While it may seem a bit odd, texting has become the new way to market your products.
One of the oldest means of digital conversation has become one of the most coveted methods of staying in touch with customers, mainly due to the high opening rate of text messages as compared to emails.
Simple texting has quickly overtaken many digital means of advertising, purely due to the fact that it is not reliant on Wi-Fi coverage.
While all of these factors heavily favor marketing via simple texting, marketers still remain unsure about the art of marketing via SMS.
This article will outline the ins and outs of text message marketing and can help you create an excellent marketing plan for your company and its products.
The intricacies of Simple Texting:
Marketers make one crucial mistake when they are formulating a plan for simple texting; they think it is the same as email marketing.
The difference between the two mediums really needs to be emphasized as texting allows you much more flexibility and is radically different than marketing through more traditional means of advertisement.
In email marketing, a company is expected to be formal and speak in a business-like manner, while texting does not share that sentiment.
Corporations find it hard to adapt to this newfound flexibility and can stick to the more formal tone, which can adversely impact their SMS marketing campaign.
Here are some of the things you should be focusing on while simple texting:
#1. Every character counts:
It is common knowledge that a single text has a limit of 160 characters, and while texting above the character limit may not appear to be two texts, it will certainly count as two.
Marketers need to be especially careful of this fact because if they go over the limit even slightly, that will count as two messages.
While this may not seem like a big deal to most, think about it in terms of volume. If a marketer sends out 1 message to 1000 clients, but in actuality, they have crossed the character limit, they will actually be charged for 2000 messages.
Such a mistake can lead to ramifications on a marketer’s budget.
Special care should be taken if you are including a STOP message in each text.
STOP messages are at times attached to the tail-end of text messages such that customers can opt-out of the service whenever they feel like it.
This feature helps businesses maintain their legality according to the Federal Communications Commission.
A simple STOP message, like the one outlined in the image below, can take up to 18 characters, so marketers should always be wary of the total character limit and adhere to it, lest they accidentally send out 2 messages in the place of one.
#2. The importance of being friendly while simple texting:
Thankfully, while you are texting your customers, there is no need to maintain a stiff demeanor.
As outlined previously, SMS marketing is much different from marketing via email, and the friendlier and more personable you are while texting, the more your customers will acknowledge and appreciate it.
Adding a bit of a human touch to interactions with your customers can be the difference needed to generate viable leads.
Note how, in the text shown above, the marketer messages their customer in a cordial, familiar, and friendly way.
Referring to her previous purchase history and also mentioning her name in the text adds a much more personalized feel to the message.
Small scale businesses rely heavily on the human touch to make their businesses seem more appealing than bigger retail chains.
#3. Be expressive:
While SMS marketing, you can make use of a casual tone and be expressive in your texts.
If communicating via written means is not your strong suit, you can get a dedicated marketer to handle the communication channels for you.
You can also create saved responses for certain texts that occur commonly.
An added advantage for SMS marketing is that you can make use of emojis to maintain a friendly atmosphere.
Then, even if your social skills are lacking, you can still add a touch of friendliness to your texts.
#4. End your messages with a signature:
Marketers tend to end most of their emails with a predetermined signature, which automatically ends every email with their contact information.
While the feature is available for SMS marketing, it is not advised that marketers follow the same methodology as emails.
The image above showcases how an automatic signature not only makes a message seem clunky, at times crossing the 160 character limit, it can also make a message seem incredibly formal.
Note how in the image above, the messages between the two parties appear to be highly stilted and inorganic.
If you do want to add an air of personalization to the message, ending a text with a simple “-Name” will be more than enough to make your conversation more personable.
What can you actually send your customers?
Now that we have talked at length about the anatomy of text messages, as well as the intonation you should utilize during conversations, it is time to talk about the content of your texts.
Before launching an SMS marketing plan, you need to discover the main objective behind your texting plan.
Are you trying to improve customer engagement or retention?
Is your main priority to provide customer support in an easily accessible manner?
Do you wish to promote a new product line you are launching, or are you merely informing your customers about a new promotional campaign?
All of the objectives outlined above need a drastically different testing methodology.
#1. Promotional Messages:
Promotional messages are designed to create an air of excitement among your customers regarding new offers.
They can come in the shape of discounts, coupons, or information about flash sales.
