Texting is a powerful (though underutilized) marketing platform because of its high engagement rate and effectiveness in reaching those who may be less inclined to pick up the phone or check their email regularly. We want information conveniently delivered to us through our mobile phones, and nearly everyone is texting.
Short Message Service (text) marketing is a reliable way to get in front of your members, and it makes engagement quick and easy. It’s very visible and harder to ignore than email. Using a mass texting program, you can send SMS messages to a list of subscribers who have opted-in to receive your texts. This program can be used to send messages quickly to every subscriber on your messaging list and to run campaigns in which texts go out automatically.
SMS is also a good way to send reminders, information, alerts or promotions directly to the mobile phones (and by extension, hands) of all of your subscribers at once.
Text marketing software providers:
Mass texting providers such as Ez Texting, TextMarks, SimplyCast, Mozeo and Tatango use short codes and keywords as the foundation of their SMS marketing software. With one of these services, you can send and receive texts from an easy-to-remember, short code. When you send a mass text with a call to action, you also need a keyword for subscribers to use to opt-in to your campaign. You can set up different keywords to trigger texts with different information. This is an easy way for subscribers to interact with your campaign and for you to communicate your message.
Note: Naylor and Association Adviser don’t endorse any of these texting providers above.
Text marketing programs also allow you to divide your subscribers into lists or groups so that you can better target your campaigns to your subscribers’ needs. For example, you can divide your list into teams, geographic areas and more.
With most texting programs, you can control all of your campaigns from your online dashboard. You can manage settings, add more keywords, view subscriber activity and even send text messages online.
How it works:
Once you’ve decided on a service provider, the first step in creating an SMS marketing campaign is to compile a solid list of subscribers who want to receive messages from you. Remember, you must obtain permission before sending any messages. Gather text subscribers by promoting the campaign on your website and social media accounts along with a simple way to join. For example, you could have prospective subscribers text a keyword like “JOIN” to your short code to sign up.
The next step is to craft your message. Keep it brief, making sure to include only the most important details. You may also want to include a call to action that asks subscribers to text back a keyword in order to RSVP, receive a coupon or learn more.
Every text message you send should include an unsubscribe option. Your provider may set this up automatically. If not, one of the easiest ways to do this is to set up an unsubscribe keyword like “STOP” that the subscriber can text if they want to stop receiving messages from you.
What it costs:
The two main costs associated with SMS marketing are the price per text and the price of keywords. Typically the price per text will decrease the more you send. Multimedia messages that include photos or GIFs will cost more. The number of texts you can send and the number of keywords you can use will initially be determined by the plan you buy, but additional purchases of extra messages and keywords are always an option later on.
Text marketing is instantaneous, two-way communication that has the potential to revolutionize the way organizations and companies keep in touch with their members and customers. The number of SMS marketing providers out there is vast, so ask plenty of questions upfront to ensure you make the best choice for your business. As long as your campaign is well-executed, engaging and user-friendly, texting could be exactly what your integrated marketing strategy needs.
Eryn Underwood is a student at the University of Georgia studying political science and women’s studies.