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Why You Should Include Non-Promotional Content in Your Texts

Including helpful, useful information in your texts, rather than just your product or service itself, can pay dividends. Here's how to do it.

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Everyone loves a good bargain. It’s why marketers lean heavily on discount messages to drive sales.

Create a promo code, include it in your text messages, and watch the sales roll in.

There’s nothing wrong with this tactic—it works. And we recommend you continue doing it.

But non-promotional content is far too powerful to be relegated to the background. The connection between non-promotional content and your audience growth is one that can’t be ignored.

Except here’s the thing: most text marketers ignore it. 

In an effort to feel the rush of new sales, we dismiss the importance of the long game. Or, at best, we include the odd link to a blog someone on the team put together in a flash.

But non-promotional content should have a place in your text marketing strategy. And there are a bunch of ways you can use non-promotional content to take your texting game up a notch. 

We’re not going to make you play any guessing games as to how to do it. 

Instead, here are some non-promotional content ideas for your text marketing strategy.

What Is Non-Promotional Content?

According to Forbes, “Non-promotional content is a neutral, no-sell strategy in which helpful, useful information is the star of your marketing content, rather than your product or service itself.”

The ability to sell your brand but not push your product is difficult for most digital marketers tied to direct-response metrics. But creating content that focuses solely on the enjoyment of the audience, not selling has a significant benefit.

Your audience begins to associate your product with the content that they love to consume.

It’s why some brands behave more like media companies, producing content across various media, including video, photography, infographics and articles. 

One of the most widely cited examples of a company that leans into this strategy is Red Bull. 

While Red Bull is active on a variety of channels and uses tons of different tactics, everything revolves around one concept: creating content and experiences people would be interested in even if they don’t care about energy drink brands.

It’s paid off big time for them: Red Bull captured over a quarter of the energy drinks market in the United States in 2019.

We know what you’re thinking, “my company is not Red Bull.” We don’t expect you to start an extreme sports publication or a cliff-diving competition. 

Here are some very doable ways you can incorporate non-promotional content into your texts.

1. A Branded Text Hotline

Customer service is often seen as a post-purchase activity. Someone buys your product, has an issue or question, and gets in touch.

But what if you allow customers to ask general questions about your area of expertise? It’s like customer service with no strings attached.

That’s the idea behind DTC beauty brand Versed’s text hotline. The brand developed a special hotline to answer consumers’ questions about all things related to their beauty routines. 

From how to handle a blemish to the best way to apply moisturizing products, the Skincare Hotline is built to educate and advise consumers. 

It’s an excellent tactic that builds Versed’s credentials in the skincare space, providing value to its audience along the way. Plus, with this approach, the company is growing the audience that it can send text promotions.

Versed provides access to this service Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you’re worried you don’t have the bandwidth to support a text hotline, you can always limit your available hours and days further. 

The folks at EqualParts have taken a similar approach with its text-a-chef service. The chefs are available to text five days a week during prime grocery shopping hours.

2. Include Tips and Tricks

Most businesses aren’t in a position to set up an in-person texting service—and that’s okay. You can apply the same thinking by texting your audience with helpful tips and tricks.

Let’s say you’re someone who’s training hard for an upcoming triathlon. You recently bought a bike from a company that focuses solely on serious road cyclists. While completing your purchase you subscribed to their texts.

If you get a text message a week later with a promotion for another type of bikes, chances are you’re going to ignore it or resent the fact you weren’t offered this discount when you bought. But if you got an article or video on how to maintain your bike better, you’d probably take a look.

Mo’ miles, mo’ problems with your bike…but it doesn’t have to be this way. We put together the top 10 maintenance tips and tricks we’ve gathered from cycling hundreds of thousands of miles ourselves. Here they are:

This approach helps you deepen your relationship with your audience. You’re offering them a lot of value without asking for anything in return. (With click-through rates as high as 47%, it’s also a great way to amplify your content.)

3. Run a Text to Vote Poll

You might have read this far and pondered to yourself, “What kind of non-promotional content do my customers want?”

Well, if you want to know what your customers want, just ask them. There’s no better way to do this than through a text to vote poll.

It’s also a way of engaging your customers without trying to sell to them. If you’re a brewery, you could ask your audience to vote on what beer they’d like you to produce next. If you’re a store selling running shoes, you could ask your customers what their biggest pet peeve is when running.

You’re gaining insights into your audience, which will help your entire marketing and product strategy. (They’re also super easy to set up, just watch this video.)

Non-Promotional Content Can Lead to Big Wins

It can feel like a waste of money to invest in marketing that isn’t about your product. Why put so much time and money into a campaign that isn’t pushing what you’re selling?

Like many good habits in life–think eating well–you don’t see the benefits immediately. But over time you’ll start to notice your customers using your language, growth in your branded search, and most importantly, the number of people who want what you’re selling.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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