SMS marketing (also known as customer texting) is an advertising approach that enables businesses and companies to send text messages to their customers. In this article, we set out what you need to know about customer texting and its effectiveness.
You’ll discover the best approaches to use when texting customers, as well as common errors that some businesses make. Finally, you’ll learn the critical mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
The benefits of texting customers
Many people think that the days when SMS marketing was fruitful have long gone, but this isn’t true. SMS is still considered to be one of the best ways to approach customers.
The main reason is that text messages are incredibly direct and have a very high open rate. One particular brand, Thinx, reported to Modern Retail that it’d seen SMS open rates close to 100%, compared to just 15-30% for email.
The reaction to customer texting differs based on the marketing strategy that a company employs. Texts can be interesting to read, but in some instances, they can be deemed as annoying. On the whole, though, customer texting is an effective way to improve brand engagement and boost conversions.
Further reading: Learn more about SMS marketing in our expert's guide!
Customer texting: the good
To get the best results when texting customers, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do. Let’s look at the tried and true rules you should follow first of all.
1. Always ask for permission
Merely having a list of phone numbers doesn't pave the route to successful customer texting. It's illegal in many countries to send a marketing SMS without seeking permission from the user. Asking for permission ensure you’re complying with text marketing laws and gives a good impression of your brand.
You should get explicit consent from customers before you start sending texts to them. The following two methods are useful in this regard.
You can create a simple opt-in campaign that encourages users to send a specific keyword to the company's shortcode. For example, ask them to send the code 'NEW’ to '786363' to receive the latest offers.
If you sell products or services online, ask users to check an opt-in box when they reach the checkout page while making their purchase. These are usually quick and easy to set up. Make sure to include explanatory text to inform customers what they’re signing up for, such as receiving weekly or monthly offers by text.
2. Use an SMS provider
It's simply not feasible to use your smartphone for sending texts to hundreds or even thousands of customers. Instead, you should use an SMS sending service (like Messente) to carry out bulk texting effectively.
Using a provider, you’ll also have more control over your marketing strategy. You can create separate groups for targeting, track delivery status and maintain your database much easier with the help of the right SMS provider.
3. Offer value
When someone opts to receive texts from your brand or business, it means they want to get something worthwhile in return. If you’re not able to write impressive advertising copy - because, let’s face it, copywriting isn’t exactly a doddle - contact a professional writing service to get this job done effortlessly.
Never try to bombard your target audience with worthless texts. It’ll only damage your reputation and bother customers. A good text message should always offer value. Here’s a good example below.
Customer texting: the bad
Now, it's time to check out the common errors that some businesses make while texting customers.
1. Sending at the wrong time
You can imagine the anger of someone enjoying their sleep at midnight, and suddenly their phone rudely awakens them with the sound of a text notification. It’s imperative to consider the best time to send business texts. Analyse the time zone of your customer base and consider an appropriate time for customer texting.
2. Being mysterious
People ignore messages that they get from unknown sources. They consider such anonymous texts as spam. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify your brand or business with its name and then sensibly convey the marketing message.
3. Using acronyms and slang
For cost-effectiveness, you should create a great marketing text using no more than 160 characters. If you exceed that number, your message will count as two (or more). You need to deliver your message within this limit without using abbreviations or slang because these can confuse the recipient.
Take a look at this example - there’s no business or brand name, and the slang and acronyms make the text difficult to read.
Customer texting: the don't you dare
Let's briefly discuss the worst customer texting approaches. These are nasty offences that could enrage your customers or render your texts ineffective, so try to avoid these mistakes entirely.
1. Sending too many texts
Millions of people get bombarded with irrelevant marketing texts every day. According to research, over 16 million text messages are sent per minute. On top of SMS, people are also receiving many other forms of messages like social media ads and emails. So let your audience breathe and carry out customer texting only when needed.
2. Not providing an unsubscribe option
Each SMS should allow customers to unsubscribe if they don’t feel happy with your marketing texts. It’s illegal to keep sending texts to your customer base and not letting them opt out.
3. Not including a call-to-action
A call-to-action (CTA) is vital in any marketing message. It encourages readers to take the desired action, such as making a purchase, downloading an app, or contacting a business. Direct your customers to take action using clear words - don't expect them to read your mind. Many renowned brands use customer texting with clear CTAs such as ‘signup for free’, ‘use this promo code’, and ‘click this link’.
This image shows a ‘don’t you dare’ kind of text. There’s no unsubscribe option and no code for the customer to use to get their discount! And there’s no URL to direct them to a specific landing page.
Getting started with customer texting
SMS marketing is still a prevalent mode of advertising for a company's products and services. Many businesses successfully boost their activities and conversions by texting their customers.
Now that you know the good, the bad, and the don’t you dare when it comes to customer texting, you might be wondering how to get started.
Selecting a reputable SMS provider should be your first step. Make sure to choose one with bulk messaging capability, a reliable delivery rate and access to an extensive network of mobile operators. Messente is one such platform and can deliver texts in over 190 countries.
Once you’re set up with a provider, creating SMS campaigns is straightforward. Messente, for instance, offers an easy-to-use online dashboard with a text message composer.
After uploading your opted-in contacts via Messente’s PhoneBook API, you’ll create your text message and pick the groups of customers you want to contact. Then you can schedule your message or send it right away at the click of a button.
Get started creating your first text campaign today. Create a free Messente account here.