Here’s How to Make SMS Marketing Work for Your Business

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What if you could reach out directly to your best customers through a channel that will be guaranteed to get your message across? With SMS marketing for your business, you can.

Marketing text messages have a 98 percent open rate within 15 minutes, so they’re the most effective form of mobile marketing available — and customers love them. Text messages are especially effective for marketing time-sensitive promotions, but they can also be a formidable tool to give your loyal customers inside access to deals and specials that the general public isn’t getting. Here’s how to make text message marketing work for your business.

Get Permission from Your Customers to Send Them Offers

The most important thing to remember about text message marketing is that you can’t just send marketing texts to anyone. Customers have to opt in to receiving text messages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The most popular opt-in choice is to have customers text a keyword to your SMS messaging program in order to enroll, but it’s also pretty easy to have customers sign up for your SMS messaging service online — and you can always have them sign a hard copy document, if circumstances call for it.

Once enrolled, customers should receive an opt-in message that includes your company name, the nature of the text message communications you’re going to send, how often you’re going to send them, how to opt out of receiving them, and how to get technical assistance if the customer has questions. You should also include a notice about text message and data rates, as well as link to a copy of the terms and conditions for your SMS loyalty program.

Once you have permission, you can send your customers marketing texts, but only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. You have to respect customers’ desire to opt out if they so choose. You also can’t text any numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry or on any state do not call lists. You could get in legal trouble for sending marketing messages to a number on any do not call registry, even if you got permission from the customer to receive your text messages.

Keep Your Messages Short and Sweet

These days, there’s usually no longer a character limit on text messages, but that doesn’t mean you want to exceed the traditional 180 character limit. It’s not that you can’t send a longer message, and it may not even cost more to send another message. It’s that you have only a moment of your customer’s attention before they get bored. You want to get through your value proposition and call-to-action as quickly as possible.

Make the Opt-Out Process Clear

It might seem like spelling out the opt-out process up front would be counterintuitive — your customers haven’t even signed up for marketing texts yet, and you’re already talking about how they can get out of receiving them. But this is a business transaction, not a first date; customers will feel safer about signing up for your marketing texts if they know that they can opt out at any time. If they can opt out whenever, they’ll never have to deal with an onslaught of spam texts they don’t want — they can stop the marketing messages if they get bored of them.

Offer Specials that Outsiders Don’t Get

Your most loyal customers will sign up for your marketing texts because they want exclusive access to deals, discounts, sales, and information that the general public doesn’t get. So make sure you give people a reason to sign up for your marketing texts, and offer them exclusive perks they can only get through your marketing messages.

For example, maybe customers who sign up for text messaging can get access to coupons or promotions that outsiders will never see. Maybe you can use your marketing texts to give loyal customers early-bird access to sales and specials. Think about what your customers would like, and try to engage with them on the same level as their peers might on social media. You can even integrate your SMS marketing with other channels by encouraging customers to look out for your messaging elsewhere, or by using those other channels to promote your SMS loyalty program.

SMS marketing is the latest word in mobile advertising. Who doesn’t love getting exclusive access to special deals and discounts? Bring SMS marketing into your campaigns. You’ll be surprised at how effective they can be.

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