What is Text Message Marketing?

If you are looking for something to cut through all the clutter that is marketing these days, then text message marketing, or SMS marketing, is your best bet. Consider this; 3.5 billion text messages are sent and received each day, 97% of all text messages are opened (83% within one hour), and people are almost literally tethered to their phones all day, every day. On top of this, SMS messages are regulated to the point where text messaging is virtually spam-free and is much more well recieved by the end user than traditional, interruptive marketing methods. In a way, text messaging has become the only way you can guarantee that your message will be seen by your customers. But before you get started with your SMS campaign, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.


Know the Rules

Recent regulatory standards have tightened the rules on text message marketing to better eliminate spam and unwanted ads through SMS, however, there are still some bottom feeders who try to cheat the system. One example is automated dialers. Automated dialers have the ability to hijack entire databases of mobile phone numbers and send out blasts of texts to these numbers randomly. DON’T HIRE A FIRM TO DO THIS FOR YOU! Not only will you annoy and drive away customers, but you will also be in big legal trouble for violating regulations and could possibly drive your company under with legal fees. You have no reason to spam your customers with texts. Know the rules so you don’t have to worry about the law interfering with your SMS marketing campaign.

Know Your Options 

You will first have to choose a service provider. The service provider you choose will depend on what exaclty it is you are trying to accomplish and how much money you are willing to spend. One of the cheaper ways to do this is hring a service provider that will automatically send text messages to anyone within the vicinity of your bricks and mortar store or restaurant. This method is very popular with neighborhood boutiques, local stores, and restaurants and costs as little as a few dollars a day.

Another option you have is to actually register for your own distinctive 5 or 6 digit short code. For example, during his Presidential campaigns, President Obama registered for the shortcode 62262, or OBAMA, so he could have free reign over the type of information he could solicit from end users. You get much more freedom with your own shortcode, but it is a bit pricier and you will have to wait for your registration to be processed and approved, which will take at least 8 weeks.

If you’re a small business looking to make a splash with text message marketing, then you will probably want to go with an off-shelf platform which allows you to share a shortcode. A shared shortcode gives you all the options that your own shortcode would give you, except that costs will be much lower and other companies will be operating on the same shortcode. You will also have the option of launching your SMS campaign by yourself, or by bringing on an ad agency that specializes in SMS, or text message marketing.


Integrate Your SMS Campaign Into Your Overall Marketing Campaign 

The most effective way to implement a text message marketing campaign is to integrate it into the marketing campaign you are already running. Jed Alpert, Founder of Mobile Commons, states, “If you’re a restaurant, you have tabletops. If you have a highly trafficked website, or are running billboards or radio spots, those are all good places to let people know about your texting campaign.”

Think about it this way, the more places that your shortcode and text messaging campaign is visible, the more people will opt into your campaign and grow your database, therefore increasing the number of sales you generate. Don’t let your SMS campaign just stand by itself, multiply its effect by integrating it with other forms of marketing!

Know How to Get People to Opt-In to Your SMS Campaign and Maintain Those Relationships

In order to be given permission to text people, you will first have to get them to opt-in to your campaign. If you text people without their consent, you are violating laws and you will quickly get caught up in legal trouble. You can get people to opt-in to your campaign a number of different ways. Keep in mind that the best way to get people to opt-in is let them know how it will be benefitting them. They won’t opt-in if they think it is just a marketing ploy. The best way to start is by giving them something or by letting them know that by opting-in they will be receiving special deals and discounts. This can be done by simply offering them something along the lines of “Opt-In to Shortcode 55555 and get a FREE hat from X company” or it could be something like “To receive great deals and discounts at X restaurant, opt-in to shortcode 55555”. Regardless of what you do, make sure you are offering the customer something, not just asking them to opt-in. That will seem spammy to them and your opt-in rates will suffer.

Text message marketing is, simply put, the most effective way to market to your audience in real-time, right where they are. It does not matter where your customers are, if they are opted-in to your SMS program, they are always accessible to you. Don’t fail to take advantage of such a powerful marketing medium simply because you think you do not have enough money or because you do not feel educated enough to launch one. The SMS ship is sailing, and if you don’t jump on, you and your company will drown.

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