How to do text message marketing

Super Simple Guide on How to Do Text Message Marketing to Stay Connected with Customers

Many people think of text message marketing as old-fashioned. And for that reason, there are a lot of marketers who dismiss this technology or don’t even consider using it in the first place.

However, SMS (short message service) is very much alive and well, and it offers you a unique opportunity to reach your customers in a place they are not expecting it, creating a great sense of novelty that can result in better engagement.

In fact, there are plenty of reasons to incorporate text messages into your overall marketing strategy, such as:

  • 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of being sent.
  • More than 5 billion people worldwide can send and receive text messages.
  • In the U.S., text messaging is the favorite way of 20 to 40-year-olds to stay in touch with service providers.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the best practices of text message marketing, and how to create your first SMS marketing flow using MobileMonkey!

Here’s what’s included:

Why is text message marketing important in 2020?

Text message marketing is a massively underused marketing channel in general, and for that reason, it can be the perfect complement to your overall marketing strategy.

Take a moment to consider that everyone who owns a phone receives SMS, regardless of age.

Also, consider that SMS is also a channel where people are not expecting to receive marketing messages. Their email inboxes and Facebook news feeds light up all day with promotions, and they often don’t pay attention to marketing because of overload.

SMS, on the other hand, really does have a fresh feel to it. And when people receive an SMS, they’re extremely likely to open it and read it. In fact, SMS has the highest open rates of any commonly used marketing channel.

So, despite common misconceptions, SMS blasting is one of the biggest marketing channels available to you, and the fact that people are more open to this form of communication makes it an ideal frontier for digital marketers to increase their sales and engagement.

Text message marketing for small business – good idea or bad idea?

If you’re running a small business, then learning how to do text message marketing as well as how to create a chatbot would be extremely valuable.

In smaller businesses, relationships with customers are of vital importance, and text messages are great for that. You can use text messages to show your audience that they’re important to you, and even to make them feel like VIPs!

An example of this would be to offer exclusive early access to special deals and offers to those who are subscribed to your SMS list. This will make them feel very much ‘part of the family’ and like they have exclusive access to an insider’s club.

What are the goals of text message marketing?

Start by asking yourself what you and your business want to achieve via SMS marketing. This could be a number of things, such as:

  • Getting a better ROI than your other marketing channels.
  • Increased sales of your product or service.
  • Growing your social media presence and gaining followers.
  • Gaining a competitive advantage against your competition.

To do SMS marketing you will need text message marketing software, but keep in mind that sending bulk text messages is not free. SMS marketing, however, is often cheaper than running a healthy set of Facebook ads, but in some cases can be more expensive as well.

SMS marketing may be different than using your email capture chatbot, which is at a lot lower cost base. However, the best text message marketing tools are indeed chatbots. And when you’re sending emails you can send out as much content as you want, much of which doesn’t even have to be sales-related.

When you send a text, you’re paying a fee to get directly into their SMS inbox, which is somewhat of a sacred space for most individuals. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure that your message contains a great, high-value offer that the reader can’t resist!

How to be successful with text message marketing

When properly executed, all of the goals above are quite attainable. However, due to the potential costs of text message marketing, it’s important to:

  • Focus on delivering real value through promotions such as exclusive deals and invites. People are more strict about who’s allowed in their text message inbox than they are about who’s allowed to email them.
  • Pay close attention to your targeting and audience segmentation. You will not be texting someone more than once if you send them an irrelevant message, or if you’re unable to personalize those messages.
  • Both of the above are why finding a reliable, omnichannel platform, that ties your campaigns across multiple channels is paramount to your success.

How to do text message marketing: 3 easy methods using MobileMonkey

MobileMonkey provides a fantastic platform for fully integrated chat marketing that handles live chat, Facebook messenger bots, and SMS all in one place. We’re going to look at three easy text message marketing methods in MobileMonkey.

Method 1: Magic Keywords

sms keywords for text message marketing
Selecting a keyword

Under SMS, select keywords and choose ‘New Keyword’. This will be the word that your visitor has to send to you to trigger your text message marketing flow. 

You’ve probably seen this kind of thing in marketing materials before – ‘Text [WORD] to [NUMBER] to join our contest’ or something similar.

For the purposes of our example, let’s choose ‘CHATMARKETINGTRAIN’ as our keyword. On the right, in purple, is what our recipient is writing, and our automated responses will be on the left in gray.

‘Type STOP at any time to unsubscribe’ is a great thing to include, so that your recipient never feels spammed and knows that there is always a way out.

text message marketing services
Providing an unsubscribe option

Next, click the little plus icon and choose ‘quick question’. Let’s ask them if they have shopped with us before.

text message marketing software
Adding multiple response options

We want to offer 2 answers that they can give to this question, ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Use the ‘Add answer’ option to do that.

Then we’ll send a text response, so click the little plus icon again and choose ‘text’.

text message marketing platform
The completed text message marketing flow

That’s it! We have just created a simple text message marketing flow in MobileMonkey.

Let’s test our flow by pretending to be a subscriber. In the screenshot from Google Voice, you can see what happened after we texted ‘CHATMARKETINGTRAIN’ to our business number. The flow was triggered, and we were able to answer the question too.

SMS text message marketing
Testing the flow

Also notice how MobileMonkey automatically transposed the yes and no answers into the SMS-friendly ‘1 for yes, 2 for no’ format. Very cool!

