How to Use Text Marketing 101: Quick Tips to Follow & Strategies to Use
Each day, 23 billion text messages are sent around the world. We use text messages to get in touch with our friends, family, and colleagues, so why shouldn’t we use it to reach out to customers?
Text marketing, although not a new concept, is a hidden gem for brands looking to grow their audience. It’s been predicted that 48.7 million consumers will opt into business SMS messaging in 2020.
Plus, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of text marketing. The average American checks their phone 47 times a day. But, with COVID-19 forcing us to stay at home, that number has likely skyrocketed in recent months.
In this guide, we’ll show you:
- What text marketing is (and how it works)
- 5 convincing reasons to use text message marketing
- 4 text marketing tips you must know before you start
- 7 easy text marketing strategies to use today
What Is Text Marketing, and How Does It Work?
The beauty of text marketing is that users must consent to receive text messages from your business. Therefore, you are not spamming a random group of people with your promotions and texts. Rather, you’re sending targeted messages to customers who are familiar with your company and have interacted with your brand before.
This highly targeted marketing tactic, however, is used infrequently by businesses across all industries. It’s been reported that 54% of consumers would like to receive text messages from companies, but only 11% of businesses send them to customers.
How Does SMS Marketing Work?
Instead of being sent from a company’s toll-free or vanity number, text messages are sent from shortcodes. These are five- or six-digit numbers that cannot be altered.
Pro Tip: Since shortcodes cannot be changed, it is always important to mention your business name in the text message! This ensures the customer knows exactly who the message is from.
Companies can send individualized messages (also known as transactional messages) or full-blown campaigns via text message. Campaign messages are often promotional texts sent to the masses, while transactional messages include personal information, such as shipping notifications, receipt information, or loyalty program status.
Similar to call tracking software, businesses can use the reporting features to track the success of their text campaign. You’ll be able to see who opened your message, what actions they took, and more. You can then use this data to guide your next text message strategy.
5 Convincing Reasons to Use Text Marketing
1. Instant and Unbelievable Engagement Rates from Customers
SMS marketing boasts a 98% open rate. In comparison, the average email marketing open rate is anywhere between 15–25%. In addition, text messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook.
There’s no denying the power of text marketing. So, why isn’t your brand taking advantage of this highly effective marketing tactic yet?
2. Affordable Tactic
In comparison to other marketing tactics, SMS marketing is extremely affordable. The cost of each campaign or text plan varies, but most businesses pay a flat-rate fee, which covers 1,000+ texts and specific keywords. On average, these plans range from around $1–$80 per month, depending on the plan features and inclusions.
3. Versatile Platform
From promoting your latest products to alerting a customer about an account update, brands can accomplish a myriad of sales and marketing goals via text messages. The versatile nature of texting allows businesses to reach customers in so many new — and affordable — ways.
4. Wide Customer Reach
Depending on your audience’s age or access to technology, they may not have an Instagram account or email address, but they most likely have a cell phone. More than 5 billion people across the globe have and use cell phones and smartphones to text.
As a result, text marketing gives businesses an opportunity to reach a large percentage of their customer base with a single marketing tactic. Through text messages, you’ll be able to access customers that don’t interact with your social marketing or email campaigns, which actively grows your reach.
5. It’s the Customer’s Decision
45% of the emails we receive are considered spam. Between bots on social media, spam phone calls, and emails begging you to wire funds to another country, we’re all fed up with spam.
With text marketing, however, customers must make the conscious decision to opt into these messages. You’ll never have to worry about whether or not your customers will consider your texts to be spam.
Sure, some will unsubscribe over time, but not because you invaded their privacy with unsolicited messages.
4 Text Marketing Tips You Must Know Before You Start
1. Never, Ever Bombard Customers with Messages
Another form of spam is message frequency.
Do not overwhelm your customers with text after text. Yes, you want to stay top of mind with customers, but spamming their phones with texts is not the way to go.
Instead, find a cadence that works for your business goals. Most brands find success with one text per week.
