Text Messaging Featured Article
Text Messaging Marketing - You're Doing it Wrong
Text messaging and marketing are two things that make sense – in the right context. More than 98 percent of text messages are opened and 83 percent are read within three minutes of receiving them. Futhermore, 92 percent of U.S smartphone owners use SMS messaging, offering a pretty big audience and engagement opportunity. Unfortunately, looking at text messaging as an opportunity for advertising isn’t the most effective use of text messaging and marketing. What most companies are missing is the opportunity to use text messaging as an inbound marketing tool; to extend your contact center services and improve the customer experience.
First and foremost, there are regulation issues when it comes to text messaging marketing campaigns. Starting Oct. 16, the FCC’s consent rules for mobile marketers go into effect. These rules mean that you need written opt-in consent from customers if you’re going to be sending them marketing messages. (These rules also apply to marketing calls by prohibiting communication using automated systems, artificial callers or prerecorded voices unless the consumer gives prior express consent.)
Once customers opt in, there’s really no issue with sending them marketing messages – they signed up for them, after all. Organizations need to be cautious with how many text messages they are sending, though, because as soon as they turn from “once in a while for a promotion” to everyday things, you will soon be seeing unsubscribe requests. The reason text messaging open and read rates are so high is because it is an important medium for customers – don’t be the organization that invades that.
The real opportunity for companies withtext messaging is extending the avenues for customers to communicate with companies. Text-enabling your landline phone number means customers can reach out in a way that is convenient for them, and it helps build a strong connection between businesses and customers.
Image via Shutterstock
David Vaughn from TSG Global explains that the No. 1 way organizations get text messaging as a marketing tactic wrong is treating it as an advertising platform. Text messaging should be viewed as an inbound marketing tool that various brands can use to engage with customers on a different level. Think about how you text with friends – conversations are usually in a casual tone and don’t contain really urgent messages (those usually go straight to voice calls). Organizations should treat text messaging with customers the same way. Make it personal, build a connection.
Vaughn uses a realtor as an example of using text messaging to build strong relationships with customers: “Being in customers’ contact lists on their mobile device is one of the most important places you can be,” he said.
It is part of a realtor’s job to get to know clients to provide them with the best opportunities based on what they are looking for. Think about how the house hunting experience can be enhanced if a realtor can quickly send a message, “Just saw a perfect house on Main Street! Want to check it out at 2 p.m. tomorrow?” or vice versa, “Just saw a perfect house in our target school district! Can we plan to tour it next week?”
The context and consistency of your messages are just as important as the content you are sending. If you’re constantly sending advertising and spam-like messages, chances are customers will grow numb to seeing your name in their inbox and unlikely read your message, or they will simply opt out of receiving content from you. Think of text messaging as a conversational tool that can offer value to customers.
Using text messaging to send a message also means you are using a time-sensitive, real-time medium to communicate. This can be a benefit for your organization if you use that capability to your advantage, such as sending alerts, information or offers that customers can act on right away.
TSG Global works with TextGen to text-enable the same phone numbers used for voice. Working with a company like TextGen allows companies to use text messaging as an extension of their contact centers – they can interact with customers, opt for a script for agents and pull and analyze data from these interactions. Learn more at www.tsgglobal.com.
Edited by Blaise McNamee