What the Best Text Message Marketing Campaigns All Have in Common
Did you know that an SMS marketing campaign once upped Ford’s conversion rate to 15.4%—one of the highest recorded conversion rates of marketing channels up until that point? Or did you know that Disney’s clever text-to-wait option allows park guests to claim a virtual place in line for food? The latter allowing them to wander the park at their leisure until a text lets them know their table is ready, thus avoiding the distinct frustrating of waiting in long amusement park queues.
Whether you knew about these SMS campaigns or not, if you’re looking to mirror the success of the best text marketing campaigns for your own business, it’s vital to understand exactly what it is that makes these campaigns successful in the first place. This article will walk you through 5 key considerations for creating the best text message marketing campaigns.
Why Text Message Marketing Works
Texting is taking over the marketing world, and while other advertising mediums certainly haven’t disappeared (yet), SMS (plain text) and MMS (multimedia text) marketing have become perhaps the most powerful tools currently available for getting a message out quickly and reliably to many customers at once. While roughly 75% of Americans own laptops or other desktop devices, as many as 96% own a cellphone—and the majority of these own smartphones.
It’s estimated that one in five Americans uses their smartphone exclusively to communicate as well as to access the internet. This is the reason why mobile-friendly websites have become so imperative to building an online presence, and it’s also one reason why text campaigns have begun to overtake email and other methods in recent years, both in terms of efficacy and popularity. Emails only get opened about 20% of the time, whereas a massive 98% of texts get read within minutes and almost half generate a direct response.
Learning from the Best Text Message Marketing Campaigns
The details of every SMS marketing campaign are as unique as the businesses that implement them. It will be up to you and your team to determine exactly what types of text messages and offers will best suit your purposes. However, the best text message marketing campaigns all have the following in common, regardless of industry:
1. They Cater to Their Customers’ Needs
Customers demand—and deserve—value in return for their time and attention as well as their money. The most cleverly-worded text campaign in the world won’t keep your customers interested if it doesn’t offer any new information or opportunities they can take advantage of. The more texts a customer receives that they find irrelevant or uninteresting, the more likely they will be to opt-out of texting with your business, and the chances of getting them to opt back in after that are slim to none.
2. They Prioritize Convenience for Their Customers
Every message you send should be as easy to read and respond to as possible. This is one of the reasons why so many companies utilize shortcodes and keywords in SMS campaigns—it doesn’t get much simpler than typing a simple “yes” or “no” to accept or reject an offer.
However, the best campaigns also take into account factors such as timing and frequency. No one wants to be woken up by a text at 4 AM to let them know about a flash sale that will be over before they even get up for work, and no one wants to hear from their favorite restaurant every single day of the week just because there’s a new item on the menu they haven’t tried yet.
3. They Are Personal but Not Too Personal
Most people find texting far more personal than more obviously mass-produced missives like email or snail mail newsletters. It feels like a 1:1 conversation, even when it’s not, and the best campaigns take full advantage of this angle to deepen the relationship between company and consumer.
Using a customer’s preferred name in the initial greeting of a text, using location and purchase history to send uniquely relevant offers, and having staff or an innovative auto-responder at the ready to engage in an actual conversation if a customer initiates one can all further contribute to positive customer relations.
However, it is precisely because texting is so personal that businesses also have to be careful not to overstep certain boundaries when communicating with customers this way. Texts can be casual but should always be professional. Slang should be kept to a minimum, as it can be difficult for customers who do not share your native language or generation to understand. Use customer names sparingly and never ask for more personal information than is necessary—card numbers, for instance, are better requested via web form than a text.
4. They Give Their Customers Options
The ability to opt-out is a legal requirement for any text message marketing campaign, but a truly great campaign will offer a few other options besides this as well. Allowing customers to choose what type of texts they receive and when can make it easier to ensure you’re getting the right messages across to the right people at the right time, which can help keep your subscribers opted in.
Some campaigns have found success by simply allowing customers to opt-in to special birthday discounts. Others may do well to use automated cart abandonment texts as an opportunity to offer a special incentive, such as a limited-time discount, to prompt shoppers to finally hit the “checkout” button.
5. They Have a Clear Call-to-Action
This may seem obvious, but it can be all too easy to put the emphasis of a text message in the wrong place or forget to include the most important information entirely. However, the goal of every text messaging campaign should be to incite some sort of action on the customer’s part, whether it’s to motivate them to investigate (and ultimately purchase) a new product, opt-in to a new service, or provide feedback.
What you ask them to do will depend on what you are trying to achieve. The important thing is making sure that you ask them clearly. If your customers don’t have a clear next step laid out for them, including what they need to do as well as when they need to do it, they are more likely to move on than to waste time and energy trying to puzzle it out on their own.
Using the Right Text Marketing Service for Your Campaign
To do a job right, you need the right tools. It’s as true of text message marketing as it is of carpentry or medicine. A successful text message marketing campaign requires the use of a text marketing service that offers both the ease-of-use and flexibility necessary to get your message out as quickly and effectively as possible.
The ideal platform will offer swift setup and an intuitive interface to minimize unnecessary hangups and let you focus on what matters—the campaign itself, not how to set it up. You should look for multiple features, including text blast capabilities and MMS options (in addition to SMS), and make sure your provider of choice is fully compliant with all regulations and offers a full audit trail to avoid legal issues down the road. Finally, make sure they offer quality customer service; if you have a question, they should be available and happy to answer it, just as you and your team should always be ready to help out your own customers.
Ultimately, the right text marketing service will be one that will help you to amplify your brand voice to effectively reach as many customers as possible without ever losing that special personal touch.