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6 FAQs First Timers Have with SMS Marketing

April 10, 2017 6:42 pm by

Have the many benefits of SMS marketing, such as high open and conversion rates, piqued your interest? As a potential first-time user of this channel, you probably have several questions about it. There is a lot of information swirling around about text marketing, so it is important that you have your facts straight before you begin your program.

The following are answers to several of the most commonly asked questions about text message marketing. With this information, you will be better able to determine if text marketing is the right move for your business or organization.

Befuddled by SMS marketing? These answers will help to clear up some of the confusion.

What Is a Keyword?

You have probably heard the term ‘keyword’ thrown around often in marketing circles, especially if your business is involved with digital or content marketing. A text keyword is different from an SEO keyword, but it still serves an important function. It is essential you understand what a text keyword is, and what its purpose is for SMS marketing.

The keyword is the word that subscribers text to you for a particular reason, which might be to:

  • Opt-in
  • Confirm a subscription
  • Ask for help
  • Participate in a poll
  • Answer a question

You may be familiar with how text keywords are most often used: to opt-in to a campaign. You have likely seen ads that include calls to action asking mobile users to send a specific word to a code to join. A CTA like this might be: Text COFFEE to 123-456-7890 to get discounts on our coffee.

Basically, when a mobile user sends a keyword, it spurs a response from your campaign — typically an autoresponse message. However, it might also spur another action; for example, a request to remove someone from your subscription list or to respond to a customer service inquiry.

Keywords play an important role in your campaign. As such, they need to be strong. It is best for them to be:

  • Short
  • Memorable
  • Unique
  • Relevant to your business

The beauty of keywords is that you can create unique ones for each campaign. Then, you have another way to track the results of your communication or marketing efforts. For example, you can use one keyword for print ads and another keyword in TV ads. Compare the number of texts you receive for each keyword. Then, you have an idea of which campaign generated a greater response.

How Do You Create an Autoresponse?

There are many different types of messages that you might choose to send your subscribers. You may share promotional content, such as offers and deals. However, one of the most important types of messages you create and share will be the autoresponse. These are messages that can be sent as a response to a particular keyword.

The most common one? The opt-in response. A typical message would look like this:

“Thank you for joining our texting list. Click here for our terms and conditions. Text YES to confirm, NO to opt out, or HELP for more information.”

Make sure that you create short and concise autoresponse messages while also getting your point across. In this case, the intent is to confirm that the person meant to sign up for your program. It is also important to share your terms and conditions with new subscribers so they understand what to expect when communicating with your business via text message.

You may create other types of autoresponse messages, each one with its own intent and purpose. When you create an autoresponse message, make sure it is:

  • Relevant to the keyword
  • Concise
  • Remains under 160 characters
  • Addresses questions or concerns
  • Personalized and tailored to the audience

You can develop an autoresponse message in your SMS marketing platform so that it’s ready to be sent anytime someone texts a certain keyword. Every platform will be slightly different, but most are fairly user-friendly. You will have a space to enter the keyword and the response. You have the capability to edit it as needed. You should make a habit of routinely reviewing and updating it. Once it is set up, your work is done!  

How to Get People to Sign Up

There are many ways to grow your subscriber list so that your texting campaign is successful.

In order for your SMS marketing program to be successful, you need a healthy list of subscribers. So, how do you build your list? It is a multi-faceted approach. First and foremost, you need to promote your program. You can do this through:

  • Social media
  • In-store flyers
  • Posters
  • Billboards
  • Vehicle wraps
  • TV commercials
  • Radio spots
  • Print ads
  • Your website
  • Receipts
  • Emails
  • Newsletters
  • Direct mail
  • Personnel directly informing customers

Promote your texting program the same way you would any other new service. Include information about it on your marketing collateral. Or consider doing a big promotional push right before you launch your program in order to build your subscriber list.

Cross-promote your text marketing program across various communication channels. Target customers who already follow you, such as your social media followers or email newsletter recipients. Because they have already chosen to follow you on one channel, it is likely they will follow you on others.

Find a way to motivate people to subscribe to your texting list. How do you do this? Offer something of value to them. Consider creating a special discount for new subscribers to your texting program. If you provide something of value to your audience, then they will want to sign up to receive text messages from your business.

Once you have a healthy list of subscribers, be sure you follow the parameters you outlined in your terms and conditions. If your customers sign up for one thing and then experience another, they will quickly opt-out — and possibly tell their friends and family members about their negative experience.

How Long Should a Text Be?

Keep your marketing texts under 160 characters. This is the maximum length that gets sent as a single text by mobile carriers.

You might be thinking, “but I send my friends long text messages all the time without a problem.” Well, it is true that some smartphones now have the capacity to send and receive long texts in what appears to be one message. However, the truth is that the data is still sent in 160 character chunks.

Sometimes when you send out these long texts, the different chunks can get mixed up — especially on older phones or non-smartphones. Your recipient may receive your messages out of order, which could cause confusion. Another concern is that mobile users might be charged per text received. Not everyone has unlimited texting, so it’s important to consider that as you’re developing your messages.

Another reason to keep your text to 160 characters is that mobile users expect short, simple and concise messages through text, so it is best to meet their expectations.

How do you do this? Follow some simple guidelines:

  • Focus on one idea per text
  • Remove unnecessary words
  • Include links to web pages for more information when applicable and appropriate

That being said, avoid making your content so short that it becomes confusing. Keep “text speak” and abbreviations to a minimum, including only commonly-used abbreviations like state names.

How Often Should I Text?

This can be a difficult question to answer. In general, the ideal frequency is between two and four messages per month, although every company will find its own sweet spot. You want to avoid texting too much, as this will annoy your customers and increase your opt-outs. However, if you rarely text, then people will forget you even have a texting program.

How do you determine how often you should text? Well, for one, you can ask before you start to see how often your customers would appreciate receiving texts. You can also perform A/B testing to determine at which point people start to opt-out or otherwise become inactive with your program.

In your terms and conditions, you need to tell your customers how often you plan to send texts, so it is best to determine the frequency before you start your program. Once you have established your number, you must stick with it. If you plan to send more texts, then you need to let your subscribers know before you start.  

Do Customers Really Want to Receive Texts From Businesses?

Customers are happy to hear from you via text, so don’t hestitate to start your program.

This question is easy to answer: Yes, customers want to receive texts from businesses. Approximately 70 percent of consumers think it is a good idea for brands to text, so you can feel confident that your customers will be happy to receive text messages from your business.

Also, not every business has a texting program. Therefore, you have the opportunity to really stand out from your competition and interact with customers in a unique way.

Hopefully, we’ve answered your most burning questions related to SMS marketing and you are ready to get started. Try Group Texting for free and begin to put some of these ideas into practice.

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