Text message marketing, or SMS marketing has become more and more popular over the years. With rising costs of other marketing tactics, many small businesses and even some large corporations are relying on text message marketing campaigns to get their message out to their prospective clients.
Here is a list of the top 10 ways to optimize your text message marketing campaigns according to the recommendations of experienced entrepreneurs, managers, and CEOs across multiple industries.
1. Develop a Target Audience
One of the key components to any marketing campaign is a target audience or target market. Essentially, you will need to have a way to identify different types of consumers based on demographic information.
“Creating a sign-up for updates that asks for more than an email and their name is highly beneficial,” says Benjamin Smith, Founder of Disco. “Find out how old they are, what area they live in, and other relevant demographic information. There is a fine line though. You don’t want to ask so many questions that they don’t want to fill out the information. 3-5 additional questions after their name are optimal. Use drop-down options or create sections that a smartphone will autofill if possible.”
2. Create Automatic Campaigns
You can make your messaging platform do some of the work for you! Create a rule that automates messages each time a purchase is made by a client or send out a coupon if they follow a link sent in an email. Depending on the platform you are utilizing, you might have many options here.
“Automatic campaigns make everything more streamlined and they can be more personal too,” says Rym Selmi, Founder of MiiRO. “These platforms let you send a message each time they perform a specific action. That could be logging in to your website or adding something to their cart. It could also be sent immediately after the time of purchase.”
3. Study Timing
Depending on your product, location, and target market, there may be an optimal time to send out a text campaign. This is something that should be taken as seriously as any other part of the campaign planning.
“Understanding when your consumers are more likely to see and respond to the text message is critical,” says Jordan Nathan, Founder and CEO of Caraway. “Sending a message during a time that is in the middle of the workday or too early in the morning may not make the impact that sending a message during the evening or mid-afternoon. There are also some days of the week that might work better for your consumers – and sending something out at the beginning and middle of the month when they’ve likely just received a paycheck isn’t a bad idea either.”
4. Don’t Write a Novel
Text messages are designed to be short, sweet, and to the point. People are expecting to be able to understand the gist of the message within seconds, so don’t include paragraphs of text or multiple action options.
“Keep the information limited. If you need to create a longer message, email might be a better platform. Remember how the information will be displayed,” says Derin Oyekan, Co-founder of Reel Paper. “Instead, keep the information brief and make the message explicitly clear.”
This brings us to our next idea – along with keeping the information limited to a brief message, it’s also important to include a call to action. This can be tricky when you’re trying to incorporate very specific details, but it is doable.
“A call to action does more than let your consumer access your website,” says Danielle Calabrese, COO of De La Calle. “It gives them something tangible to do which can increase the chances that they’ll come back to it later even if they don’t purchase anything at that moment. It also helps contribute to analytical data and round out the campaign.”
6. Collecting Data
Building on the advice given above, it is important to set up a text campaign in a way that you can collect analytical data from each message that’s sent out. Without this, it will be difficult to gauge effectiveness and learn from mistakes or successes for future planning.
“The data that you can gain from a text campaign is so valuable,” says Ashwin Sokke Co-founder of WOW Skin Science. “You can see the open rate, the click rate, what time people most likely interact – everything! It’s so useful when you go to plan future campaigns. The more you utilize text message marketing and track the data, the more accurately you can use the platform to connect with your audience.”
7. Make it Personal
There are platforms that allow for increased customization of text messages. This can help with increasing the chance that the customer will take notice of the message.
“Use a platform that lets you customize the message for each person to include their name,” says Dan Potter, Managing Director and CEO of CRAFTD. “Making it personalized increases the chance that they’ll interact with the call to action.”
8. Don’t Overuse Capital Letters
We’ve all received those texts from brands that capitalize everything in the message as an attempt to grab your attention, but one expert said this is something to avoid.
“Don’t capitalize every letter or every word. Not only does this make it difficult to read, but it comes across as aggressive,” says Charlie McKenna, Chef & Founder of Lillie’s Q. “Instead, type it out as if you’re sending it as a normal text message. You wouldn’t be throwing capitalized words or letters in there, so don’t do it in your campaigns either.”
9. Shorten Your URL
Going back to one of our earlier tips that advised keeping the message short, you’re going to want to shorten your URL to prevent the message from taking up the entire screen on someone’s phone.
“If you are able, hyperlink a word or phrase within the text. This looks the neatest and doesn’t look as much like a spam text,” says David Wolfe, Founder and CEO of Oliver’s Apparel. “If you can’t do that, then create a short URL that takes up less space. Remember, an ideal text message is somewhere in the 150-200 character range and this includes your URL.”
10. Make Opt-In and Opt-Out Accessible
Remember that you want to make it easy for people to sign up for text message marketing, but you don’t want them to feel tracked or imposed on by your messages either.
“Give people the opportunity to sign up for text marketing in several locations across your website, in emails, and even in-store,” says Amanda E. Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer of Nailboo. “Likewise, you want them to be able to opt-out if necessary. Becoming an irritant will do the exact opposite of what your text campaign is looking to accomplish. Have an automated message that tells them you’re sad they’re leaving but also gives a link to opt back in if they want to in the future.”
It sounds like there are a lot of options when it comes to optimizing your text message marketing campaigns. We hope that you’ve learned something new from our experts and you’re able to reap the rewards of their advice. These top 10 tips for text message marketing are great to implement in start-ups, small businesses, or even corporations and can help you optimize the responses that you see to your marketing campaigns.