So you’ve heard all about why you should be using text message marketing to connect with your customers and you’re convinced that it’s a good idea, but you aren’t sure how to get started. (If you haven’t heard all about why you should be using text message marketing check out our previous article about it). Lucky for you, we’ve laid out a few simple steps you can take to get started with a great text messaging campaign!
Choose a Keyword
You’ll need to start by reserving a keyword for people to text to join your list. The simpler the word, the better. Pick something directly related to your business or promotion that people will see once and remember. Refrain from using keywords that confuse people, just because you get it doesn't mean others will. Your main goal here should be to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to your list. You also want to avoid using any special characters in your keyword, for example, if your business name is “Mattress Savings,” don't reserve a keyword that's something like “Mattre$$” or “Savings!.” Special characters do you no good—if your customers experience frustration while trying to sign up for your text program, they might skip joining all together.
Spread the Word
As with email marketing, it’s important to get permission from consumers before sending them text messages. This not only helps you avoid any legal issues or loss of credibility, it also ensures that your texts are going to interested consumers who are most likely to take advantage of your offers. Once you’ve chosen your keyword you can start this step easily by including your short code and keyword on all of your advertising media. You can include this on circulars, direct mail pieces and in store signage, as well as your website and social media accounts. It’s also important to make sure that your store employees all know about the program and are verbally encouraging customers to join the list.
Getting your keyword in front of as many people as possible provides you with permission to text them and helps grow your list, which is key to text message marketing success. Without an audience, your marketing efforts are wasted. The more people reading your message, the better. Because your customers read almost every text that you send, there's a direct relationship between the size of your list and the number of customers who walk through your door.
Hook the Customer
When someone signs up for your list they should receive an automatic reply message that confirms their subscription, informs them how many times per month you’ll be texting them, and lets them know how to unsubscribe from your list should they ever choose to—but don’t stop there!
When someone subscribes to your text marketing list, they're allowing you to market your business to them at your leisure. Furthermore, they're letting you do so through an incredibly personal source of communication that's normally reserved for friends and family. There should be an incentive in return for them letting you into their world and that's the “hook”. An example of a "hook" might be "Show this text for 50% off your purchase of $200 or more”, or any other offer you are comfortable with. Just be sure that the offer provides value to the subscribers that they will be encouraged to use it and to continue receiving your texts.
You should also be using this hook to get your customers to join in the first place. Because it's an incentive, it should be something you communicate verbally and make apparent on any materials you have announcing your text program.
Craft the Perfect Campaign
Text (also called SMS) campaigns should be short and to the point. SMS stands for "Short Messaging System." You only get 160 characters to get your message across, plus your customers are busy. With those two things in mind, focus on cutting right to the chase. Put your coupon, promo, or other important message out there first. It doesn't need to be cluttered with other verbiage. Your customers will appreciate it. If you have leftover space in your text, then you can have some fun if that's the type of crowd you're communicating to.
Your offer should also include a direct “call to action.” A call to action is a request or instruction telling customers to do something. For example, one of the most popular is "show this text" to receive whatever offer you’re promoting. This lets your customer know what the next move is and gives them a push in the right direction.
Above all, make sure every text you send creates real value for customers. Before you send out any text marketing campaigns, ask yourself, "Does this text create value for my subscribers?" If you're hesitant or unsure, don't send the campaign because invaluable text messages become a nuisance, cause customers to unsubscribe, and could even damage your brand image.
You must also avoid sending your subscribers more text messages than what they expect. This can and will become annoying to your subscribers and encourage them to opt out. Think about how many texts per month you'd like to receive from your business and stick to that number. Don't ever go over the amount of touches per month that you've specified in your auto-reply. If you ever find yourself needing to break this rule, do so only on rare occasions ... and the offer you're sending out should be one heck of a deal.
We have found that if you follow these basic guidelines, your text campaigns should be a great success. So why not get started today? Contact a Banner Marketing rep for more great ideas to bring your text message marketing campaigns to life.