When mobile phones first became popular in the mid-1990s, SMS text advertising was the only mobile marketing option available to businesses. More than two decades later, there are plenty of mobile marketing options available; yet many businesses still rely on text message marketing to get their message heard, generate engagement and build relationships with their customers.
The continued popularity of mobile marketing with text messaging can be explained in three words - reach, simplicity, and cost. 98% of the population has access to a mobile device that can receive SMS text advertising. You do not need any technical or design skills to send an SMS, and a text message marketing campaign costs just pennies per text per recipient.
Text advertising is particularly effective because it is a permission-based activity. Customers have to opt into a business´s text message advertising service before they can receive a marketing text message. This means that, whenever a business launches a text message marketing campaign, it is being directed towards customers already interested in what the business has to say.
How Text Advertising Performs Compared to Other Mobile Marketing Channels
Despite the emergence of “fashionable” marketing - such as social media marketing and inbound marketing - text advertising continues to perform better than any other direct mobile marketing channel. While only 29% of Tweets and 12% of Facebook posts are ever read, people only need to hear the ringtone of an incoming text to reach for their mobile devices.
Consequently, 98% of SMS text messages are opened and read within three minutes of delivery. This compares favorably with an open rate of 22% for email - particularly if your text messaging campaign is time-sensitive. Furthermore, research has shown that text message advertising containing a URL to a business´s website has a click-through rate ten times higher than URLs contained within emails.
Other studies have demonstrated how text advertising out-performs other mobile marketing channels. A Cellit study found that coupons attached to a marketing text message have a redemption rate eight times higher than when attached to an email, and a Neilsen study concluded that text message advertising performs four to five times better than online advertising for creating brand awareness and increasing purchasing intent.
Getting Started with Text Message Advertising
There are only two things businesses need to get started with text message advertising - access to a bulk text messaging platform and a database of customers to advertise to. Getting access to a bulk text messaging platform is simple. You subscribe to a platform provider such as EZ Texting and use our service to conduct your text messaging campaign.
If you do not already have a database of customers to advertise to, building a contact list is also simple. EZ Texting (or other service provider) will supply you with sign up tools such as website “Click to Join” widgets, and keywords that you can ask potential clients to text to a short code number - for example “text ´discount` to 313131 to receive 10% off your next order”.
When the customer texts the keyword ´discount` to the short code number 313131, they opt in to receive your text message advertising and their details are added to your database. As your database grows, you can sort your customers into groups according to their specific interests. This enables you to send text advertising to only those for whom it is relevant - eliminating “text wastage” and minimizing your marketing costs.
How to Send a Marketing Text Message
Once you have access to a bulk text messaging platform and a database of customers to advertise to, sending a marketing text message involves logging into the platform, uploading the group(s) of customers you want to message, composing your message, and clicking send. Within minutes your customers will be reading your marketing text message wherever they are, whatever they are doing.
You can monitor the success of your mobile marketing campaign via the bulk text messaging platform. The platform provides data such as delivery rates, open rates, and spikes in engagement. Any replies to your text advertising are received by the platform and, as it can be accessed from any device with an Internet service, you do not have to sit by your PC waiting for the data and the replies to roll in.
Features on the bulk text messaging platform allow you to prepare your text message marketing campaign and schedule it to be sent when it will achieve the greatest impact. You can save sent messages as templates for a future mobile marketing campaign, and your text messaging advertising does not have to consist of just plain text. The opportunity exists to attach multimedia (MMS) files to each message in order to increase the impact of your text advertising.
Generating Engagement in a Text Messaging Campaign
One of the most effective ways to generate engagement in a text messaging campaign is through the use of polls. Most of us are happy to share our views about certain topics, and a poll attached to a marketing text message can give businesses insight into their customers´ preferences and the factors that drive their purchasing intent.
Polls are easy to set up on the bulk text messaging platform using your existing keyword (´discount`) and up to five sub-keywords or secondary words that you add to the end of your keyword. For example, if your business is a department store, and you are unsure about which department to run your next promotion in, you could text your customers asking them to reply from a choice of:
- ´discount clothes` - ´discount` being the keyword and ´clothes` being the secondary keyword.
- ´discount sports`
- ´discount furnishings`
- ´discount homeware`
- ´discount cosmetics`
Your customers´ replies are received and collated in real time by the bulk text messaging platform. Often you will find new customers joining your database if a particularly popular poll has been shared between friends and families. Response rates for mobile marketing with text messaging polls are typically up to eight times higher than for email polls, giving you a far more accurate picture of your customers´ preferences and the factors that drive their purchasing intent.
Non-Retail Uses for Mobile Marketing
It’s not just the retail industry that engages in text message advertising. Churches, political parties and schools take advantage of the intimacy and immediacy of a marketing text message in order to solicit donations and build connections with parishioners, voters, and parents. Many other organizations use a bulk text messaging platform to advise residents of inclement weather or adverse events.
Using the same technology as is used for text message advertising, churches can increase attendance at Sunday services, political parties can seek feedback on policy decisions, and schools can send home permission slips, reports, or gather opinions about what should be included in the school´s curricula using polls, keywords and secondary keywords.
Other non-retail uses for mobile marketing include advising jobseekers of new employment opportunities, keeping sports fans up to date with the score on game day, and informing homebuyers when a new property comes on the market or when a property they have expressed an interest in drops in price. The practical uses for mobile marketing with text messaging are practically limitless.
The Rules about Mobile Marketing with Text Messaging
In order to prevent spamming and protect personal privacy, there are rules about mobile marketing with text messaging. These can be found within the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which governs how you should build your customer database, stipulates that you give customers the opportunity to opt out of receiving your text messaging marketing, and controls the frequency at which messages should be sent.
It is also be advisable to be familiar with the Mobile Marketing Association´s Code of Conduct, even if you are not going to use a bulk text messaging platform to run a mobile marketing campaign. The Code of Conduct has been prepared with input from Verizon, Yahoo and Microsoft, and contains guidelines for mobile marketing with text messaging to protect personal privacy with the aim of avoiding the need for further regulation.
When you embark on a text message marketing campaign, you will also be subject to the rules of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The CTIA rules have been developed by the telephone companies that deliver text message advertising and govern prohibited content such as profanity, pornography and hate speech. They also ban any text messaging campaign that endorses illegal drug use or violence.
Find Out More about Text Message Marketing from EZ Texting
EZ Texting has been providing text message marketing services to businesses and non-retail organizations for more than a decade. Our bulk text messaging platform has been designed to be easy to use, yet packed full of features that will help get your message heard, generate engagement and build relationships with your customers.
If you would like to learn more about text message marketing from EZ Texting, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of Client Success Managers. Our team will be able to answer any questions you have about how text advertising performs compare to other mobile marketing channels in your vertical, and give you tips about how you can generate engagement in your text messaging campaign.
We also offer businesses the opportunity to try text message marketing for free via our “Free & EZ” texting plan. Free & EZ offers businesses the ability to experience a limited text message marketing service without a contract, with no credit card required, no set up fees, and no obligation for you to commit to a higher level of service at any time. For more information about this offer, contact our Client Success Managers today.