In recent years, text messaging has become a major part of how we communicate. Recent surveys find that 60% of people worldwide are active texters, with over 193,000 text messages sent every second. In fact, texting is the number one most used data service in the world. So if you’re not using text messaging to market your business, now is the time to get started.
In many respects, text marketing is even better than email marketing. The latest IBM research shows that 90 percent of email marketing goes unopened and unread. Most business owners and marketing department executives have experienced this firsthand. So in order for your email campaign to work, you have to send out a lot of messages.
However, the opposite is true for text marketing in that 90 percent of text messages get read and acted on. That’s a huge response rate. But before we go any further, let’s make one thing perfectly clear: Successful email marketing strategies will not work for text messaging! So even though text marketing is the new marketing hotspot, you have to use the tool correctly.
Three Keys to Making Text Marketing Work
1. Get permission first: Text marketing isn’t like other marketing techniques you’ve used in the past, so you can’t treat it like email or print advertising. Since this is permission based marketing, the first step is to get people to agree to receive your texts. Why would anyone do that? Because you’re offering them something they value, not just a blatant ad.
For example, at the end of all my presentations, radio and television interviews, and on my print and online marketing materials, I promote the following: “Text Burrus to 99000 for a special handout and access to valuable resources on this subject.” When people do that, they immediately receive a text message from me that welcomes them and includes links to my mobile web app, handouts, and anything else of value I decide to offer that month. Since the people initiating the text are receiving something they want, they all give me permission to text them again, and they install the app I send them on their smart phone…and they use it.
2. Set positive expectations: No one wants to receive an inordinate number of text messages from any company. If you send them too many messages, they’ll quickly ask to be removed from your list. That’s why you have to tell them upfront, in the first text you send them, how many messages they’ll receive from you each year. Keep the number low! I suggest a maximum of 12 per year.
In my welcome text to people I clearly state that they will receive 0-4 messages per year from me. This may seem very low, but in my case I have several goals. The first is to have none of them opt out of future text messages from me. So far, no one has asked to be removed from my list. Why? Because the low number is a quick way of telling them I’m not going to be intrusive. Rather than send them information every day or week, disturb them, and impede on their message and data limits with their service provider, they know I’m only going to send them important information no more than 4 times per year. Essentially, I’ve removed any fears or false assumptions and have set a reasonable expectation for the texts. Second, I will only text them for major promotions of very high value to both them and me. Third, I want to train them to read and act on all of my messages. The number of texts you choose to send may be different, but remember to keep it low for best long-term results.
3. Give high-value information: Texting something that isn’t useful, even if you do it only once in a while, will only annoy your customers. So be particular about what you send out via text.
In my case, my initial message contains a link to an app, and that is where they can have immediate access to all my social media feeds, YouTube videos, newsletters, and blogs. I also provide a link where they can get a three-month trial subscription to my newsletter. It also lists all my products, which people can purchase right from the app, and it has all of my contact information at the touch of a button. Essentially, it gives them access to continuous, updated offers and useful information on an app they install on their smart phone. And because the free newsletter subscription requires their email address, I have now captured both their mobile number for text message marketing and their email address for email marketing. When I use them in an integrated marketing approach, I have superior results!
Of course, this strategy works for more than just authors, speakers, and consultants. Suppose you are an auto dealer. Instead of just offering an app via text that simply lists your locations and hours, it can be a place where customers can store all the auto service records and receive reminders for when service is due. Perhaps it can even give customers the ability to schedule appointments, watch informational video about car maintenance, and even call for emergency roadside service. The possibilities for any company are endless.
Once your organization’s app is downloaded onto your customers’ phones, you can do push marketing messages to the app and save text messaging for a few, big offers. Depending on how customers have their push notifications set up on their phones, they’ll see a notification on your app that a new announcement is waiting for them. This, combined with your periodic direct text messages, is a powerful strategy for reaching and engaging customers.
The Next Frontier of Marketing
Text marketing is a hard trend that will be increasingly more powerful as time goes on. Not only is it an effective way to reach customers, but it’s also a prime opportunity to provide useful information and resources that make you stand out as the market leader. So if you haven’t developed a text marketing strategy yet, do it now. Text marketing, when done correctly, will help you to both increase profits and jump ahead of the competition.