So, you’re ready to try out text marketing. Awesome!
Reaching out to customers on their mobile phones represents a great opportunity to get noticed on a medium they’re already checking constantly. That’s no exaggeration – 42% of millennials check their text messages 10 or more times per day, while consumers over 60 average three or more times per day.
If you want your messages to be among those that get attention, there are some strategies you should follow for more effective text marketing. There are also some key mistakes to understand and avoid. Here’s our list of those to help you send better texts:
#1. Inconsiderate text timing
I don’t know about you, but while I check my phone a lot, I’m not checking it for texts at 4 AM or other uncommon times. And yet, there are some companies that send marketing messages at odd hours.
This is obviously not fun for the light sleepers among your text recipients, so it’s important to make careful choices for the timing of your texts. If you’ve found earlier texts seem to get read and acted on more, consider breaking your list up into time zones and sending texts separately to each zone. That three hour difference between coasts can be huge!
If you don’t have the information on exactly where everyone on your list is located, choosing a time somewhere in the middle can help. 11 AM Eastern will be 8 AM Pacific, times which are much less likely to lose you any subscribers.
#2. Indecipherable abbreviations or slang
A common mistake marketers seem to make with text messaging is to try to cram too much into the message. They often attempt to do this by using various abbreviations or slang terms throughout, but for the people who receive the message, it’s all a bit much.
Your text list doesn’t want to have to decode your message. They shouldn’t require a cipher or the assistance of the nearest thirteen-year-old to know what you’re saying (and if they do, they’re probably not going to bother!).
Using one or two commonly understood abbreviations (e.g. TXT or MSG) is okay, but overuse minimizes readability and can look unprofessional. Consider the Reply-to-Order format of messaging, where you want to convince customers right away that they should buy your product. Keeping the message straightforward so that they understand what they’re buying is key. Any confusion is likely to get you a “no.”
#3. Constantly pitching sales
If all you’re sending to customers is texts saying “hey, buy our stuff,” they’re probably going to tune out, just as people do to emails. The exception here is if your customers have specifically signed up for a reply to buy text list – in that case, there’s an expectation that they’ll be receiving sales messages.
For any other type of text marketing list, you need to deliver on whatever was promised to the customer by signing up. Why do they think they signed up? Perhaps they did agree to sales messages, but aren’t expecting them every day.
An adjacent mistake is sending too many messages. When people feel bombarded, they’ll probably unsubscribe. Find the right cadence so that your messages are “just enough” to get results.
The bottom line is treat your customers as fellow humans. Communicate with them in a friendly manner and avoid a constant sales pitch, especially when that’s not what they signed up for.
#4. Failing to identify yourself
When text marketing messages come from a random 5-digit number, you’ve got to be careful about identifying yourself every time you send a message. Sometimes businesses get a bit complacent and forget. Just remember that your list is probably receiving other marketing text messages too, so you need to be distinguishable.
A best practice we’d recommend is setting a friendly tone, something like “Hi! It’s Sam from AudienceTap” as a quick introduction. It often helps to talk to customers just as you would in a text to a friend.
#5. Not including a call to action
What is it that you want the recipients of your messages to do? If you leave out a call to action (CTA), it’s left up to them to figure out what their next step is, and it’s likely that will be absolutely nothing.
Every text message you send out should have a clear purpose and an obvious call to action (even if that’s just “find out more here” with a clickable link). Not having a CTA leaves people hanging and honestly, if they’ve picked up and read your text, it is a wasted opportunity for you!
#6. Sending without consent
The rules are pretty clear – you can only send text messages to recipients who have given their express consent for you to do so. This is part of the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) and yes, you can get into trouble if you ignore it.
This means don’t do a data dump of every contact previously in your database and especially don’t buy a list of numbers to text. You can be held legally liable and it’s best not to test it. If you’re wondering what else you can do about current contacts, try contacting them via whichever method they already gave consent for. You could send an email encouraging them to sign up for text updates, for example.
#7. Not providing opt-out instructions
This is another requirement under TCPA: you must include clear opt-out instructions on each of your text messages. Basically, you need to make it easy for people to opt out if they decide they don’t want to receive any more messages. Trying to make it difficult could land you in trouble.
Offer a way to opt out and make it easy (e.g. “if you no longer wish to receive these texts, click here.”)
#8. Being repetitive
If you want to hold the attention of your subscribers, don’t send out the same message multiple times. Mix it up – have different messages or offers going out and most of all, make sure they are of value to the customer.
When customers sign up, they expect it to be worthwhile, so make sure you deliver. One thing you can do to help with this is to prepare a marketing calendar that defines your campaigns and helps to give you the bigger picture of your texts. This will help you to avoid being repetitive!
One of the best things about text marketing is that it’s actually quite simple, especially if you can avoid these key mistakes!
If there’s any big lesson to keep in mind, it’s that your texts should always offer value to the customer. Deliver what you promised and keep them engaged!