Although promotional messages are designed to generate interest, if a consumer thinks that you are spamming their inbox, then you may have a higher opt-out rate.
This means text message marketers need to tread lightly and be sure that they are spacing out their messages properly.
While messaging customers about promotions, your aim should be to create a sense of urgency with regard to certain offers.
You can do this by adding a deadline to your promotional offer, especially when they are related to flash sales or coupons.
The image above showcases how the coupon has an expiry date attached to it, thus creating a sense of urgency.
For flash sales, it is recommended that you message customers the same day as the sale
For events that last more than a few days, your customers’ availability and interest should be checked a week before the actual event, in addition to another reminder at the start of the event.
An example of such an event invitation is outlined below:
#2. Follow up with your clients:
Gaining a large client base is challenging in and of itself, but retaining customers is another challenge entirely.
Sales is a difficult game, and consumers will be more likely to buy from a vendor that responds to them in the smallest amount of time.
Therefore, reaching out and following through on text conversations can be the best way to retain a customer.
Of course, it is not necessary for you to outline your entire sales pitch through a message.
Rather, you can simply schedule a time to talk to your customers and help them through their decision-making process.
Smaller businesses need to master the art of customer service and care in order to retain their customer, as larger chains can, at times, be lacking in this department.
To schedule a small conversation, you can simply text your customer the following line, “Would love to discuss with you at length, do you have two minutes to talk?”
Adding a wide range of auto-response messages can also help you to maintain a certain level of customer service, which means you will only need to respond to extremely specific queries.
This can take off a huge burden for you if you have a large consumer base, and as auto-responses are immediate, a customer will be satisfied by the speed of your reply.
Auto-response messages make use of keywords, and once your SMS provider notes the keyword, for instance, “Help”, then an automatic response will be generated immediately.
Such messages are especially useful during odd hours, like those sent after work hours or during office meetings.
Automatic responses can also be used to direct customers to seek out the appropriate channels.
Note how in the message above, once the keyword “SMARC” is sent by the sender, an immediate response is made outlining the appropriate channel the client needs to use in order to hand over their donation.
#3. Customer Service:
Customer service requires a slightly different method of texting. The good thing about customer service is that the individual who is contacting you knows exactly what they require from you, and are generally fully aware of the functions your company provides.
Mastering customer service requires paying special attention to some crucial steps.
Firstly, upon receiving a complaint, you should confirm the existence of the issue, and after the confirmation is complete, you should empathize or apologize on your behalf.
After you have made your empathy towards their issue clear, you then move on to telling them you will do everything in your power to solve the issue, following which you will actually follow through on your word.
Once the issue is resolved, you can provide the disgruntled customer an additional service free of charge or at a discounted rate.
The best way to go about customer service is to take more than just one message to convey your regret, and additionally maintain a conversational and highly personalized tone throughout your chat.
The image below showcases some additional do’s and don’ts when dealing with customer complaints:
#4. Reach out more often:
While it may seem like you should only get in touch with your clients if you have something to offer, this is not the actual case.
Marketers are encouraged to reach out for a variety of different reasons, whether it is to confirm a previous appointment or to remind someone to check out the items that are already in their cart.
Small nudges of this nature can build a rapport between you and your client and can make them feel seen and appreciated.
Other possible reasons you can reach out to a client can include checking up on how previous items they bought are working, and in this way, you can also get a review of your product.
You can even wish long time customers on their birthday, and send them a special discount for their day.
Messages like these can help make your patrons feel extra special, and can turn them into loyal customers.
Other ways to create a lasting bond with your customers is by reminding them about their customer anniversary.
That is, you can send an appreciative message in which you outline your relationship with the customer, which could have started with their first purchase or with the first time they subscribed to receive your texts.
While on the surface level, it may seem that text message marketing is highly simplistic, this is not the case.
SMS marketing needs a nuanced approach, one that is personable yet not overbearing.
Building a friendly rapport with your clients can help elevate your business a cut above the rest, and can give rise to a large number of loyal customers.
This article discusses various means of engaging your customers at length, and while some examples can be used verbatim, it is best to analyze your own organization’s personality and create an SMS marketing plan that caters to the needs of your customers in the best possible way.
Before you begin your SMS marketing journey, just make sure every member of your team is on the same page, so that you can flawlessly implement a wide range of concepts through text message marketing.