These 14 Text Marketing Best Practices Will Get Results Every Time

21 Feb

Did you know that text messages have a response rate over 7 times higher than email (45% to 6%)?

By now, most marketers have heard of the impressive text message marketing statistics, and they've jumped on board. If you're not doing text marketing yet, you're behind.

So how do you catch up? The best way to accelerate your results from this powerful channel is by getting the most from your efforts without trial and error.

To help you out, our text marketing experts have compiled the most thorough list of text marketing best practices on the web so you can catch the competition and leave them in the dust.

14 Text Marketing Best Practices to Blossom Your Results Quickly

We've seen marketers make the same mistakes with bulk SMS over and over again. And we've seen what the most successful marketers do to make their contacts happy and their businesses grow.

These 14 text marketing best practices will make you look like a wizard with your very first send.

1. Reserve a Great Keyword

One of the most common mistakes beginning text marketers make is not securing a great Keyword when they sign up. You'll most likely be using a shared short code, so you'll have to find a Keyword no one else is using. Reserve a single word that will not be "corrected" by autocorrect when your contacts opt-in.

Make a list of 15+ options and share them with your team for discussion. The best options usually come at the end of that list once your creative juices start flowing.

2. Make Exclusive Offers

Many business owners and marketers get the best results when they deliver deals by text message that customers can get nowhere else. Let contacts know up front that your texts will include offers that you don't send by email or on social as an incentive to join your list. Brian Alvarez of Brian's Place restaurant successfully uses this technique to grow his VIP program and increase sales. Check out the Brian's Place case study here.

3. Pick a Cadence and Stick to It

Another way to boost signups is to let people know, before they opt-in, how often they'll receive marketing texts. Real estate marketers may send texts daily to contacts who are in the active buying or selling stage. An insurance agent may send texts quarterly to keep clients up-to-date with seasonal car or home maintenance tips. Let your contacts know how many texts you'll be sending and then keep your promise.

Our platform makes this best practice super simple because you can schedule your texts to go out whenever you want. You don't have to be in front of your computer to send them. Text marketing can deliver results year-round, so don't think of it as a one-and-done campaign option.

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4. Include a CTA

As we mentioned in Business Text Messaging: Everything You Need to Know, each text should be actionable. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in each text you send (with a few exceptions). Tell your contacts what to do with the information in your texts. This could be in the form of a reply, phone call, clicking on a link, or showing the text to one of your staff members when they come to your store.

5. Personalize

The best business SMS services offer tools to make message personalization simple and powerful. Collect and use contact data to personalize your messages using tokens which automatically insert specific information in each text. Personalization could be in the form of a first name, appointment date, purchased product, etc.

6. Mention Who It's From

Your marketing texts will be delivered from a five or six digit short code. This code is often shared among many organizations, so your contacts may not know who the message is from unless you mention your business name. If your contacts don't know who sent the text, they'll get frustrated and quickly unsubscribe.

7. Use a URL Shortener

SMS marketing providers offer some powerful tools to make your life easier and your campaigns more effective. Make sure to take advantage of these special features including a URL shortener. The shortener not only frees up more characters in your SMS messages but gives you the ability to track clicks and performance accurately. Anytime someone clicks on a shortened link provided by your platform, you'll be able to see that clearly in an easy-to-read report.

8. Keep Keywords Active After a Promo Ends

If you're using a Keyword for a short-term campaign such as a holiday special, keep the Keyword active for a few weeks after the promo has ended. Your contacts may opt in to get the incentive you offer and then tell their friends about it later. You don't want to miss out on these referral subscriptions by immediately cutting off the Keyword as soon as the promotion has ended.

Hibbett Sports recently ran a promotion where customers could text 'HOLIDAY' to 57758 to receive an instant sign-up offer. If a customer texted after the promotion was over, they still received a message with a CTA to opt-in to the loyalty program.

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9. Send Pics Effectively

Some beginning marketers only think in terms of text in their messages. But don't forget how powerful the impact of an image or video can be. Use Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) texts to deliver images of your products, staff, store, etc. Images work particularly well for real estate agents who send pics of homes, restaurants who show off new dishes, retail stores who highlight hot products, and nonprofits who feature completed projects.

Check out MMS Marketing: Adding Images, Audio, and Video to Your Marketing Texts to learn more.

10. Create Urgency

A recent study showed that text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. You can harness the power of this immediacy to create a sense of urgency. When your contacts know that time or supplies are running out, they'll be more likely to act on your offers. Use an end date and time for the deals you send out in texts. Because you know exactly when your texts will be read, this cutoff can even be within a few hours.

11. Focus on Relevance

Because text messaging is a more personal channel than others, your contacts will be quick to unsubscribe if you send them information that doesn't apply to them. One of the best ways to make sure that your messages are relevant for each contact is to create groups in your bulk messaging software. Make groups based on demographics, opt-in source, purchase habits, etc. Don't send the same text to everyone on your list.

12. Deliver Value

You also want to make sure that you send messages which make your contacts' lives better in some way. Don't send text messages for the sake of sending text messages. It's better not to send at all than to send a message wondering if your contacts will care about it. If you're thinking, "I need to send a text today to stay top-of-mind." and your text doesn't deliver value, you'll stay top-of-mind alright, but in a bad way. You can damage your brand.

13. Test Campaign Types

While there are some types of campaigns which most organizations will benefit from sending, each market segment is different. A lot of marketers come into text messaging with one use case in mind and are surprised with how many ways there are to use text messages to engage contacts and meet marketing goals. We've outlined several campaign types in Business Texting: 13 Ways Businesses Use SMS Texting to Reach Customers. Test a few of these out to see what types of campaigns resonate with your audience.

14. Respond to Replies

More than with any other marketing channel, people expect to have conversations through text messaging. If your contacts make the effort to reply to a marketing text, take a few moments to respond to them. Our SMS marketing platform makes it easy to respond to your contacts individually and manage each of those conversations through our intuitive portal.

Build Your Text Marketing Roadmap

If you're serious about catching up and passing competitors through bulk SMS, you'll do well to keep this list of text marketing best practices handy as you begin composing messages.

As you start your text marketing journey, you'll want to get up to speed as quickly as possible. We've developed a free resource which will guide you through the steps that successful marketers take to get off to a fast start with mass texting. In The 9-Step Roadmap to Mastering Text Message Marketing, we'll show you how to import and segment contacts, reserve Keywords, setup website sign-up forms, personalize your messages, and more.

Take advantage of this free, instant download by clicking below.

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