By: EZ Texting
If you're going to text for business, you need to know what you're doing. If you do mass texting right, your customers will love you. If you do it wrong, you can potentially annoy your customers and damage your brand.
The good news is, doing it right isn’t difficult. If you take the time to understand the basic best practices, you will be effectively engaging your customers through mass texts in no time. In this article, we’ve compiled nine essential tips that will help put your best foot forward in adopting mass texting for your business.
Adopting these tips and best practices in your strategy will help enhance your brand awareness, and engage your customers with a positive experience.
9 Tips to Master Mass Text for Business
Business texting best practices and regulations go hand in hand.
It's helpful to keep in mind that business texting regulations have been set up with the preferences of the consumer in mind. So, even if you are tempted to violate those regulations (and are able to get away with it), you're going to upset your contacts. Breaking the rules isn't going to be in your best interests. Those regulations are actually there to help you and your subscribers.
Some of the tips below are part of the regulations included in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This is the same law which regulates telemarketing. For an easier read, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has condensed the most relevant regulations into their Code of Conduct.
1. Only send with consent
The most important thing to understand about using mass text for business is that it is a form of permission-based marketing. In other words, consumers should only receive your messages if they provide written consent; and if they opt out, you have to comply. Signing up for your service and providing your phone number does not mean they have given permission (per the TCPA). Customers must actively volunteer to receive your messages. If you text people without their explicit permission, you are spamming them.
You can get consent from contacts in a couple of ways:
- Subscribe via text. Many companies do very well with Keyword/short code subscriptions. A retailer might advertise "Text 'DEALS' to 474747" on a poster in the store. When the customer texts DEALS to the short code 474747, they are subscribed.
- Subscribe via email, website, or in person. You can also get written consent through email, on your website (via a signup widget), or even through a physical form. For example, if you manage a bank, you can leave cards on a central table or on your employees' desks that invite customers to sign up. Employees can also introduce the program to new customers when they come in to open accounts, and customers can indicate if they'd like to be contacted via text message.
2. Don't send too often
How often are you going to send text messages? Finding the right frequency of sends will depend largely on the type of business you run. A pest control business, for example, might want to send monthly or quarterly texts with home maintenance tips and service reminders. A fitness gym might send daily texts with motivational quotes.
Once you decide on a frequency, it is important to let your contacts know how often they will receive messages from you. Some companies choose to give a frequency notice in a subscription auto-reply. The MMA includes this example in their best practices handbook.
A frequency of 2 messages per week is clearly identified in this subscription confirmation message.
Other companies find that advertising the message frequency with the subscription Call to Action (CTA) increases Opt-in rates. If contacts know how often you will send messages, they may be more likely to subscribe. Once you decide on a frequency and advertise it, stick to it.
3. Send at the right time of day
Never forget that your contacts are receiving messages almost exactly when you send them. 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt. Most businesses shouldn't send messages late in the evening or early in the morning. Some shouldn't send on the weekends. If your subscribers span time zones, you may need to keep separate lists for each time zone or make sure that your texting service provider takes the time zone into account when scheduling.
When you use a mass text service provider like EZ Texting, you can schedule messages ahead of time, so you do not have to be there to hit the send button at the time that the message goes out.
4. Keep a consistent brand voice
Whether you know it or not, your company has a brand voice. Your brand voice is the personality that customers associate with your business. Don't ignore this important factor as you market through business texting.
It can be tempting to use trendy abbreviations in texts because you are limited by character count. But a bank, for instance, would not want to lose brand credibility to fit a message into 160 characters. It would be better to send two messages or use a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) message to get the information across.
Because texting is more intimate than almost any other communications channel, your messages have to be on target and personalized or subscribers will be quick to reply 'STOP'. Personalization can take several forms in the context of business texting.
You can dynamically insert the contact's name or other information into your texts to make them ring more personal. Use the contact's first name or location to show that the message has been crafted specifically for them. Another form of personalization is segmenting by interest. Many top-notch marketers use text-to-vote polls to gather preference data about their contacts and then use that insight to send messages they know the contact will be interested in.
6. Be brief
Short Message Service (SMS) texts are limited to 160 characters. Don't fight it. You may be tempted to send longer messages in several texts, but you'll likely annoy your subscribers. They expect to see short messages in text.
Keep in mind that you can use a text to link to a website page or social post with more information, but don't try to do too much in the text itself. If you can't get your message across succinctly, you may need to rethink your strategy.
7. Include a CTA
Business texting is a momentum game. You want to lead your contacts to take action, which may or may not mean spending money with your business.
There are exceptions, of course, but almost all texts should lead contacts to DO something. If you aren't sending contacts actionable information, you may be texting just to text, which leads to a lot of unsubscribes and a negative brand experience.
Check out our post covering three elements which make an effective SMS CTA.
8. Respond to repliesTexting is a conversational activity. Even if your contacts know they're on a mass texting list, they may reply to your texts and expect you to reply, in turn. Some business mass texting services give you the option of handling this correspondence within their web portal so that you can manage these conversations effectively.
Many businesses are moving customer support to text as well because consumers prefer it over voice, web chat, or email.
9. Mention who the text is from
Mass texts will come from a short code which isn't readily identifiable with your business. Unlike email, your contacts will not see a "from" address which they can associate with you. Don't overlook the important best practice of including your brand name in texts, especially, the subscription confirmation message. EZ Texting offers an optional "Subject" field that works well for this exact purpose!
Continue Your Business Texting Education
We hope you've gained some valuable insights as you begin mass texting for business from this post. Business texting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to market your business. The regulations aren't complex, and the best texting service providers make signup and usage extremely simple. You're well on your way to effective text marketing with these 9 tips, but don't stop here.