★ Ultimate guide to sms marketing ★
The character count for text messages is limited, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the most of the limited space that you do have. In this section, we’ll go over some of the tips that can help make your SMS copywriting stand out.
It may seem like you should emulate teen “text speak” when writing the texts for your text marketing campaign, but, to most people, it seems unnatural. If your brand voice is professional, your texting language should be as well. Otherwise, the default should be conversational. If your brand is directed toward teens and young adults, then “text speak” may be warranted, but exercise caution.
It’s futile to send people texts without offering them something in return. For most businesses, that means you have to send out coupons or special offers. Simply asking them to go into the store doesn’t give the consumer any value. For added incentive, you can offer your customers a time-sensitive offer to drive immediate sales.
Even though text messages are short, you have to grab your customer’s attention quickly. The sale, offer, or announcement should be in the first 5 words. Steer clear of clever wordplay or unnecessary words.
It can be tempting to try to fit all the goings-on of your business into a single update, but it’s better to keep your messages to the point and send out additional messages if necessary. While some abbreviations are warranted, if you need to abbreviate every word to fit it all in, consider reevaluating and choosing what’s really important.
If you have the time, you should conduct controlled tests to see what formats for texts are most effective. Split your list in half, send one half one text, and send the other half the other text. Then, compare redemption rate for the texts to see if the difference between the rates is significant. If possible, conduct multiple tests over time to see if the results hold up. Consult a more complete A/B testing guide for more information.
It’s impossible to predict what all your customers are doing throughout the day. Some of them may work at night and some may be sleeping. Others may be too busy at work, while others may be idle. Even so, it’s possible to generalize and get a rough estimate of when your customers will be most receptive to your texts.
While there are exceptions to the rule, generally speaking, most Americans follow a 9-5 workday schedule. That means 7:30am – 9:30am and 4:30pm – 6:30pm are spent in rush hour, while 9:30am to 4:30pm is spent at work. If your message is appropriate to send during work hours, 10am – 2pm is ideal. If your message is best received during leisure time, then 7pm – 9pm may be more appropriate.
If possible, consider the archetype of your customer. Are they mostly students, parents, or working professionals? After that, you can start to consider what times of the day would be best to send them updates. When do they need my product? When are they most likely to be thinking about what I sell? When you begin to answer these questions, you get a time range when you should text your subscribers.
Once you have a general time range, narrow it down by when you need the traffic. Remember: SMS marketing is most effective for driving immediate sales. So if you have certain days that are slow, bring in more customers by texting them that morning. That way, you can have a more steady flow of business.
Most people would be really annoyed to have a text wake them up in the middle of the night. That’s why you should add time controls to your text marketing campaign to prevent customers from unsubscribing after an poorly timed text.
To grow the efficacy of your SMS marketing campaign, seek to grow your subscriber base. While some amount of organic growth is possible through word of mouth and your customers on social media, most subscriber lists see meaningful growth through integration with your other marketing channels.
For retailers, the most straightforward way to capture phone numbers is to simply ask your customers if they want to join. Train your cashiers to say a short call to action at checkout that includes an appropriate incentive. For example, an offer of 20% off a $100 purchase will entice 23% of customers to join, whereas an offer of 40% off will entice 57% of people to join, according to a recent study by SimpleTexting.
Many of your most loyal customers already subscribe to your email list, so many of them will naturally want to join your text marketing list. When first announcing your text marketing campaign, put the call to action above the fold to increase its visibility. Consider implementing a web form so that customers can subscribe by clicking on a link right in the email.
Each email after the first announcement should include a short call to action near where you put links to your social media accounts. Something short like “Text SUBSCRIBE to 555888 to receive weekly deals and updates” should work perfectly fine.
It’s safe to assume your followers on social media will be active texters and will be interested in your text communications. As with email, you should periodically post reminders on your most active social media platforms. Engagement rates vary by account, but usually less than 10% of your followers will see any given message. This means it’s okay to post requests to join your text marketing campaign up to twice a month on Facebook or twice a week on Twitter.
If you’re already spending money on paid advertising, why not try to increase its effectiveness as much as you can? Even though the audience for most advertisements isn’t concentrated toward your most loyal customers, the number of people reached is much greater. No doubt some of them prefer to engage through texting. A simple on-screen notice or brief mention of your keyword and short code should be sufficient to drive sign-ups.
For most businesses with physical locations, point of sale signage is among the most effective ways to prompt people to sign up to your text marketing campaigns. Text message updates and coupons will be most relevant for those who enter your store because they will be likely to return. Your keyword and short code are brief enough to fit on menus, flyers, placards, and any other form of in-store or event signage. Ultimately, you know your business best, so you can gauge which locations would be most appropriate for your establishment, but it’s hard to go overboard.
Also, keep in mind that your employees should understand your text marketing campaign. If your customers have questions about the text subscriptions, your employees should be able to answer them. Ideally, they should also be subscribed so they can better answer those questions.
While text marketing is certainly an art, it’s also a science. Certain campaign metrics can help you determine the effectiveness of your campaigns, as we’ll see in the next section.