The Wild, Wild West of Text Message Marketing

by Christi Stafford Norfleet

Stop what you’re doing! Where is your phone? I’m going to guess with about 90% certainty that your phone is at a minimum within reach of you right now. And for an overwhelming majority of you, you’re reading this post on your phone!  

Why do I mention this? Because the way we communicate with prospects and customers is changing. Don’t get me wrong, I love email marketing and have blogged about it quite a bit in the past, but it is not the only way businesses are marketing to customers and if you’re not texting strategically as part of your business then this post is for you.

The reality is, most people are within arms reach of their phones at all times. It’s the first thing we grab for in the morning (sorry honey!) and the last thing we place on our nightstand before bed. Now, don’t get me wrong, this may not be everyone’s practice, but the parts of our day that happen in between are almost always with our phones in our hands, pockets, or purses. My wife teases me because of my laziness and pinging my phone from my watch…when my phone is almost always under my butt or something!

Our personal attachment to our phone makes us putty in the hands of savvy businesses prepared to maximize our reliance on our phones. EZ Texting, a text message solution compiled some fascinating statistics as it relates to texting. For example:

  • 83% of millennials open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. (source)
  • 75% of millennials prefer SMS communications for deliveries, promotions, and surveys. (source)
  • 31% of consumers respond to SMS surveys, with an average response time of fewer than six minutes. (source)

With numbers like these, we’d be crazy to not capitalize on this trend. 

With that being said, here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to text message marketing:

  • Do – Ask your contact permission to receive text messages. At the time of this post, text message marketing is still kinda the wild wild west with many platforms. They give you the tools to allow you to text, make you sign some terms and then set you free. What you are promising is that you will obtain permission to text people before spamming their phones. Our opting-in rules for email marketing also apply to text messaging. If you’re not on a platform that has this built in, I highly recommend you find one that does. This will not only help protect your relationship with a client/prospect, but also the reputation of your phone number.
  • Don’t – Send emails via text message. Many platforms will give you a character limit of something like 160 characters, which is like old days text messages. This will force you to keep your texts short/sweet/to-the-point.
  • Don’t  – Send text messages all the time. The great thing about text message marketing right now is that it’s not like our email inbox. We don’t want people to tune us out. We want to use this tool sparingly and for special occasions. This will help us get our messages read and responded to quickly and more often.
  • Do – Talk in your texts like you do to your friends. My recommendation and what I’ve seen work the best is to be casual or personable. We have a way we talk via emails and that’s not always a match when we are talking via text. In addition to keeping it short, make sure your audience is super targeted and the message is relevant to this segmented group.
  • Do – Use Text messages for time sensitive and important reminders. Every client that works with us, I encourage them to use SMS reminders in their appointment reminders. No one wants their time to be wasted with no-shows. Adding text message reminders improves show up rates by up to 40%. Whether it’s a free strategy call, a client call, or even trainings/webinars, adding these text messages helps give timely reminders that are far more likely to be read in time to do the thing that needs to be done.
  • Don’t – Text people at all hours of the day/night. This really should go without saying, but honestly, accidents happen. If you’re running a global business, be aware of what that 8am EST text message might feel like to that person living in California. They may have less than nice things to say to you.
  • Do – Mind your Budget – Nearly all texting solutions/platforms charge a fee. Whether it’s a cost embedded into other costs you’re paying, or you pay by bundle or message, texting almost always incurs a cost. If you’re using a ton of texting in your business, be aware of what you’re paying for so you’re not ringing up a bunch of charges you didn’t anticipate.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share just a few things you can do with text message marketing in your business. 

  • Meeting/Appointment Reminders
  • Webinar Training Reminders
  • Time Sensitive Announcements
  • Delivery status and order tracking
  • Google Review follow up
  • Flash Sales

In this mobile era we’re living in, text messaging is here to stay. More and more businesses are figuring out how to use it to stay relevant and to ensure their brand stands apart from the competition. We’ve learned to leverage the power of texting in our business and the response from our clients and prospects has been positive. 

Do you have a story about a texting experience? Please share with us!

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