8 Best Practices Every Text Marketer Should Follow
BEFORE YOU HIT SEND… Text Marketing Best Practices
NOTE: We first wrote this blog post way back in 2018… We’ve updated it for today’s ever changing marketing landscape!
Do you ever wonder how often you should send a marketing text message? Ever wonder what to say?
Keep reading… we’re going to share 8 of the BEST practices every text marketer should follow.
Gone are the days of facebook and google ads dominating digital media. Even TV and print ads long past being the best forms of advertising. We’ve entered a new era.
Marketing is now mobile.
It means for you to stay a cutting edge digital marketer, you need to use text message marketing. You need to reach your prospects and customers on their mobile phones… and nothing is better than sending a text message!
Text marketing provides many unique advantages when compared to other forms of advertising… but it also has its risks.
As a cutting edge text marketer, you need to follow these 8 Texting Best Practices.
Perhaps no form of marketing is more invasive to somebody’s life than SMS Marketing. Texting is usually reserved for personal communication. You use text to talk to the people you know in real life — friends, family, and maybe even co-workers.
Receiving somebody’s phone number is a sort of rite of passage for individuals. It’s a special territory, and a text marketer should treat it as such.
The number one rule of SMS Marketing is to get consent from the customer before sending them anything.
You can do this by having them check an offer box before they make a purchase on your website. Or you could run a contest or sweepstakes to let them voluntarily sign up. You can even have them text in a Keyword to sign up for your regular marketing messages.
Regardless of how you do it, make sure you have their clear approval to send them messages via text.
The Need for Consent
Why the need for consent? The first reason is the legal issue.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 put in place protections for individuals from receiving unsolicited, automatically dialed telemarketing calls. An amendment that took effect in 2013 affirmed that SMS text messages also fell under the TCPA.
In other words, if you don’t receive consent to send automatic text marketing messages, you could be breaking the law. (IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m not a lawyer so consult one before you do anything!)
On top of the legal issues, sending unwanted text messages is simply poor form.
Another reason to always get consent is carrier filtering.
Carriers are now looking at messages being sent, and if they see high opt out rates, high number blocking, or high levels of delivery errors (from bad phone numbers like landlines) your messages will be labeled as spam and not delivered.
Nothing will upset a prospect or customer more than unwanted messages. So don’t abuse it… be a good text marketer, and get permission from EVERYONE before sending any messages.
Once you do get consent to text with someone, don’t lose their trust. Don’t spam people. Sending too many messages is a fast way to have somebody opt out of your messages and to lose customers.
As we mentioned above, Text Marketing is very invasive. Every text you send in interrupting someone’s life. And since people are already inundated with up to 5,000 ads every single day, it’s not pleasant to see that marketing creep into their personal lives.
The potential backlash to a text ad gets worse the more often you do it. The more texts you send, the more likely you are to have the door slammed in your face.
What’s the right number of messages?
Well, it depends.
Most businesses I know text once a week. A few text daily. And I know others who send out clusters of texts around a special event (like a Facebook Live event)… so they might send 2 or 3 in a day… but then not send anything for the days following.
When in doubt, less is more.
Remember that being able to send text ads to someone is a given privilege — don’t abuse it.
Keep It Short
Short and sweet is the way to go with your text copy. Don’t waste time here. Get right to the point. That’s not the only tip about your text messages…
You don’t have a lot of room when deploying your text message.
Most SMS messages are 160 characters or less. Some systems like betwext.com allow you to send a longer message up to 600 characters.
Any more than that at your message might be broken into pieces and look sloppy.
Here’s something else to consider… watch what you say in your messages.
Certain characters and words are causing text messages to get flagged and go undelivered. Think of it like the spam words in emails… Some things that might get a message flagged include:
- Using emojis
- Using “$”
- Sending a message in ALL CAPS
- Using bit.ly links (or any free link shorteners)
- NOT using HTTPs or directing people to websites without updated SSL Certificates.
