The Building Blocks of an Effective Text Message Marketing Strategy
According to Teradata, while only 29% of Tweets, 21% of emails, and 12% of Facebook posts are ever read, texts are read at an astonishing 98% (90% within the first 3 minutes). So, just sign up with a text messaging service provider, start sending texts, and your business will double. Right? Not so fast.
Just having the right software isn't what makes you a success any more than having a deck of cards makes you a magician. Being effective means having the right strategy, and a service that will help you hone and implement that strategy in the right way.
We’ve provided text messaging service for over a decade, and we’ve watched 70% of our customers grow and experience at least a 10% increase in their business. We’ve watched the best marketers in the business for a long time, and we employ some of them here at EZ Texting.
An Effective Text Message Marketing Strategy Starts with These Considerations
There are six considerations you should make when driving a texting strategy. Skip these planning steps, and you'll likely fail to move the right numbers, annoy your contacts, and waste money. Working through these 6 items won't take long. The time spent will save you some headaches down the road.
1. Set SMART Goals According to Business Objectives
In November 1981 George Doran published an acronym and set of guidelines for setting goals in Management Review which has been adapted to many different fields of expertise. It works particularly well for planning in the marketing setting. We'll provide some suggestions below using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym which apply specifically to text message marketing.
Don't generalize your goals. Ask yourself some specific questions as you work through the planning phase.
What is the purpose of the campaign? (brand awareness, direct sales, referrals, customer preferences, etc.) Who will receive messages? (current customers or prospects) How are you going to measure results? (link clicks, replies, purchases, opt-ins, etc.)
Put some numbers to your specific goals. Don't say "We expect to get a lot of prospects and current customers to opt-in to our text messages." Say "We expect to get 30 prospects and 50 current customers to opt-in to our text messages by September 30."
Make it realistic. The conversion rate for your campaign will, of course, depend on the strength of your brand, the offer, and your market. Keep in mind that it's better to be conservative in your estimations until you get a baseline for conversion rates.
A Domino's Pizza franchise regularly sees a 20-25% conversion rate on their text coupon codes, but it took a few campaigns to refine and get to that impressive rate. A church youth group recently reported that 80% of their students opted in to receive updates. But that's a special market. A clean water charity reported a 25% opt-in rate from their donor base, which is an engaged set of contacts.
Obviously, the conversion rates can vary widely. Estimate low to start with and then start optimizing campaigns to increase conversion rates.
Make sure that the goals of your text marketing campaign align with the overarching goals of the business. Many businesses go through growth phases which impact their objectives for a time.
A company may recognize, for instance, that they see a lull in sales during the same two-week span every year. The text message marketing strategy for that time might include a special offer to boost sales.
Or a business might be concerned that they are missing the mark with their product offering and wish to devote a quarter to learn more about what their customers want. They could use text-to-vote SMS polls to get a better understanding of customer preferences.
Don't give yourself an indefinite amount of time to accomplish your objectives. Give yourself a deadline. Did you notice that we added an ending date to the measurable goal above? "We expect to get 30 prospects and 50 current customers to opt-in to our text messages by September 30."
2. Find the Best Tool with the Right Features
One of, if not the, biggest decisions you will make when starting with text message marketing is choosing the right service provider. While you may only have one campaign in mind at the moment, it's important to keep in mind that business objectives change over time. You may only want to send coupon codes right now, but you may need to schedule regular service reminders in the future.
Look for a mass text messaging service with a robust set of features. Below are a few of the most prominent features to look for, but you'll find a more detailed list in our post The 13 Must-Have Features of a Business Text Messaging App.
- Drip campaigns
- Recurring messages
- Text-to-vote polling
- Dedicated short codes
Don't forget one of the most important features when selecting a service provider: ease-of-use. Text messaging shouldn't be complicated. If the platform is hard to use, you probably won't use it. How will you know if it will be hard to use? If it's a pain to sign up for a test run, chances are good that it'll be difficult to use. (Our free trial setup-to-send process usually takes under five minutes!)
3. Understand the Options and Brainstorm Campaigns
You can do a heck of a lot with Short Message Service (SMS) marketing. Your text message marketing strategy might include a mix of prospect conversion, post-conversion upsell, and customer retention campaigns.
Consider some of the following ways companies use business texting:
- A customer anniversary campaign to show appreciation for long-term customers.
- Appointment reminders to cut down on missed appointments and revenue.
- Text-to-landline customer service.
- Remote workforce coordination to alert employees with important updates.
- Inspirational messages to improve brand affinity and increase usage of your product or service.
- Customer preference polls to segment contacts by interest and learn more about what they want.
- Job opening alerts to job seekers.
- Contests to increase sales and grow your contact database.
4. Consider Integrating with Other Channels
Don't formulate your text message marketing strategy in isolation. Keep in mind that by integrating SMS marketing with other channels, you can boost activity in each.
If you develop a contest campaign on one channel, let followers know that text subscribers will get additional bonuses or an inside scoop into your events. Those who follow you on other channels already show an interest in your brand, so they may want to become more intimately involved with your brand through text messages.
Keep in mind that it's best to customize the message based on the channel. Don't use the exact same verbiage in an email that you use in text, for instance.
5. Text Content That is Relevant & Welcome
This rule should apply to all content marketing, but especially text messaging. Every time a text goes out, it is buzzing someone immediately. The tolerance level for unwanted messages goes down relative to the intimacy of the messaging channel. You can expect that level to be very low with text messaging.
Your contacts have opted-in to text messages from you which means they're very interested in your messages. Don't blow it by sending "Hope you're having a great day!" texts. Send something of value every time. If you don't have something to send that will make your contacts' lives better, don't schedule the message. Which leads us to our final consideration . . .
6. Don't Overdo It
Lay out the terms of your text program (i.e., once a week) and stick to it. Your contacts should have some idea of how often you'll be texting them either before or right after they opt-in. For instance, your subscription confirmation might read:
Pick a frequency that makes sense for the kinds of updates you intend to send. An insurance agency, for instance, might send home maintenance tips once a month, whereas a fitness gym might send inspirational messages every day to keep contacts motivated to work out.
Next Steps to Develop A Business-Boosting Text Message Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand some of the important factors to consider when developing your text message marketing strategy, it's time to take the next step.
If you're interested in getting more detail about some of the specifics in this post, download our free guide 4 Strategies for Successful Text Marketing.
In the free download, you'll find out how to:
- Effectively promote your goods and services
- Increase Engagement with customers
- Quickly send alerts to your subscribers
- Automate text message appointment reminders
Are you ready to take a spin with a text message service provider? In less time than it took you to read this post, you can sign up for a free trial with EZ Texting and send yourself and/or your team a test message.
Sign up for a free trial now, and you'll learn why 210,000 clients have come to love us over the last 10 years.