Professional Text Messaging Tips
by The Young Entrepreneur Council
With the overwhelming number of communication channels available to businesses, figuring out the best way to reach clients can be tricky. While you want to make sure your customers get the message, you also don’t want to annoy them with too much contact.
So as more and more companies begin to reach out using text, we asked Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
“For those of you who use text messaging to reach clients/customers, what is one best practice you can share with others?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say about professional text messaging;
1. Keep Them Short
“Text messaging is effective, but only if it’s brief. No one likes having to read a text message that’s more than a sentence or two.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
2. Offer Another Level of Service
“Since we ship physical products, we use text messaging to alert customers about when their order is shipped and when it’s gone out for delivery. Since some automated emails hit the spam folder, this ensures customers know their order is coming and we can get them to proactively read our shipping and receiving policies. It’s a great way to ensure a high level of service and interaction.” ~ Gary Nealon, The Rox Group
3. Focus on Building a Relationship First
“I would first focus on being loyal to your clients and building a great relationship with them. Texting is fine, but I would never send an unsolicited text message.” ~ Dan Price, Gravity Payments
4. Be Personal
“We’ve found text message marketing works best when the texts are customized and personal. This may not be possible if your customer list is huge, but we saw a greater ROI from sending personalized messages to a small segment of our customers vs. a blanket message to all of them.” ~ Josh Weiss, Bluegala
5. Limit Frequency and Ensure Quality Content
“People like using messaging to engage with their preferred brands and products. But if you pass a certain threshold where the user perceives they are receiving too many messages, then it can become an annoyance rather than an asset. Also, if you are going to grab someone’s attention on the most valuable real estate available — the phone in their pocket — it has to be high-quality content.” ~ Ty Morse, Songwhale
6. Don’t Reply With One Word
“Give the person a good reply if they are texting with you. I work with people for whom texting is the only way to communicate. Never send one-word texts!” ~ John Rampton, Adogy
7. Provide Relevant Content
“We are all very connected to our phones and text messages are a much more personal form of communication than email, so it’s extremely important that the content is targeted and relevant. Target users you’ve already established a relationship with and tailor content accordingly.” ~ Erica Bell, Hukkster
8. Set Boundaries
“Communicating through text with clients is a two-way street, so it’s important that you set boundaries from the start. If you don’t, you can risk becoming overwhelmed by texts during your personal time as well as missing or losing vital correspondence. Additionally, it’s important for the client that you don’t do the same, upsetting them in the process.” ~ Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr + consulting
9. Offer Short Answer Options
“At InList, we know many of our clients do not want to be interrupted with a call. In certain cases we will text the member first, and we’ve found that people prefer short answers. We won’t ask detailed questions through SMS. We’ll ask questions that have simple answers of one to three words to ensure a faster reply. If we need detailed information, we will text and ask for a good time to call.” ~ Gideon Kimbrell, InList
10. Impart Value
“We text message daily health tips to our users and make sure we are providing value. With power comes responsibility and because they opted in with us, we would not betray that trust by spamming. We also note the high response rates on text message surveys to ensure that we align our content to what they expected after sign-up. Text messaging is powerful because it has high instant readership.” ~ Shradha Agarwal, ContextMedia
11. Ensure They Opt In
“Customers may provide you with their cell number at one point, but that doesn’t grant you the right to text them. There have actually been plenty of lawsuits resulting from text message advertising without permission. Always make sure the people you are texting opt in first.” ~ Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
This article was originally published in Small Business Trends
Best Practices, Mobile Marketing, Mobile personalization, SMS Marketing
In a world dominated by mobile strategy, few things are as sacred as CTIA compliance on your text message campaigns. The compliance laws are often updated and if your text marketing provider isn’t keeping up your company can end up with heavy fines.
CTIA Compliance Strategy Disaster
The mobile marketing world made national headlines on November 13th when a US District Court Judge certified a nation wide class action suit against the Papa Johns pizza chain for SMS spam marketing. The lawsuit alleges that Papa Johns used its existing customer database (numbers that were kept on file for pizza delivery) to send over 500,000 spam text messages. The law firm representing the plaintiffs is asking for $500 per message which tallies up to $250 million dollars.
