For You?

Text Message Marketing: Is It For You?

by Jessica Jones

Have you considered adding text messages to your business’s marketing strategy? Maybe you’ve seen other businesses offering special deals to customers via text message and wondered whether it would be a good idea for your business to do the same. Let’s take a look at some of the pros, cons and requirements of text message marketing.

Is SMS marketing a good avenue for your company?
Is SMS marketing a good avenue for your company?

The first thing that you need to be aware of is that there are FCC regulations in place in regards to text message marketing, and in order to avoid hefty fines you should make certain that you’re well-educated about them. As I’m in no way a legal advisor and as these regulations are subject to change I won’t attempt to break the legalities down here, but one of the main concerns is that you don’t send out marketing texts to any customers that haven’t expressly consented to it.

How do you make certain that you have the consent that you need? A quality text messaging service will help you with this, both by providing you with a system that ensures people are not added to your campaigns unless they’ve requested to be and by answering any questions you may have about the best ways to stay on the right side of the regulations. If you’re looking around for a text messaging service to help you with your campaign, beware anyone who can’t confidently answer any of your questions about regulations.

Gaining Subscribers: Make it Worth Their While!

Once you’re sure that no one will end up on your list unless they’ve requested to be, it’s time to face the big question: how do you get people to want to opt in? The answer to that is actually fairly straightforward: make sure that it’s in their best interest to do so. Offer them value – good deals that are exclusive to your text campaign. Make sure that the opportunity for savings is front and center in your marketing – they need to know that they stand to gain real value, not just miscellaneous updates.

Keeping Subscribers: Keep it Worth Their While!

Once you’ve started to build up a list of subscribers, how do you keep them from unsubscribing? First off, keep the deals coming. Text message marketing isn’t Twitter – this isn’t the place for blurbs about what your business is up to or general news (unless it’s news about a major sale). When customers read a marketing text, they want a deal. If your texts fail to deliver, they’ll probably opt out.

You’ll also want to make certain that you don’t overdo it. Even if you’re sending great deals, people generally don’t want to get texts from you every day. How often should you text them? Tatango, a text marketing provider, has a great video about campaign frequency. They point out that the frequency of your messages should correspond with how often a customer may be to actually buy your product. A pizza shop, for example, can get away with sending messages more often than a salon, who in turn will want to send messages more often than a car dealership.

With text messages, timing is a key factor. If your message doesn’t immediately spark a user’s interest, they’ll scroll past it and probably forget about it entirely. Don’t expect them to do any long-term planning based on your texts. Don’t tell them about a major sale that starts next week; use your Facebook page to hype up the sale ahead of time and use a text to remind your subscribers the day of the actual sale, preferably with a text-exclusive code that they can use to get an extra deal for being a subscriber.

Is This Really Worth the Trouble?

It can be! One of the most important benefits of text message marketing is that your subscribers are very likely to read your messages. According to a Forbes article about mobile marketing, 95 out of 100 of your subscribers will actually open and read your messages. That’s a pretty amazing rate, but it makes sense. Many people will ignore email marketing, even if they’ve signed up for the list, but people who text regularly are very likely to read any text that comes through. Because most people will be far pickier about giving out their cell phone number for text marketing than they would be about signing up for an email list, they probably won’t sign up unless they’re genuinely interested in what you’re offering.

If your business doesn’t lend itself to offering quick and accessible discounts, however, text message marketing might not be a good option for you. Like most marketing platforms, it isn’t a good fit for every business. Many people are very picky about which businesses they will allow to text them – if you just don’t have promotions that will gain and keep subscribers then I wouldn’t recommend channeling your efforts into this kind of campaign. If you’ve got the ability to send customers value via SMS, though, a thorough and well-run text campaign can have extraordinary returns.