Back in MobileMonkey, head over to ‘Leads’ and then ‘Contacts’ and you will see that we also have a new SMS contact in our database after our little test.

text message marketing platform
Checking our database for the new contact

Method 2: Customer Chat Widget

chatbots for SMS marketing
Adding a customer chat widget

MobileMonkey offers a chat widget that you can have sitting in the bottom right corner of your website. It also fully integrates with Facebook messenger.

This is an amazing feature as it allows cross-channel communication with your visitors, and you can use it to build your SMS leads.

Choose ‘Add Customer Chat Widget’ and leave everything under heading 1 as default. 

Under heading 2, you will see the StartBot, which is the first thing that will be sent to the visitor when they click the widget. Click the little plus icon, and choose ‘Opt-in’.

Here you will have the opportunity to move the visitor onto a list of their choice, and in this case, we’re going to look at SMS. Under the opt-in confirmation, you will see the message that will be sent to the recipient if they sign up.

SMS chatbot marketing
Connect on SMS

Once you’ve set this up, you’ll then see the full path that shows everything that happens afterward.

SMS marketing software
Reviewing the full SMS path

Here’s what the flow looks like for a visitor on Facebook messenger:

text message marketing
Checking out the flow as seen by visitors on Messenger

Method 3: If you already have an SMS list

You might already have an SMS list built up from a different platform, and maybe you’re wondering how to integrate that with MobileMonkey. Not a problem!

In MobileMonkey, head to ‘Leads’ and then ‘Contacts’. At the top you’ll notice you have the option to import phone numbers. This allows you to upload a CSV file with your existing numbers.

All you have to do is match the CSV columns with the relevant MobileMonkey attributes so you end up with the data organized correctly.

SMS marketing
Importing an SMS contact list

Now you’ll be able to integrate all your old SMS contacts into your new MobileMonkey marketing flows, as long as they have already given you permission to send them marketing by SMS of course!

Can you transfer your audience between channels on MobileMonkey?

The beauty of MobileMonkey is that it’s a fully integrated, combined tool. 

For example, you can use a text message to bring a visitor back to your Facebook marketing chatbot. This is a great strategy for dealing with the problem of the 24-hour rule!

The same integration principles apply to the website live chat option as well.

How frequently should you message your audience?

Just like when you’re doing chat marketing on Facebook, it’s absolutely fine to send a couple of messages at the start to welcome your new subscriber and get them settled in. In fact, they’ll be expecting interaction after they’ve just signed up!

After that period cools off, you’ll want to taper down your communications a lot.

Having said that, you should still remind them that you exist! Text them once a month or once per quarter, ideally with some kind of high-value contest or promotion.

What is the best text message length?

As you would expect, short and sweet is the best strategy when thinking about how to do text message marketing.

Generally, you should try to keep it under 100 characters, or a couple of sentences. Don’t forget that response options like ‘Reply 1 for yes, 2 for no’ will also take up space in your message.

Recipients definitely shouldn’t have to scroll to read your complete message. Save your longer messages for other channels like Facebook and email.

At what stage would a business want to use text message marketing software?

The focus should be on not being spammy and providing a high amount of value in your message, so it’s recommended to utilize text message marketing when you have a great offer ready to go.

As discussed previously, the angle of an exclusive early-access promotion is a great one to take when doing text marketing.

Another great use for text message marketing can be competitions and contests. You can do these on a monthly or quarterly basis, and your audience will definitely see the value in taking part in the contests if you are giving away valuable prizes.

What kind of audience should you put into your text message marketing software?

As with many strands of digital marketing, a segmented list can be very helpful in maximizing conversions and getting the best return for your budget.

You need to aim to direct your budget to the section of your audience that will benefit most from the value in your text messages. Make sure that you select the people who are at the right stage in the journey!

How SMS can be used in tandem with Facebook marketing

If you’re active in the chat marketing space, then you’ll definitely be aware of Facebook’s 24-hour rule. And in the case you’re not currently active, here’s a brief explanation.

Once a Facebook visitor initiates chat contact with you, you only have 24 hours to write them a message. To reset the timer, the visitor will have to write you another message first. This makes it very easy to lose otherwise great opportunities for interaction.

If you have an SMS interaction with your visitor, you’re not restricted by this 24-hour rule, so it’s an excellent channel to have open. You can even use SMS as a tool to bring your visitor back to your Facebook chat. Or better yet, use Facebook Messenger chat to get more SMS subscribers!

What kind of industries benefit most from text message marketing?

Many businesses have now found out how to do text message marketing and are reaping the benefits with the help of text message marketing software.

A great example is the real estate industry. Real estate agencies are able to send new listing alerts by direct SMS, and a lot of large deals have been closed as a result.

Also, those who have had success with chat marketing, for example, linking to Facebook messenger bots, will likely find a similar level of success in text message marketing.

Many e-commerce companies have shown great creativity in their text message marketing by finding ways to incorporate it effectively into their existing marketing flows. It has proven to be particularly useful for converting abandoned carts into sales.

Closing thoughts on how to do text message marketing

In today’s age of digital marketing, keeping good performance metrics and having an edge is key.

Common mobile marketing tactics are costing you conversions, clients, and revenue. Meanwhile, SMS marketing is just sitting there, waiting for you to capitalize on it.

Making use of text message marketing software is an excellent way to gain an edge over your competition and drastically improve the effectiveness of your outreach to customers.

If you want a new way to inject some extra life into your sales, don’t hesitate to give text messages a try. The results will surprise you!

Are you doing text message marketing? Let us know how it’s going and any questions you have in the comments.

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