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SMS Text Message Marketing Best Practices: Building Strong Relationships and Driving Sales

SMS Text Message Marketing Best Practices: Building Strong Relationships and Driving Sales

In today’s digital age, where almost everyone carries a smartphone, businesses have a tremendous opportunity to connect with their customers through various channels, including social media, email, and SMS text message marketing. While email marketing and social media allow businesses to reach their audience on their terms, SMS text message marketing offers the added advantage of direct contact with the reader. When a person receives a text message, they are likely to read it immediately, without any subject line acting as a barrier. This article explores the best practices for SMS text message marketing, including compliance standards, message content, timing, and ways to grow your text message marketing list.

Compliance Standards and Guidelines for SMS Text Message Marketing

Before embarking on an SMS text message marketing campaign, it is crucial to understand and adhere to the compliance standards and guidelines set by regulatory bodies. In the United States, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires businesses to obtain prior consent from customers before sending them text messages for marketing purposes. This means that businesses cannot simply gather mobile numbers and start sending marketing messages without permission. Compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act is also essential to protect consumers from misleading information and poor business practices. Similar regulations exist in other countries, such as Canada, Australia, and the UK. It is imperative to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your target market to ensure compliance.

To comply with these regulations, it is essential to include certain information in your SMS text messages. This includes a description of the program, the shortcode or phone number from which the messages will be sent, a disclosure about message and data rates, the number of messages subscribers can expect to receive, instructions on how to opt-out, a link to your terms and conditions or privacy policy, and contact and support information. Including these details not only keeps you compliant but also instills trust and transparency among your subscribers.

Best Practices for Sending SMS Text Messages

To ensure the success of your SMS text message marketing strategy, it is crucial to follow certain best practices. These practices will help you craft engaging and effective text messages that resonate with your subscribers. Let’s explore these best practices in detail:

1. Send a Confirmation Text Message

After someone joins your text list, it is essential to send a confirmation message to confirm their registration. This confirmation message should include the identity of the sender, opt-out instructions, messaging quantity or recurring messages disclosure, and the disclosure that message and data rates may apply. By sending a confirmation message, you not only comply with regulations but also set clear expectations for your subscribers.

2. Be Mindful of Message Frequency and Timing

Respecting your subscribers’ time and privacy is crucial for the success of your SMS text message marketing campaign. Avoid overwhelming your subscribers with too many messages and be mindful of the timing of your messages. According to the TCPA, text marketing messages can only be sent between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the local time of the receiver. By adhering to these standards, you ensure that your messages are received at a time when they are most likely to be well-received.

3. Keep SMS Messages Concise, Relevant, and Engaging

Given the limited character count in text messages, it is essential to keep your content concise, relevant, and engaging. Craft messages that provide value to your audience and align with their interests. Be direct in describing the product, service, sale, or event you are promoting, and provide a link or shortcode for subscribers to take action. Avoid using slang or shorthand and focus on delivering clear and valuable information.

4. Personalize Messages Based on Customer Preferences

To make your messages more relevant to your audience, segment your list based on customer preferences. Use the data you have about your customers to send targeted and personalized messages. For example, if a customer has previously attended an event or scheduled a service with your business, they may find text messages about future events or sales on related services more relevant and engaging.

5. Craft Compelling Calls to Action

Every text message you send should have a clear call to action that encourages the subscriber to take the desired action. Whether it’s directing them to a product/service page or an event sign-up form, make sure your call to action is compelling and prompts immediate action. Phrases like “buy now” or “schedule an appointment” can help drive engagement and conversions.

6. Test, Monitor, and Analyze Campaign Performance Regularly

Regularly monitoring and analyzing the performance of your SMS text message marketing campaigns is essential for optimizing your strategy. Keep track of delivery rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes to gain insights into what works and what doesn’t. Use this data to refine and improve your text messages for future campaigns. Experiment with different messaging styles, offers, and timing to find what resonates best with your audience.

7. Integration with Other Channels

To maximize the reach and impact of your SMS text message marketing, integrate it with other channels such as email marketing and social media. Link your SMS sign-up form to your email campaigns and social media accounts. Use features like text-to-join and QR code signups to collect subscriptions at events. By integrating SMS with other channels, you create an omnichannel marketing strategy that enhances the overall customer experience.

