Text Message Marketing
When we talk to businesses and non-profits about text message (SMS) marketing, there are a few misconceptions that commonly come up.
Unless you’re a spammer, it’s permission-based.
Amazingly, many organizations think you need to already have a list of phone numbers, or worse, you need to buy this list before you can start sending out text messages. Not only is sending unauthorized text message terribly ineffective, it’s illegal and could lead to lawsuits and penalties. The effective and legal way to do SMS marketing is to grow your own list through campaigns promoted to your targeted audience.
You don’t need to get your own shortcode.
One of the first questions we get from newcomers to SMS marketing is, “How do I get my own shortcode?” While some large brands may find value in getting their own shortcode, most businesses and non-profits can save the expense and hassle. Like many SMS marketing providers, we provide our shared shortcodes to clients. This saves them money and allows them to get up and running quickly.
It doesn’t cost a lot and it’s very cost-effective.
Frequently, marketers are surprised to hear the entry-level costs for SMS marketing. For whatever reason, even small organizations assume it will be a significant investment for them to start using this technology (it’s not!). Once they learn how small the investment is, they quickly stop worrying about how difficult it will be for them to prove the value to their bosses.
It’s extremely easy to setup and manage.
When we help a new client setup their first SMS campaign, they’re usually surprised how easy it is. I think this comes from the email marketing world where setting up a campaign for the first time involves a lot of configuring, template building, graphics uploading, etc. With only 160 characters to work with, it almost always takes longer to decide the message than it does to set up the software.
Your audience wants to receive text messages from you, if they’re valuable.
Because at this point almost everyone has received at least one of those spam “you’ve won this gift card” messages, organizations assume their messages will be received the same way. This just isn’t true and they’re always surprised after their first outgoing campaign how well the messages are received by their audience and how few people opt-out.
You can capture email addresses and other information with text messaging.
Initially, organizations are very focused on growing a big list of mobile numbers so they can “blast” out messages to many people and they often overlook the two-way capabilities of SMS. Many organizations have captured email address, zip code, survey responses, product numbers, and more through text message. Don’t focus too much on the outbound part of SMS and miss an opportunity to gather valuable data and feedback from your users.
It works best in three situations.
We’ve worked on a lot of SMS campaigns, and while many unique campaigns have generated great results, there are three types of campaigns that always seem to work the best. Those that are promoted at events, at a physical location, or any campaign run over traditional media (TV, radio, print, or outdoor). These campaigns always seem to grow the biggest mobile databases, assuming the incentive was attractive to the audience.
SMS is used by some of the biggest brands in the US, but remains relatively “untapped” by small and mid-sized businesses.
Many small to mid-sized businesses we talk to are amazed to hear how many large, well-known brands are using SMS marketing today. They’re also amazed when they realize not many, if any, of their competitors are using it. Quickly, the conversation turns to “why haven’t we considered this sooner” and “when can we start?” As with any form of marketing, whenever you can reach the audience where your competition isn’t, the more effective it can be.
It’s not just for a “young” audience anymore.
We don’t hear this one as much as we used to, but every so often we have to pull out the stats (81% of mobile users use SMS) to prove texting is not just something teenagers do any more. Look around, everyone uses it!