How did this marketing campaign lead to such a disastrous end? The short answer is that their mobile marketing partner wasn’t CTIA compliant and broke the following cardinal rules of SMS marketing.
Users must opt in to your program for you to legally send them SMS messages.
You cannot buy a number list from another company. You also cannot convert a customer database that was generated for other purposes into your SMS marketing. This was the case for Papa Johns. Just because you have access to customers numbers doesn’t mean that you can legally use them.
Users must be given the chance to stop receiving messages at any time.
A CTIA compliant SMS message will always give you the option to reply STOP to end all messages. Anything less is an invasion of your mobile phone and privacy. In the case of Papa Johns the customer never opted in to a program and had no option to opt out of receiving these offers.
Keep message frequency to a minimum and never text between the hours of 8pm and 8am.
The frequency in which you can text your opted in customers varies by the short code. For something as simple as sending marketing ads to customers best practices are about 1 to 3 messages per month. Its also illegal to send SMS marketing messages between the hours of 8pm and 8am in most states. In the case of Papa Johns their customers were receiving multiple messages per day, sometimes even several in the middle of the night.
SMS is still the best and most cost effective way to interact with your customers to build revenue and customer loyalty. Just make sure your SMS provider is CTIA compliant or your company could end up with a huge lawsuit or heavy fines.
Best Practices, compliance, MMA
There is no doubt that mobile strategy has grown at a rapid pace and become a proven method for engaging consumers, thereby increasing sales for many companies. However, only “49% of companies have a strategy for integrating mobile into broader marketing activity” according to Econsultancy. This means that more than half of companies have not yet figured out how to incorporate the fast growing market of mobile into their marketing campaigns.
Finding the right mobile partner to trust with your mobile marketing can be easy if you ask these questions:
1. What solutions does this company provide?
Find a company that can run SMS marketing campaigns, mobile website design, mobile applications and connect out to other platforms including social media. Give consumers the choice of what channel they want to connect to you through.
2. Are they providing technology, strategy or both?
Mobile technology can get complicated and you want to make the most of it, so make sure the company owns the technology platform and helps you with the strategy around how to best use it.
3. Does the company understand mobile best practices?
Following CTIA and MMA guidelines in crucial for SMS marketing. You want to work with a company who is absolutely clear on how to follow these laws.
4. What do their analytics look like?
You need to see measurable results for each campaign in full detail. The ability to tailor your message based upon the reports in real-time will be essential.
5. Can the company deliver outside of the United States?
Unless you are a small business, having international reach is important. Sending SMS (text marketing) from short codes in other countries will make a big difference in your strategy.
Agencies, Best Practices, MMA, Mobile Solutions, Mobile Strategy, Partnerships
I’ve been thinking about mobile marketing and whether it is doing enough to engage consumers lately. Running mobile ads or creating a mobile website are effective parts of your overall mobile marketing campaign, and the goal should always be thinking about what you would like your customer to do next. How do you engage consumers through these mobile marketing tactics?
Getting the customer to click on the ad or visit your mobile website opens up an opportunity for you to have ongoing contact with that prospect. The more often you engage with the customer, the more likely he or she is to buy from you at some point.
One of the best practices for mobile engagement that you can use in your mobile engagement marketing efforts is to capture your customers’ contact information (with their permission, of course). Once you have this information, you can follow up from the initial contact with a mobile coupon or a special offer. For maximum effectiveness, you will want to make sure that you offer some type of reward to the customer immediately after receiving his or her contact information.
After the initial reward, make a point of contacting the customers on your list at regular intervals with information and offers that they will find informative and relevant. Contacting customers on their mobile device is a very effective way to boost revenue, since the message reaches buyers on the go, and they can make an immediate decision about whether to place an order or visit your brick and mortar location right away.
Best Practices, Customer Engagement, mobile advertising, Mobile Marketing, Mobile Websites
is an important part of any communication strategy, yet many marketers are faced with the dilemma of how to build a mobile database.
There are many ways to build your mobile database, which is likely to become the most valuable piece of customer data marketing and operations teams will possess. Studies show approximately 234 million Americans own a mobile phone
, and 91% of those claim to have their phones with them 24/7, which gives companies a unique opportunity to literally be in the hands of their customers at all times.