Remember, text marketing platforms include analytics and reporting so you can identify when the peak time is to text your audience rather than guessing over and over again.
2. Personalize Where Possible
Most text marketing platforms allow you to personalize messages with information, such as a customer’s name, order status, or address. Use this information to create individualized texts, even when you’re sending out a mass text campaign.
With 77% of consumers expecting retailers to personalize their experience, do your best to personalize each text you send to customers.
3. Be Creative
You won’t receive much traction on your text marketing strategy if your messages are boring. Get creative!
Write original texts in your brand’s voice that resonate with your audience. Keep the texts short, sweet, and timely for the best results.
4. Consider the Time of Day
While your texts should be timely, they should also be considerate of the time of day. You wouldn’t want to get a telemarketing call at midnight, right? Your customers don’t want to receive a text that late, either.
Consider texting your customers at times they’re most likely to be looking at their phone, such as midday or around lunchtime.
Don’t be the brand that sends late-night discounts via text!
7 Easy Text Marketing Strategies You Can Use Today
When you’re ready to see what text message marketing can do for your brand, start with any of these seven easy strategies.
1. Segment Customers
No two customers are the same, but many are alike. Within your text marketing platform, you can create segmented lists of customers based on criteria, such as:
- Products purchased
- Length of account/Years active
- Purchase frequency
Using this information, you can send targeted text messages to each list that appeal to their interests. For instance, if you run a franchise with several locations, segmented lists allow you to text exclusive offers to customers of one location rather than another.
This targeted approach increases your chance of conversion in comparison to sending out mass messages.
2. Send Exclusive Text-Only Promos
At the beginning of your text marketing plan, you’ll need to entice customers to sign up. Do so by promising exclusive offers to only those who opt-in.
As more and more customers see others receive great rewards and discounts, they’ll be more apt to sign up for texts too.
3. Launch a Loyalty Program
Several SMS marketing platforms integrate seamlessly with existing loyalty programs. This allows your customers to manage their loyalty account, rewards, and qualified purchases through conversations with AI chatbots via text messages.
This simple approach to a loyalty program also opens it up to users of all ages and devices. Customers no longer need to download an app or sign up via email; it’s all available via text!
4. Send Appointment Reminders
Does your business operate on an appointment basis? Send out appointment reminder texts 24–48 hours before. Your customers can confirm or change their appointment via text.
This tactic will help you reduce the rate of missed appointments and hold customers accountable as well.
5. Alert Customers About Order Status
From table reservations at a restaurant to shipping notifications about an e-commerce order, you can use text message marketing to update customers about the status of their order or reservation.
On top of pushing notifications to customers, allow customers to text your brand’s shortcode for information too.
6. Every Text Is a Call-to-Action
Every text your brand sends must include a call-to-action (CTA). After all, you’re not texting customers to have a casual conversation. Each text you send must have a succinct message with a purpose and a clear next step.
Common examples of text messaging CTAs include:
- Reply “YES” to confirm.
- Press 1 to see order status.
- Use the code “2020” at checkout for 20% off!
Regardless of if the text is campaign-focused or transactional, always direct the customer on what to do next with a defined CTA.
7. Launch New Products, Services, and Promotions
Those who opted into text messages from your brand are part of an exclusive segment of your customer base. 48% of customers sign up for text marketing to stay in the loop with their favorite brands. Treat these customers like royalty by giving them an inside look at new products, services, and promotions happening in your store
The next time you’re gearing up to launch a new product online or in-store, shoot a text message to your subscribers a day or two before it goes live with a password-protected link to the new product page on your website. Take it a step further and give them early access to purchasing the product too.
SMS Marketing: Your Brand’s Secret Weapon
Text marketing is an affordable and effective tactic that few brands are truly taking advantage of. After all, what other marketing strategy or channel boasts a 98% open rate?
Since 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes, your texts will always be timely, actionable, and relevant to the consumer, resulting in stronger brand loyalty and a dedicated customer base.
Try text marketing today, and see what it can accomplish for your brand.