Text message marketing is a newer yet incredibly valuable component to any business that is focused on creating repeat customers and connecting with them on a personal level. It’s principles are based on permission marketing which is a method of marketing where your customers volunteer to listen what you have to say.
Decide on a “keyword” for your business. This is a special word or phrase that your customers will text to a particular number to sign up for your text marketing list. There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a keyword:
- Keep it short. Because your customers will be texting your keyword to subscribe, it’s important that you keep your keyword as short as possible so it’s easy to type out.
- Keep it simple. You want your customers to be able to see or hear your keyword once, and get it right when typing it into their phones.
- Make sure it reflects what your business is about. If you own a golf course, don’t have your keyword be “burgers”. Make it something reflective of your business, like “golf” or “links”.
- Once you’ve decided on a keyword, you’ll need to decide which text message marketing service provider to sign up with. There are many out there on the market today, so do your research to make sure you’re choosing a good one. Some things to look for in a good text marketing company:
- Make sure they have your keyword available. Because these are unique to each business, it’s possible that someone else has already reserved it.
- They should offer good customer support. Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to talk to a machine when you call a company for some help!
- Make sure they are using SMS (short messaging service) technology to send your texts. Some companies use email technology to send their texts. This causes your texts to run through email spam filters and thus not making it to your customers all the time.
- Make sure their website is easy to use. You shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time just figuring out how to use a company’s website when starting out text marketing.
Once you’ve decided on a text message marketing provider to sign up with, you’ll need to decide on a plan or package that best fits your business or organization. There are 2 main questions you should ask yourself when deciding on this.
- How many keywords will I need? Many times, businesses will have more than 1 keyword for the different customers, seasons and/or circles that they cater to. For example, if you own a ski and bike shop, you’ll most likely want a keyword for your winter customers and one for your summer customers.
- How many texts will I be sending per month? 1 Text is usually equal to 1 message to 1 subscriber so you’ll need to estimate how many subscribers you’ll have and how often you’ll be sending a text.
- Look at how many Twitter followers or Facebook fans you have. Divide that by 4 and that should be a good baseline for how many subscribers you’ll have within the first or second month.
- Then decide how often you’ll be sending texts. Most businesses shouldn’t be sending more than 1 text per week so they don’t upset their subscribers and cause them to opt out. Each industry will be different.
- Multiply the amount of subscribers by how many times per month you’ll be sending texts and that should give you a solid idea as to how big of a plan or package you’ll need.
Once you’ve signed up with your chosen text message marketing provider, you’ll need to reserve the keyword that you’ve decided on.
After your keyword has been reserved, you’ll need to set up an “auto reply” or “auto responder”. This is a text message that is customized by you that will be automatically sent back to a customer when they subscribe to your text marketing list. There are a few points you should consider for an effective auto reply:
- Remind them what they just signed up for.
- Thank them for joining your list.
- Let them know how many messages they can expect to receive per month.
Once your keyword and auto reply are set up, it’s now time to start growing your list! You’ll want use your sales clerks, printed materials in your building, email, Facebook, Twitter and your other marketing outlets to spread the word about your new text marketing list. Here are some good tips to keep in mind when trying to grow your list.
- Let people know what they are signing up for.
- Offer them an incentive for subscribing to your list.
- Let them know how often you will be sending them texts.
As your list begins to grow, your text marketing service provider should provide you with some basic statistics on how it’s growing and where the subscribers are coming from.
After your list has grown to an effective size, let’s say at least 20 subscribers, it will be worth it to send your first text campaign.
Start by logging into your text marketing service provider’s website and navigate to the page that allows you to send the text messages.
Write out your text. Make sure you have a short, to-the-point message that is valuable and compelling. Keep in mind that a text is only 160 characters so you may even need to use “text” shorthand to get it all in. Some tips for a good text marketing offer are:
- Make it relevant. One of the things that make text marketing so effective is that you control the time that people see the message. So if you own a restaurant, send one at 4:30, right when hungry office workers are starting to think about dinner.
- Add an expiration time or date to the text. This will create a sense of urgency to get people in the door.
- Ask them to show the text to get the deal.
- Use common language in your text. Make it somewhat personal. Remember, you are communicating to your subscribers via an extremely personal method that’s normally only reserved for family and friends.
- Offer something of real value. If you’re going to pause your subscribers in the middle of what they’re doing to offer them something, make sure that it’s worth it.
- Encourage your subscribers to forward the text to a friend.
- Keep it simple. It doesn’t matter if a text campaign is designed to build brand awareness, provide information, or shoot for a direct response, it must be easy for the recipient to understand and react to.
Once your text is complete, you should have the option not only to send it, but schedule it at a particular time and date in the future. This allows you to set up promotions in advance saving you time and headaches. Whichever you decide to do, there will be an option to send your text. Within minutes if not seconds, your text will be landing in the hands of your subscribers all over with a relevant offer that creates value and an incentive to visit your business.
Track the progress of your text campaigns. This is what helps to increase your marketing’s effectiveness as a whole. Find out what types of messaging and promotions really inspire your customers to stop by and then replicate it not only in your text message marketing but in your other marketing avenues as well!
by: Gemma-Leigh Garner, Teresa, Kanhu