Build Your Mobile Database
Companies can build their mobile database through a number of channels and tactics. However, these four methods are most effective because they offer customers value, a key reason to opt-in to a mobile campaign.
1. Add your short code and keywords to all print materials and website. Short codes are 5 to 6 digit numbers, such as 70626, that a customer texts to opt-in to your mobile marketing program. Marketers select a keyword, such as PIZZA or REDSKINS, to opt-into a specific offer. In order to create an effective mobile campaign, marketers should choose campaign relevant keywords that are memorable for the consumers.
2. Offer an incentive to opt-in to your mobile campaign. Mobile numbers are the most valuable piece of customer data today, largely because of the intimate nature of a mobile phone. Most consumers always have their phones with them, and many carry the same mobile number for years, regardless of their geographic location. Offering a free sample,loyalty club signup, or other mobile exclusive offers adds value for the consumers and will drive your mobile database numbers higher.
3. Share promotion on social channels. The line between social and mobile are blurring, and one of the fastest way to drive customers to a mobile campaign is to make it available through social channels. Another way to add value through social channels is to offer exclusive rewards for social sharing of the campaign.
4. Follow Mobile Marketing Best Practices. By following mobile best practices, companies gain trust and build loyalty with their customers. A complete list of mobile best practices and compliance can be found through the Mobile Marketing Association and CTIA Wireless. In addition, executing a mobile campaign with a trustworthy mobile agency will ensure every campaign adheres to these standards.
These are just a few of the many ways to build a quality mobile database. Maintaining the database and building value over time are of equal importance in a long term mobile strategy, but it all must start with a solid mobile database. By doing this, mobile is likely to become the most valuable channel within your communication strategy.
Agencies, Best Practices, compliance, MMA, mobile CRM, Partnerships
When I think about best practices for mobile engagement
, the word “relationships” comes to mind. This form of mobile marketing allows companies to reach out to customers and connect with them directly to their handheld devices. To me, this implies a more personal relationship than putting an advertising message on a billboard or handing out brochures.
Instead, the text message is one that is more personal in nature. Mobile engagement marketing and other cell phone marketing messages can be sent to targeted groups with offers and other information that they will find interesting. Used properly, this mobile marketing strategy
has the potential to increase sales and foster customer loyalty.
Like any good relationship, mobile engagement marketing needs to develop over time to work out well for both parties involved. The business will need to conduct itself in a respectful manner if it wants to keep the customer engaged.
Sending out text message advertising at a rate of one or two per month is a great way to keep the company name firmly focused in the customer’s mind while ensuring that the customer doesn’t feel bombarded with SMS text marketing
messages. I think that another important factor to keep in mind when sending out mobile marketing messages is that the customer should be receiving offers that are not only relevant, but also limited to a certain amount of time. Having a clear call to action in your mobile engagement platform is an important part of getting the recipient of the text message to visit the business or place an order.
Best Practices, SMS Marketing
Mobile marketing is becoming increasingly popular among brands, and businesses must adopt best practices in order to reach customers with meaningful mobile messaging. The best practices for mobile engagement
focus on people, instead of processes that keep track of transactions and various types of records. It involves a lot more than simply making a screen available to buyers and calling it a mobile app; instead, the hallmark of this type of technology is that it involves two-way interaction between the customer and the business systems and is one of the best methods of mobile engagement.
Mobile marketing is increasingly focused on the customer’s location, and this makes for an immediate, relevant interaction with the buyer from where they are at a set time. This type of system allows a business to anticipate, and then meet, its customer’s needs in a much more efficient manner.
In a sense, I can see that this type of mobile marketing was developed from the idea of placing impulse items near a cash register at a retail store. The retailer is trying to interest the buyer in adding on something to his or her order, and having that person make an in-the-moment decision. Mobile marketing works the same way, since businesses can present offers and suggest alternative or add-on products by sending messages to the buyer’s smart phone or tablet at just the right moment. This trend is likely to continue, since the number of smartphone users in the US and worldwide continues to rise.
Best Practices, SMS Marketing