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The Golden Rules of Using Business Text Messaging for Customer Engagement

man walking checking cell phone

Given the fact that 96% of Americans own some kind of cellphone, it makes sense that businesses are realizing that text messaging is a great way to engage with their customers. Text messages are opened on average 98% of the time, while emails have an open rate of only 22%. This means text marketing is the way to go, but it must be done properly.

Your customers opted in to receive your messages and they expect you to deliver some value, which gives them a reason for them to engage with you. You don’t just want your text to show up in their notifications and be dismissed.

To effectively market by text, follow these “Golden Rules” of text message marketing.

Get Permission

The most important thing to remember is that you can only send text messages to those who have given consent. In this context, consent is defined as someone knowingly agreeing to receive promotional texts from your company.

One straightforward way of obtaining consent is with an SMS keyword — a word or phrase that customers can text to your number to subscribe to future messages. You can also add the option of including a phone number with your newsletter subscription field. Regardless of the route you take, make sure you are compliant with local laws and CTIA recommendations, which protect consumers from unwanted solicitation.

Parse the Pool

Sending out the same message to your entire text list is ineffectively bland at best, annoying at worse. To get actual value out of your text, you’ll want to segment your audience so you can send them targeted messages. These texts are more likely to transform recipients into warm leads that try your brand.

For example, you could send messages based on location. Cosmetics brand Kiehl’s encouraged customers to sign up to their text messaging campaign and sent them offers based on location. The result was that 73% of the people who signed up bought something as a result of the messages they received.

You can also target those who have already taken an action. Let’s say someone buys a particular item on your website, like a shirt — you can then send them a text suggesting they might like a related item, like a scarf. Because of the immediacy of texts, the text could even be sent before they leave your website.73% of the people who signed up bought something as a result of the messages they received. call out graphic

Personalize Your Messages

Consumers are exposed to around 10,000 brand messages a day! One way to stand out from the noise is something as simple as addressing the text with a name. In fact, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that recognizes them by name, and 49% of consumers have purchased something they didn’t intend to after receiving a personal marketing message about it.

Not only that, but 44% of customers are likely to become repeat buyers of a brand that effectively personalizes messages and 39% are likely to tell friends and family. An automated platform can make what would be a manual nightmare nearly effortless.44% of customers are likely to become repeat buyers of a brand that effectively personalizes messages

Time Texts Right

Timing truly is everything, and a well-timed text can make every message feel meaningful — and actionable. For example, how about a happy hour promo code sent during the afternoon work slump? Or a reminder to re-enroll in your gym membership, just as someone’s monthly pass expires?

Keep texts to within reasonable business hours when possible. Not only will you not be annoying, but recipients are more likely to take action. And how many should you send? The answer is that “it depends”. The key is consistency. While you don’t want to appear spammy, you also don’t want to text so infrequently that they forget they signed up in the first place.

Make It a Two-Way Conversation

There’s something about messages only flowing in one direction — from brand to customer — that feels like just a flat ad. By giving customers the ability to text back, you’re encouraging a conversation — and making a connection. The average response rate for SMS is 45%, and 90% of text marketing messages are read in three minutes, which means you have the perfect opportunity to create conversations that lead to conversions.

And people expect to get quick responses via text, and their inquiries might come at any time of day or night. While it’s not always possible to immediately reply, try it out by setting availability for a select number of hours a week. To keep them engaged, you’ll want to use an auto-responder to instantly and automatically send personalized, follow-up text messages that are received out of office hours.

Be Relevant, Not Redundant

Text message marketing should never be used just to say you used it. How are you adding value to the customers’ lives? If you don’t know the answer, you shouldn’t send the texts. It’s a good idea to also focus on “SMART” marketing (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely). Focus on useful information, exclusive savings, important announcements, promotions, and event alerts, and try layering in infographics, gifs or attachments to make the experience engaging.

Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. If you have an offer, start with that. If your text includes info about their order, make sure that’s the only thing you mention. And always include a link so they can get more detailed information about the offer/update you’ve sent.how are you adding value... paragraph quote call out

Make the Opt-Out Obvious

Last but certainly not least, you must include a way for customers to opt out with every message. Whether it’s an unsubscribe link or a number where they can text “STOP” to, that’s one thing you can’t neglect.

By making your opt-out steps easily scannable, you send a loud and clear signal to customers that you’re not trying to spam them or lure them into a marketing scheme. It helps you establish trust and credibility, and a platform with built in text consent and opt-out options makes that easy.

Moving Forward With the Golden Rules

Knowledge is power, so now that you know more about creating an effective text message marketing campaign, it’s time to put it into action. Find a solution that’s right for your business and contact Broadvoice today.

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