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Text Marketing: An Untapped & Potentially Profitable Marketing Strategy

text marketing opportunities & tips, SMS marketing best practices

While most savvy PR and marketing teams enthusiastically pursue social media strategies, many neglect another communication channel that could offers untapped potential: texting.

Text-based marketing, also called short message service (SMS) marketing, offers brands a cost-effective way to reach customers, especially millennials and avid mobile phone users. Many customers prefer to communicate with businesses through texts over other channels; SMS sees higher open and click-through rates, according to new research from SimpleTexting.

The survey results can guide businesses in appropriate use of texts for marketing. The survey finds that:

42% of millennials check their text messages 10 or more times per day on average.

68% of survey respondents use their phones for texting more than other activities.

60.8% would like the capability to text to businesses about customer support issues.

61% of businesses and marketers are increasing their text marketing budgets in 2020 and 41% have seen an increase in opt-in rates over the past year.

62% of business owners and marketers believe that fast delivery of messages is the biggest benefit of texting their audience, followed by strengthened customer engagement and cost-effectiveness.

50% of respondents said that flash sales and time-sensitive promotions would encourage them to opt into a business’s text messages, followed by back-in-stock notifications, customer support, and event reminders.

Most businesses report text marketing click-through rates between 20% and 35%, compared to email click-through rates between 10% and 20%.Consumers prefer texts notifications about deals over sifting through websites, emails, and social media for news about sales.

SMS Marketing Requires Opt-in

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) states that businesses and other organizations, with few exceptions, must receive express written consent before they send people SMS/text messages. “Obtaining an individual’s phone number—regardless of whether they are a potential lead, an existing client, a former customer, or a member of your group or organization—is not the same as receiving permission to contact them,” explains Sean Griffith at SimpleTexting.

Mobile phone users don’t have to register with the federal Do Not Call List to be covered. When a subscriber opts-in to receive messages, marketers must send them an automatic confirmation message with TCPA mandated disclosures. Businesses risk penalties of $500 per text for violations, $1,500 per message for willful violations.

In addition to risking government fines, sending unsolicited messages may offend potential customers and cause a PR crisis and reputational damage when FCC penalties are announced in the media.

Annoying potential customers with intrusive spam texts is a serious marketing risk – especially since the texts may potentially increase their telecom bill if they exceed their data limits.

“Consumers are extremely connected to their phones and text messages are reserved for their inner circle. If they let you in, make it worthwhile for them. Make it fun and offer real value.” advises Steve Calderon, president of HVRewards, a text marketing consultant.

More SMS Marketing Best Practices

Some other best practices include:

  • Send exclusive offers. Deliver special promotions customers can’t find anywhere else. That’s one way to motivate customers to opt-in to text messages.
  • Personalize messages. Address customers by name or include some hyper-relevant information within the text.
  • Ensure messages are relevant to the entire database.
  • Include a strong call to action. Make sure the consumer sees and feels a sense of reward.
  • Offers should last only a short time. Offers that last for three or four days create a sense of urgency.
  • Don’t send your customers something that requires printing or opening an email to retrieve.
  • Limit messages to four or five per month – six at most. Never be annoying or overbearing.
  • Resist using short hand, which makes messages appear amateur and unprofessional.
  • Don’t send out the same incentive every time. Mix it up messages to keep them fresh.
  • Monitor and measure your sales results from SMS marketing campaigns. Also measure your stop rate. Sales trending down indicate disinterest in your offers. Stop rates trending upward indicate that you are not providing value and possibly offending customers.

Bottom Line: Text marketing, or SMS marketing, may offer an unrealized marketing and PR opportunity. Texts messages are millennials’ preferred communication method with businesses, yet most receive few texts from brands. Businesses that follow best practices can keep customers engaged through text marketing.

Schedule a Free Online Demo of the Glean.info Media Monitoring & Measurement Dashboard.

This article was first published on Sept. 23, 2017 and updated on May 27, 2020.