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A Starter Guide to SMS Marketing with SimpleTexting

New to SimpleTexting? Here’s a few quick how-tos to help you get started:

  1. How to get new subscribers
  2. How to import existing subscribers
  3. How to sync SimpleTexting with MailChimp
  4. How to send your first campaign
  5. How to set up autoresponders
  6. How to collect subscriber data
  7. How to hold a contest
  8. How to poll subscribers
  9. How to set up triggers
  10. How to comply with the law

1. How to get new subscribers

It’s all about the keywords 🔑

Let’s kick things off by talking about a ridiculously easy way to get new subscribers for your text message campaign: keyword opt-ins.

Say you’ve got a rock ‘n’ roll band. You’re really rockin’ around, really knockin’ ’em dead, but your concerts aren’t selling out. A friend recently put text message marketing on your radar, and it looks pretty interesting.

So you sign up for an SMS service—let’s say SimpleTexting, for no particular reason—and you see that you get to choose your very own keyword to use in advertising. You select “PurplePeopleEater”—the name of your horns guy, who your fans absolutely adore. But how to use this mysterious keyword thing?

Like this:

Text “PurplePeopleEater” to 555888 for discounted tickets!

The example above is a call to action inviting people to text your keyword (PurplePeopleEater) to 555888, which happens to be SimpleTexting’s short code. It’s like a phone number, just shorter and easier to remember.

Anyone who texts PurplePeopleEater to 555888 is automatically added to your subscriber list, and then you can start sending them great deals on tickets to your novelty rockin’ concerts.

Can’t I just use email?

Sure, if you like low open rates. 😉

Email open rates are typically around 30%. Compare that to SMS, which is over 90%!

Redbox once advertised the keyword “Deals” during their “10 Days of Deals” campaign. As a result, 1.3 million people texted the keyword and were added to Redbox’s subscriber list.

Think Redbox would’ve gotten that kind of response with email? No way.

With SimpleTexting, your free trial comes with a free keyword—so try it out if you haven’t already. Need more than one keyword? All SimpleTexting plans offer unlimited keywords, so you never have to worry about paying more.

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2. How to import existing subscribers

Don’t leave ’em behind. 🚀

If you’re like a lot of SimpleTexting customers, you already have existing contacts hidden away in some secret place.

In most cases, you can just import your existing subscriber list right into our platform. No starting over, no lost work, no sweat.

The process is pretty simple, although you will need to have your list ready to go in CSV, XLS, or XLSX format.

  1. Log in and go to Subscribers
  2. If you haven’t added a list in SimpleTexting already, click Add list to create and save one
  3. If you already have a list in SimpleTexting, click Import CSV
  4. Click Browse to upload your file of contacts (e.g., Purple_People_Eater_Fans.csv)
  5. On the next screen, select which list you’d like to import to
  6. Map the fields in your file to the fields in SimpleTexting
  7. You’re done; now you can rock

You can find a complete guide to importing contacts here.

Approval needed

You probably noticed that we said “in most cases” up there. That’s because of compliance regulations. Before we can let you import, we need to confirm that you obtained express consent from all your contacts and aren’t planning to spam anyone. 😉

If you need help with your import, we’d be happy to assist you. Just send an email to [email protected] or click the chat bubble in the bottom right corner of our website. (It’s the top right if you’re logged in to your account.)

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3. How to sync SimpleTexting with MailChimp

It’s SimpleChimp 🐵

Already have subscribers in MailChimp? Bring them with you. With our platform, you can send phone numbers from MailChimp to SimpleTexting. And, any email addresses you’ve got in SimpleTexting are good to go to MailChimp.

The app you can use to do this is called MailChimp Sync—but sometimes we like to refer to it as SimpleChimp. 🙃

It’s super easy to get synchronized. Here’s the abbreviated step-by-step:

  1. Log in to your account and go to Apps
  2. Click on MailChimp Sync
  3. Enter your MailChimp username and password
  4. Select the lists you’d like to sync
  5. Map fields for each list
  6. Click Sync Lists. You’re done; now you can rock

You can check out a more in-depth guide here.

Approval needed, again

Just like importing contacts, syncing MailChimp requires approval from our team. Again, it’s compliance that’s tying us down here. We aren’t playing hard to get; we’re just being cautious. 😉

If you need help with syncing, the SimpleChimp support team would be happy to assist you! Just send an email to [email protected] or click the chat bubble in the bottom right corner of our website. (It’s the top right if you’re logged in to your account.)

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4. How to send your first campaign

Spend a buck, get 14 back 🤑

In 2013, Carl’s Jr. sent out a text message campaign offering their subscribers a $6 burger for $2.99. For every dollar spent on the campaign, Carl’s Jr. earned $14 back! 🤑

Not a bad ROI, right? Now it’s your turn.

It’s crazy easy to send a campaign.

  1. Log in and go to Messaging, then New campaign
  2. Give your campaign a name—say, “PurplePeopleEater Job Posting”
  3. Write your message—e.g., “Looking for a job in a rock ‘n’ roll band? We’ve got an opening! Click to apply – (URL)”
  4. Select the list you want to text—PurplePeopleEater, of course
  5. Send your message. You’re done; now you can rock

Read more about sending a campaign here.

You don’t have to send campaigns immediately, by the way. You can schedule them for later if you’d like. 👍

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5. How to set up autoresponders

Abracadabra, alacazam! Automatic messages ✨

It’s time to talk about a little bit of SMS magic called autoresponders.

Autoresponders are delayed messages you can write in advance and assign to lists. Anyone who joins your list will automatically get your autoresponder. Maybe a day after joining, maybe a week—it all depends on your delay setting.

