SMS marketing is a powerful tool for any small business owner to promote their products and services, improve customer retention, and build stronger relationships with their customer base. But you shouldn’t try to implement a text messaging campaign without knowing the ins and outs of text message marketing, first.
For example, you need to be sure you follow the regulations laid out in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which controls how businesses can engage with customers via text. TCPA compliance is a huge part of making SMS marketing work for your business.
You can also improve the experience for your customers by automating responses and using a two-way SMS autoresponder, so customers don’t feel ignored. When it comes to writing marketing texts to send, get right to the point – you only have 160 characters to close the deal.
Get Your Customers’ Permission Before You Text Them
Under federal regulations laid out in the TCPA and the CAN-SPAM Act, you need to get written permission from your customers before you send them any marketing texts. Most businesses get this done by having customers text to opt-in to marketing texts.
A keyword campaign is the easiest way to do this – have customers text a keyword to a short code to permit them to receive marketing texts. Respond with a text that includes the five pillars of TCPA compliance:
- It identifies your business and discloses the reason why you asked for your customer’s contact information;
- It tells customers how often they can expect to receive your marketing texts;
- It gives them access to the full terms and conditions of participation in your text marketing campaign;
- It gives them the ability to opt-out by a direct reply at any time; and
- It lets them know that their standard data and messaging rates will apply to any texts exchanged with your business.
Once you have permission to text your customers, make sure you don’t abuse their goodwill with spammy or over-frequent texts. A good rule of thumb is to send at least two but no more than six texts per month.
Make Opting Out of Texts Easy
Under the TCPA and the CAN-SPAM Act, you have to make it easy for customers to opt-out of receiving your marketing texts. You have to allow them to opt-out by replying to any of your texts. Usually, that involves replying with a keyword like STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE. The shorter the keyword, the better.
Send Texts During Normal Business Hours Only
The TCPA also sets limits on what time of day you can send marketing texts. You’re only allowed to send bulk marketing texts between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Sending marketing texts outside of this time frame is considered harassment.
However, you might want to restrict yourself even further, depending on the nature of your business. Customers might find it weird and intrusive to get texts early in the morning or late at night, so don’t push the boundaries of this rule. Sending bulk marketing texts during your normal business hours will help keep customers from feeling disillusioned with your texting campaign.
Automate SMS Responses
If customers are sending you texts and you’re not responding, they’re going to think you’re ignoring them. Most of the time, it’s not going to occur to them that you only have one-way SMS enabled or that no one is available to address their issue.
Use a two-way SMS autoresponder to provide automatic responses to your customers’ texts. Even if the automatic response is just to let them know that you’ve closed and will answer their message later, they’ll at least know that you’re not ignoring them.
Get to the Point Quickly
When it’s time to compose your marketing texts, don’t hem and haw. Get to the point quickly. Avoid using flowery or hyperbolic language to amp up your brand – remember that these customers have already shown that they’re interested and don’t need to be convinced to like your brand.
Instead, they want straightforward messages about your promotions, sales, and deals, as well as notifications about upcoming appointments and deliveries. Keep your messages concise and direct.
SMS marketing can work for your business – you just need the right approach. The most important thing to remember is that your messages need to comply with federal guidelines.
Keep them short and to the point – avoid spamming your customers with long or unnecessary messages. With the right strategy, SMS marketing could take your business to a whole new level.