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SMS Texting Basics

March 16, 2018 6:29 pm by

SMS has emerged as an unparalleled channel to reach customers. But even if you think texting is a great idea for your business, you may have some questions which is great! We’re here to help!

Here are some basic SMS facts and explanations to help you get rolling:

Will People Be Happy to Get Texts from Me?
Before you start texting people they must be opted-in to your program. That means they have explicitly signed up to receive your marketing texts – either by texting a keyword or by filling out a form. With that in mind, they should be delighted to hear from you if your texts meet the expectation you set up front – such as “We’ll text you once a month with news and special offers.” Be sure to give them something good along with sticking to your promises. Send goodies like coupons and early notices of sales.

What Is a Keyword?
You have probably heard the term ‘keyword’ thrown around, 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.

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

For example, you may have a sign that says, “Text COFFEE to 123-456-7890 to get discounts on our coffee.” Here “COFFEE” is the keyword.

When the customers text the keyword to your number, it spurs a response from your campaign – typically an auto-response message.

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 I Create an Auto-response?
In text marketing, you will send many kinds of messages. One of the most important ones will be the auto-response. These are automatically sent as a response to a user texting your keyword. The most common one? The opt-in response. The CTIA has great guidelines for crafting an auto-response that lays out the details of your text program and keeps you compliant. SMS software providers like Group Texting make it easy to set up and send your auto-responses so that you can set it and forget it!

How Do I Encourage People to Sign Up?
In order for your SMS marketing program to be successful, you need a healthy list of subscribers. So, how do you build your list? First and foremost, you need to promote your program with clear calls to action. The most common ways to opt people in to your texting program is through a keyword campaign or by adding the opt-in as a field in your sign-up form.

  • Remember to tell people about your texting program and encourage them to opt-in.
  • Include information about it on your marketing collateral.
  • 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.
  • Consider creating a special discount for new subscribers to your texting program.

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.

How Long Should My Text Be?
Try to keep your marketing texts under 160 characters. This is the maximum length that gets sent as a single text by mobile carriers.

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.

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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