Growing Your Text Message Marketing List

Now that you understand the best practices for SMS text message marketing, let’s explore some effective ways to grow your text message marketing list. A growing list means more opportunities to engage with your audience and drive sales. Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Start with Your Email List

Leverage your existing email list to promote your SMS text message marketing program. Craft a marketing email that explains the benefits of signing up for your text messages and includes a link to a sign-up form or landing page where subscribers can enter their mobile numbers. This cross-promotion between email and SMS can help you reach a wider audience and encourage them to engage with your business through multiple channels.

2. Focus on Providing Value

When asking people to join your text list, consider offering an incentive to sweeten the deal. This could be a special sale, exclusive information, or early access to new products, services, or specials. Providing value upfront increases the likelihood of people opting in and staying subscribed to your text messages.

3. Set Expectations

Be transparent about how often you will communicate with your subscribers via the SMS channel. Clearly communicate whether you will send promotions a couple of times a month or provide frequent updates during an event. Setting expectations at the point of signup helps manage subscribers’ expectations and ensures that they remain engaged and interested in receiving your messages.

4. Grow Your List In-person, In Print, and Online

Take advantage of various opportunities to grow your text message marketing list. When interacting with customers in person, such as in-store or at events, encourage them to sign up for your text messages. Utilize print materials, such as signage or direct mail, to spread awareness about your text list. Online, link a lead-generation landing page to your social media accounts, include information in marketing emails, and promote your text list on your website. Make it easy for people to join your list by incorporating user-friendly sign-up forms and clear calls to action.

Creating a Great Subscriber Experience with SMS Text Message Marketing

Building strong relationships with your subscribers is essential for the long-term success of your SMS text message marketing efforts. By providing a great subscriber experience, you can foster loyalty, engagement, and drive sales. Here are some tips to create a great experience for your subscribers:

1. Identify Yourself

When sending a text message, always identify your business in the message. This helps recipients recognize that the message is coming from a trusted source and increases brand recognition.

2. Timing

Respect the recipients’ time and ensure that your messages are sent within appropriate hours. According to regulations, text messages can only be sent between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the recipient’s local time zone. Additionally, consider the timing of your updates and send them at times that align with your campaign objectives and the preferences of your audience.

3. Be Consistent and Frequency

Consistency is key in any marketing channel, including SMS text message marketing. Plan to send messages at least once a month to remain top of mind for your subscribers. If messages are too infrequent, subscribers may forget they signed up, and if they are too frequent, subscribers may feel overwhelmed. Strike a balance that keeps your subscribers engaged without overwhelming them.

4. Be Concise

Given the limited character count in text messages, it is essential to be concise in your messaging. Use clear and straightforward language to convey your message effectively. Avoid using slang or shorthand that may confuse or alienate your audience.

5. Be Conversational

Take advantage of the personal nature of the text channel to make your audience feel special and seen by your business. Use a conversational tone in your messages to create a sense of connection and engagement. Personalize your messages whenever possible to make your subscribers feel valued.

6. Be Exclusive

Provide exclusive offers or content to your text message subscribers. By sharing promotions or content exclusive to your SMS channel, you give subscribers a reason to stay engaged and subscribed. This exclusivity helps to build loyalty and encourages subscribers to take advantage of the benefits offered through the text channel.

7. Bring Value

Always prioritize providing value to your subscribers in your communications. Whether it’s offering discounts, sharing useful information, or providing valuable resources, focus on delivering content that enhances your subscribers’ experience and helps them achieve their goals.

8. Be Personal

Segment your marketing text message list based on customer preferences and interests. Use the data you have about your subscribers to send relevant and personalized information. By tailoring your messages to specific segments, you can increase engagement and drive better results.

By following these best practices and creating a great subscriber experience, you can make the most of SMS text message marketing to build strong relationships with your audience and drive sales for your business.

Conclusion

SMS text message marketing offers businesses a powerful tool to connect with their customers directly. By following compliance standards, crafting engaging messages, and providing a great subscriber experience, businesses can build strong relationships and drive sales. Remember to always adhere to regulatory guidelines and seek consent before sending marketing messages. Personalize your messages, test and analyze campaign performance, and integrate SMS with other channels to maximize your reach. By implementing these best practices, you can leverage SMS text message marketing to its full potential and achieve your marketing goals. Start building strong relationships with your audience through SMS text message marketing today.

Remember, your audience is just a text away.

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