SMS marketing differs from most other marketing channels in that you have to obtain each recipient’s permission before sending that first text. Consumers don’t have to sign up to see commercials during the favorite television programming nor do they have to agree to receive emails with promotional messages. But businesses can face fines and or lawsuits if they aren’t compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which includes the requirement that they obtain permission before texting. This presents a challenge to business owners or marketers because they can’t just go out and buy a list of phone numbers and start texting away. But anything worth doing is hard and businesses can be rewarded big for putting in the effort to build a sizable phone number database for an SMS campaign. The following tips will help you accomplish that.
Register a shortcode and keyword
One of the most common ways to get consumers to opt-in to receive promotional text messages is to get them to send the first text. Instead of setting up a standard cell phone number which is ten digits, you can register a shortcode which is a five- or six-digit number. This makes it more likely for consumers to send that first text because it’s easier for them to remember a five- or six-digit number than a full ten-digit one. Through a bulk SMS platform, businesses can also select a keyword that acts as a signifier that that customer wishes to opt in. So instead of a customer texting “I want to opt-in” they can text “CUPCAKES” or whatever keyword you choose that fits with what your business provides. You want to make the opt-in process as simple as possible if you want lots of people to opt-in.
Offer a good incentive
The promise of future deals isn’t always enough to get people to opt-in. They need to see an immediate benefit like a small freebie or a coupon that’s too good to pass up. An introductory offer can be a great strategy but if the initial offer is too good and future offers aren’t, you can find yourself getting a lot of opt-outs as customers feel misled about the value they were getting in return for opting in. That first offer has to incentivizing enough to get opt-ins without setting too high a standard for future deals.
Advertise your SMS campaign
Now that you have a shortcode and keyword setup for simplifying opt-ins, you need to display that information all over. If you already are doing email marketing or print mailing, display the shortcode and keyword prominently along with a call to action: “text ‘____’ to ###### to receive [your opt-in offer here].” If you have a brick and mortar location where customers come in and shop, place opt-in directions by the point-of-sale (typically the cash registers). If you have online sales, have a place for customers to place their phone number and a box they can check if they want to receive text messages. This can be paired with complimentary order status and shipping updates via text as well.
Don’t stop trying
Never stop building your phone number database. No matter how good your SMS campaign, you will get opt-outs so they minute you stop pushing for opt-ins, your database starts to shrink. You can continuously experiment with new incentives and keywords and new ways of advertising your SMS campaign to see what works.
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