- Using “spammy” words (like Covid-19, Get rich, and many others)
- Having special characters in your message
Now I know what you’re thinking, what’s a “Special Character”? They are symbols like parentheses, Ampersands, Asterisks, Percentages, and hashes (“” & * % #).
ALSO, if you cut and paste a message into your texting system, often it will include Hidden special characters that you can’t see! So remember to TYPE your messages, don’t cut and paste!
Text Marketers know that customers are expecting to get something special! Use texting to really separate out your loyal customers. Want a few ideas?
- Send your texting list early bird information. If you’re going to send info out to everyone, give them early access… and let them know they get early access! (This is for special events… not every day blog posts!)
- Give them something special – I know of a few restaurants that have secret menu items… but you only learn about them by being on the texting list.
- Send VIP customers info on a special event… again they have to be on the texting list to get the details!
- Send special coupons… send them out infrequently and you’ll surprise and reward your followers.
- Release limited edition items to your list… again, only if they are on your texting list!
Try passing along exclusive offers, or giving them access to a sale a few days before it goes live to the general public. Make sure you’re giving them something special.
Another big reason for providing value is SMS delivery.
Expert Text marketers know carriers will block messages and label them as spam if you have a high opt-out rate. Seeing a lot of Unsubscribe requests, or people blocking your phone number or message will hurt future message delivery.
So keep your messages meaningful!
Aim for Instant Action
Because text messages are so engaging for end users and because they are so short… you want to make sure you use a powerful Call To Action (CTA).
A call to action is simply a plain English explanation of what you want your customer or prospect to do next. Some examples include:
- Click here now.
- Click this link and watch the video.
- Read this article.
- Call us at this number.
- Reply with your answer.
- “Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to order your ____”
Calls to action are all about getting your customers to take quick action.
Use one every single time… and your results will skyrocket!
Other things you should always include in your message is the “stop to end” notice (aka “opt-out language”).
One of the big reasons text messages get flagged is failing to include clear opt out instructions in your messages.
Betwext Messaging Policy requires the initial message you send to an individual needs to include the following language: “Reply STOP to unsubscribe.”
We recommend adding it to every message!
Not only will it help with delivery, it’s just good customer service.
Regardless of what your message says, it’s important to make sure it get’s read so…
Find the Right Time
The cool thing about texting is immediacy of the message delivery. What do I mean by that? When you send an email, it can sit unopened in an inbox for days. Text messages on the other hand are usually opened very quickly, often within minutes of arriving. YES – Minutes!
For some companies, specific days work better… like bars and night clubs often see better engagement on Fridays and Saturdays.
Other businesses will benefit from texting at a certain time of day. For example, some restaurants send messages or even coupons an hour before dinner time. As you can imagine, engagement skyrockets when a message is delivered then!
Because message timing is very business dependent, be sure to track analytics of your messages. Use the data to evaluate the success and failures of your messages on different days, weeks, months and time slots.
Here’s another great texting tip…
Unless you’re really crunched for characters, avoid using abbreviations if you can.
That said, don’t be afraid to test new features and functionality – especially if you market to a younger demographic – they will often be more forgiving of the advances in technology use!
Leverage Triggered Messages
And now for our final “Best Practice” tip every text marketer should know…
Marketing automation isn’t just for emails! Texts are a great tool for businesses that leverage marketing automation.
Betwext.com has the ability to add welcome messages and even drip campaigns (AKA auto responders) to go out over time!
Triggered messages are great because they’re relevant and the customer can reasonably expect them. You wouldn’t think a message is spammy if it came right after you interacted with the company.
The customer knows you didn’t blast the same message out to everyone, and it makes them feel special.
The Ultimate Guide to Text Message Marketing
To learn how texting can help grow your business, download our free report… The Ultimate Guide to Text Message Marketing.
It’s all new and updated for 2021!
To see a demo of the Betwext texting system, click here!
Ready to Start text marketing today? Click the orange “Sign Up For Betwext Here!” button to learn about our different plans and features… and to sign up!