Are you looking for a new way to reach your customers? Perhaps you need a means of advertising that customers will actually engage with and not simply ignore. 2-way SMS text message platforms could be the fertile soil in which you grow your business.
You have to follow federal guidelines regarding the use of text message marketing, but that just makes it easier to weed out the people who aren’t that interested in becoming your customers. With text message marketing, you can contact your best customers directly, and give them the coupons, promotions, polls, and company news they crave. Here’s how to implement text message marketing in your business.
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), you have to get customers’ express written consent to contact them via phone. You can get it via an online form on your website or even via a hardcopy form, but many companies get it by asking customers to text an opt-in keyword to a code number.
Once customers have opted in, you need to provide disclosure in an opt-in message. The disclosure message should include:
- Your company name;
- How many texts you plan to send each day, week, or month;
- Data rate and text message rate notices;
- The purpose of the proposed texts;
- Instructions for opting out;
- Instructions for getting help; and
- Explicit access to the terms and conditions of your text message marketing program.
In addition to opting in and sending the disclosure message, there are other guidelines you must follow. You can only send marketing texts during business hours, which the TCPA defines as between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. If a customer is on the Do Not Call Registry or has opted out of receiving your text messages, you need to honor that. SMS text messaging services like Sakari (https://sakari.io/features/mass-text-messaging/) can offer advice to help you meet TCPA guidelines.
For most text message marketing campaigns, opting out is as simple as responding with “STOP.” You obviously don’t want your customers to do that, so you need to make sure they see your marketing texts as bearing useful information, even when they don’t always act on the messaging.
You can start by taking it easy on the texts — there’s no need to bombard customers with multiple urgent text offers per day. Keep your SMS marketing messages to a minimum, and only send them when you need to — maybe if you run a restaurant or bar with daily specials, you have a reason to send marketing texts every day, but for many businesses, one or two texts a week should be sufficient.
And each text should contain something the customer wants — a mobile coupon, a discount code for ordering online, news about a sale, company updates, or even polls and surveys. When customers enjoy getting your text messages and find your promotional offers useful more often than not, they won’t opt out of future messages.
Customers will already be more engaged with your marketing texts than they might with other forms of advertising because they have actually signed up to receive the marketing texts. That, and the sense of urgency that text messages tend to carry, accounts for the 98 percent open rate of SMS marketing texts. Unlike email inboxes, which tend to fill up with spam, customers know that their SMS inboxes generally only receive messages that they want to read.
You can use this to your advantage to strengthen customer loyalty. Offer your customers something of value in each text message. It could be a promotional offer, a survey, or just important company information, but it should be something your customers will be glad to receive. They’ll appreciate getting access to coupons, discount codes, sales, and offers that other customers — those not on the SMS marketing list — don’t receive.
They’ll appreciate that you’re not spamming them with messages that don’t offer them any value, and this will build engagement with your brand and strengthen brand loyalty.
You can even use interactive messaging to drum up more interest in your products and services — messaging disguised as a poll or survey will increase engagement by turning your audience into participants. You can even include links to intriguing video content or, with some text messaging services, add images and video directly to your texts. You’ll bring in more repeat business and help you turn interested consumers into loyal customers.
SMS text messaging is an effective tool for marketing your products and services directly to the people most likely to want them — your loyal customers. With the help of a mass texting service, you can put together text message marketing campaigns to rival your biggest competitors, often for just a few cents per message.