How to Nail Your Text Marketing Strategy

This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

You’ve been in business long enough to know the importance of an omnichannel marketing approach. You understand that your choice of messaging medium can make all the difference as you try to target your customers as they navigate their daily lives. We’ve discussed email marketing and engaging your customers via social media. But here we look at a different, and potentially highly effective, way to make your message heard. Join us as we discuss the art and science of text marketing and how to build a bulletproof SMS campaign.

What is text marketing?

Text marketing, also known as text message marketing or short message service (SMS) marketing, is an opt-in channel that connects you to your target audience via precision-engineered marketing text messages.

Even in the age of the smartphone, text messaging has a sense of intimacy and immediacy that allows for more personal, effective and trackable communications.

Text messages can be used to:

  • Provide customers with a personalised discount code

  • Confirm an appointment or booking

  • Send delivery updates

  • Notify customers of a sale or event

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Is text marketing effective?

Text marketing certainly can be effective, when companies carefully plan their strategy and approach their marketing efforts with the customer in mind.

Consumers are used to receiving marketing messages from different sources. Text messaging, however, is typically reserved for friends and family so it’s a great idea to occupy multiple marketing channels to gain cut-through. Text message marketing can be effective in forging personal relationships between consumers and brands. Of course, in order to be effective, text marketing content needs to feel personal, relevant, useful and consensual.

In the post-GDPR climate, ambitious SMEs may wonder whether SMS marketing is legally viable in the UK. The short answer is yes – with caveats. Most of the legality surrounding text marketing falls under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

In order to send marketing texts to consumers legally, businesses must:

  • Get consent (e.g. opt-ins for a promotional code)

  • Provide customers with a means to opt-out (e.g. text “STOP”)

  • Only send within allowed hours (9 am-8 pm)

  • Clearly identify the brand

  • Openly share your privacy policy and terms of service

Suppose a customer provides their telephone number but does not opt in to marketing texts. In that case, you may send transactional data (e.g. notification of shipping/delivery, or text receipts) but cannot send any marketing messages.

Examples of text campaigns

The sense of immediacy that comes with SMS text marketing makes it well-suited to the following types of campaigns:

Benefits of text marketing

You already have a robust marketing strategy, encompassing various media. Is adding an SMS marketing strategy right for your business?

Text message marketing can offer very impressive returns with relatively low expenditure and effort. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of text messaging:

High open rates

Text messages generally have high open rates. According to data from TextAnywhere, UK open rates are very high at 96.7%.

And higher open rates mean more opportunities for customer engagement, meaning more opportunities to strengthen customer relationships and generate revenue.

Quick and easy

Text messages are quick and easy to compose. There is no or lesser need for the inclusion of images, nor to craft long-form copy. You can be short, succinct and present a brief description of the offering followed by a call to action.

Can help to build customer relationships

By sharing space with customers’ friends, colleagues and family members in their text message inboxes, brands can create a more direct and informal relationship with customers.

How to craft the perfect SMS marketing strategy

The benefits of text message marketing for small businesses and large, are only as effective as the strategy behind it. Here are some tips to craft the perfect strategy for your SMS text marketing.

Find a legitimate way to gather phone numbers

First of all, you need to incentivise customers to opt-in to receive marketing texts from your company. Remember, you have a legal obligation to be open and transparent about sending marketing materials.

Any form of contact with customers and prospects can feature an opt-in for marketing texts from order confirmations to remarketing ad content. Once you’ve gathered enough phone numbers from willing recipients, it’s time to start thinking about your first text campaign.

Establish clear and quantifiable goals

As with any marketing campaign, it’s important to establish clear objectives and KPIs. Are you trying to raise brand awareness? Win back lapsed customers? Convert dormant leads? Build revenue? Whatever your goals, you need to establish clear KPIs and timeframes.

Target your campaign

The more targeted your SMS campaign, the more likely it is to resonate with your audience. Re-familiarise yourself with your buyer personas and decide how these will influence not only the offering but the language and tone of your text messages.

Write your text copy

There is an art to writing effective text message marketing copy. The trick is to be short, clear and succinct while also being transparent about the offering and the recipient’s right to opt-out. The text should have the tone of a casual conversation between friends. Nobody wants a hard sell in their inbox.

Schedule for optimal impact

The last thing you want is for your text messages to be a nuisance. When your prospects receive their text messages can substantially impact how they are perceived. As well as ensuring that your marketing texts are sent within the legally permitted time window of 9 am-8 pm, you should consider what time your audience will be most receptive to your message such as during their lunch break or after their commute from work.

Leverage reporting

SMS marketing platforms typically offer robust reporting so that you can look at how your text marketing is performing in real-time. You may want to experiment with different scheduling or different variations of SMS copy and measure their impact on conversion rates.

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