Once you create an autoresponder, SimpleTexting takes care of the rest. Like magic. Poof. ✨

Set it and forget it.

  1. Log in and go to Messaging, then Autoresponders
  2. Choose a list to attach your autoresponder to. PurplePeopleEater, for example
  3. Write your message
  4. Set a delay time
  5. You’re done; now you can rock

Autoresponders can be as simple as a one-time reminder, or as complex as an entire series spread out over weeks or months.

Note that existing subscribers won’t receive your autoresponder … it will only be sent to new people who subscribe (or get added) after you set it up.

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6. How to collect subscriber data

Ask and ye shall receive data 💾

So, you’re all set up with your subscribers, you’re sending campaigns, and you’ve even started using autoresponders. What’s next?

Data collection!

With SimpleTexting’s data collection app, you can ask your subscribers to provide the following information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Note

The “Note” field is open to pretty much any information you might be interested in—things like a user’s workplace, neighborhood, favorite dessert, or favorite rock ‘n’ roll band.

SimpleTexting takes the data you collect and stores it in custom fields, which you can use in any future texts.

For example, if you wanted to personalize a message, you could just drop in the First Name custom field:

“Hey %%firstname%%, did you hear the joke about purple people eaters? Never mind, it’s in bad taste!”

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7. How to hold a contest

Winning 🎉

Who doesn’t love the chance to win something free? At SimpleTexting, we’ve got an app for that.

Text-2-Win lets you create your own contest and then use it as an incentive to get new subscribers. It’s keyword-based, so be sure you’ve got your keyword ready first.

Here’s how to set things up:

  1. Log in and go to Apps, then Text-2-Win
  2. Name your campaign—e.g., “PurplePeopleEater Short Shorts Contest”
  3. Select the keyword you want to use
  4. Write an auto-confirmation message for entrants—e.g., “You’ve entered for a chance to win a pair of short shorts signed by the one and only PurplePeopleEater!”
  5. You’re done; now you can rock

You don’t have to worry about selecting your winner (or winners)—SimpleTexting will handle that part for you.

Need to know if your subscribers are old enough to participate? Use the built-in age verification feature (18 or 21).

If you’d like to read about Text-2-Win in real life, check out the story we wrote about Unibroue’s Megadeth beer contest. Rock ‘n’ roll!

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8. How to poll subscribers

The results are in! 📊

Do you want to understand your subscribers better? Are you itching to ask them a question? Of course you do/are.

With our Polling Subscribers app, you can easily send questions to your existing subscribers. Ask for feedback, let them rate your service, see what they think about potential new products, et cetera.

For example:

“What app should we develop next at SimpleTexting?”
A. Recipes by Text
B. Horoscopes
C. Text-to-Be-President
D. PurplePeopleEater Jokes ft. Sheb Wooley

Users simply text back the letter of the option they prefer (e.g., “D”), and you get the results inside your dashboard. 🙂

Maybe you noticed an app in your account called Text-2-Vote. What’s the difference? With polling you send a message to existing subscribers, but with Text-2-Vote you use a keyword to get new subscribers.

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9. How to set up triggers

Umm, triggers❓

Yep. 🙂 Keywords can actually have their own sub-keywords, and we call those sub-keywords triggers. They’re great for providing extra details that people frequently ask about.

Say you want to make it super easy for people on your PurplePeopleEater list to get your contact info. Here’s how you’d do that:

  1. Go to Keywords and select PurplePeopleEater
  2. Add a trigger and name it “Contact”
  3. Put your contact info in the trigger message field
  4. Then, back in the auto-confirmation message for PurplePeopleEater, add something like this: Reply with “Contact” to get contact info
  5. You’re done; now you can rock

See what’s going on there? First, people text PurplePeopleEater to join your list. Second, they get your auto-confirmation message and see the option to reply with Contact. Finally, they text Contact and get another message with your contact info.

Triggers are a bit tricky, so if you need any assistance, feel free to reach out: [email protected] / chat bubble.

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10. How to comply with the law

Compliance & closing notes 🏁

Let’s just dive right into compliance now, shall we?

Yes, we shall. 🙃

Compliance is not optional.

In the world of SMS marketing, compliance refers to laws that protect consumers from unwanted and/or spammy texts. Said laws were laid down in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in 1991 and has since been updated with SMS-specific rules.

If you’re in the text marketing business, you are required to obtain express written consent before you send your campaigns—or face lawsuits and penalties.

Unless you’re a purple people eater, in which case you can do whatever you jolly well please.

Compliance is not difficult.

Fortunately, complying with the TCPA is pretty straightforward. It’s just a matter of making sure you’ve got the right information in your call to action. Such information includes:

  • The purpose of your campaign
  • Message frequency
  • Disclosure: “Message and data rates may apply”
  • Link to terms & conditions
  • Link to privacy policy

For a good illustration of what this might look like in an ad, check out this article about SMS compliance.

Closing notes…

Thanks for reading, and we hope you’ve been able to learn a thing or two. Now, go forth and fill the earth with many wonderful and compliant text messages!

To learn more about SMS marketing, you can visit our Education Center & Marketing Resources page. You can also just sit there and twiddle your thumbs, but we don’t recommend it . 😉

Got questions, comments, complaints, or lofty observations about this article—or about SimpleTexting in general? We want to know—so just contact us. 😀

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I said, Mister Purple People Eater,
What’s your line?
He said,
Eatin’ purple people,
And it sure is fine.
What is the reason
That you came to land?
I wanna get a job
In a rock ‘n’ roll band!

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