It’s 3 a.m. One minute you’re sleeping peacefully. The next minute, you hear your phone’s text message alert. Being curious, and a little anxious, you rollover and check your text messages.
Instead of a text message from a family member or friend, however, you find a marketing message from a local business telling you about their holiday promotions.
I think many of us have experienced a situation similar to the one described above – where a SMS marketing message comes at exactly the wrong time. Or worse … one that doesn’t take our interests into account at all.
For customers, text messages like this are annoying. For business owners, incorrect SMS marketing practices (like the one’s noted above) are probably doing your business more harm than good.
Sending the Wrong Message Is Costly
Text messaging, known as SMS marketing, is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to reach an audience. Consider that text messages have a whopping 98% read rate and the vast majority of those messages are opened within 3 minutes of receipt. Text messaging is still the largest mobile marketing channel by revenue, according to eMarketer.
Did you know? Text messaging is still the largest mobile marketing channel by revenue, according to eMarketer.
It’s precisely these advantages that makes mobile marketing (i.e., text messaging in particular) so dangerous when done incorrectly. Because SMS marketing is opened so quickly, it’s easy to bother customers with the frequency, content, or timing of your messaging. They may unsubscribe (thereby depriving you of the chance to make valuable contact with them in the future), and, if they’re sufficiently annoyed, may stop frequenting your business altogether
Not only can the wrong messaging cost you customers, it can actually get you on the wrong side of the law. If you aren’t careful, you may rack up hefty fines.
Laws governing text message marketing vary by country. In the United States, customers must explicitly opt-in to receive messages (e.g., you can’t use an existing phone list without getting permission). Additionally, you must be very clear about how many messages you plan to send and what those messages will consist of (i.e., sales, coupons, announcements, etc.). You must also give customers a way to stop getting messages, if they so desire.
If you need a refresher on how to do text messaging the legal way, I recommend reading up on it.
Steps For (Not) Annoying Customers
Take the following steps to make sure you get SMS marketing right, the first time.
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