by Jason Hall, CEO of My Local WiFi
When you think of text messaging, you probably don’t think of advertising. But, many marketers have figured out that sending ads via text is wildly effective. Here’s why, and how to get started doing it in your own business.
Text Messaging Is Very Intimate.
Text messaging is very intimate. It always has been. A personal message from one person to another is also hard to ignore. What makes text messages so personal? It’s the fact that you’re connecting with someone else directly instead of via an ad on a website.
When you send someone a text, you’re getting a direct line to a communication device that few other people have access to.
Texts are also not ignored. Unlike email, where the sender can put you in the spam folder, text messages always get read, which is why bulk text messaging is one of the best ways to communicate directly with your customers. Less than 5 percent of marketing emails are ever opened. Even fewer are read. Contrast this to texts 97 percent of them are read.
Text message marketing gets a 14.06 percent clickthrough rate, meaning that people actually read these things and respond to them. It also has an 8.22 percent conversion rate, so people are buying from ads they get on their phone. Email, on the other hand, only has a 6.64 percent CTR and a 1.73 percent conversion rate. Display ads are even worse.
Texts are also an immediate form of communication. While people do check their emails several times a day, people read their texts almost immediately. Most texts are read within 3 minutes of being received. 98 percent of texts are read within the hour, and 99 percent of texts are read eventually.
You just can’t get that kind of open rate with email.
Texts are often sent to involved and engaged audiences. When you use a service like My Local WiFi, you’re able to hit people up after they’ve visited your store at least once. They’re more likely to be engaged with you as a marketer and buy whatever you’re selling.
A recent 2009 study backs up this idea. Opus Research found that opt-in SMS marketing resulted in more targeted promotions and more effective marketing in general. Forrester analyst Nate Elliot found something similar in his research, noting that users don’t view text messages as marketing. Instead, they see it as content or some kind of service, so they’re more responsive to it.
Make Sure You Use Calls To Action.
The important thing to remember with texts is that they’re meant to be short. Don’t drone on and on about something.
With that brevity comes another challenge: you need people to take action on whatever you’re offering, and fast. This is why a good call to action is necessary in every text. It doesn’t have to be a straight up sales pitch either. You could direct people to your website so that they can read your latest blog post.
You could hit people up when you’re having a customer appreciation day. You could send people a text message when you have bite-sized practical information that helps them out right now with something you know they’re struggling with.
Keep Your Texts Short.
Keeping texts under 140 characters follows the “Twitter rule” of short messages that get to the point. Anything longer than that and you’ll start losing people – especially busy people that have last-generation phones with smaller screens.
Avoid Repeating Ads.
Don’t repeat ads or, at least, don’t repeat them often. For example, try not to send the same text message over and over every day or week.
Send a different message each time. This shouldn’t be too hard if you’re offering actual value to the prospect rather than trying to constantly pitch them something. By switching things up, you also reduce the risk that people drop you (opt out).
Clean Your Database Frequently.
Text messages can get to be expensive to send, so spend time cleaning your list, deleting numbers that can be reached. If you’ve tried sending a text to a number three times and it doesn’t go through, drop it. It’s probably a dead number, temporary alias, or a fake that someone used.
Make It Simple To Opt Out.
Some people find text message ads annoying, so make sure it’s easy for people to opt out. You are reaching them directly so it can also be too much for some folks. A simple message like “text STOP to stop receiving ads” is all you need.
This also helps you clean your list so that only people who want to receive your ads get them.
Jason Hall is a leading authority on local marketing for small to medium-sized businesses representing many industries throughout the US and foreign countries. He is CEO of My Local WiFi, My Local SEOs, and on the executive board of four other IT companies. Jason brings a unique personality and perspective for identifying challenges, creating solutions and driving revenue online.