Statista reported nearly 50% of the respondents used their phones for 5-6 hours daily in 2021. This means your chances of reaching out and initiating a 2-way discussion with your audience is very high through SMS. Because the same market giant specializing in consumer data collection also mentions a 75% YoY growth of SMS and texting among users.
But MMS and SMS marketing and communication are not simple games you can ace by associating with just any vendor. You need to follow a good strategy and cut across the noise of half-cooked and unproven tricks and game plans. Since we care for brands who believe in mobile marketing with SMS and MMS, today we would like to share some best practices and trends you would get benefitted in 2023 if followed well.
Best Practices for SMS Marketing to Succeed in 2023
Dos And Don’ts: The Must-Haves
- Consent Is Must
FCC, or Federal Communications Commission of the United States, mandates a brand to seek permission from its users to include their contact numbers in SMS marketing. If your users have opted in for emails and you have their contact information in your database, that doesn’t infer you’ve their approval for marketing in their SMS inbox. You need to reach out to them via your website, a digital or paper-based form, an email, or some other possible way.
Your sister concerns, partners, affiliates, vendors, and parent brands can’t market to your users unless they (or you) seek permission explicitly.
Sometimes brands offer double opt-in. It means you seek consent over an already agreed consensus for any marketing. This could be to avoid any confusion or instances when someone agrees by mistake. Also, when your user has agreed only verbally, which, of course, isn’t documented anywhere. So, a double opt-in is to cross-verify the agreement.
- Make Opt-Out A Breeze
Not giving the option to stop receiving promotional content is a sin in SMS marketing. Or any marketing lateral. If you’re asking your users to join using YES or Y, allow them to reply to all your messages in a simple N or NO to remove their names from the marketing subscribers list.
STOP is also a very popular option brands offer to their subscribers to stop promotional content. The idea is to make opting out a simple process. One where users don’t need to fill out a long form or send an email or click on several buttons explaining why they’re leaving.
Ideally, for all the texts you send to market and communicate with your users, an opt-out option should be embedded there.
Pro-tip: Start a conversation to know what you can do better when a user sends you STOP or NO, or N in a text.
Major regulation policies recognized worldwide are mentioned in this post toward the end for your awareness.
Once you’ve given your users the liberty to opt for your messages (or vice versa), personalization comes next on your priority list. Because hello, volatile attention span!
Users are distracted by constantly buzzing notifications from Facebook and Instagram. They’re keen to peek into the latest videos on YouTube and TikTok. Or busy changing their music tracks. If you want to grab their minds, you need to give them the importance and pamper them. That’s possible through personalized messages.
Who wants to be addressed like a crowd, after all?
The crucial thing with personalization is using their first name. Use the right MMS and SMS marketing and communication tools that use your CRM data correctly. Then, send them information about the location they live in. What’s the point of updating your Bay Area users about a new pizzeria outlet from Mexico?
- Identify Who You Are
SMS marketing and communication provide you with a limited space to promote and talk about your products. And after opt-out choice, links, and text content, where’s the scope to introduce yourself, you ask?
You just need to put your brand name somewhere in the text so that people can identify you. For instance –
Imagine removing “Keywords” from the text above. How can your users identify you based on a simple text? So, identifying yourself in each message helps users not to press that delete button. And you can also float at the top of their minds by sharing your brand name.
Guidelines (Not Hard and Fast but Important)
- Frequency and Time Zones
Sending your users one SMS a fortnight? Too few. Or sending them every hour? You’re going to kill your communication within a day or two. Know the right frequency of SMSes to be sent. Usually, 1-2 a week is fine for promotions. Messages based on the trigger, like cart abandonment, purchase, and shipment, are more frequent than promotional campaigns.
If you’re sending guidelines, trivia, and knowledge nuggets, keep them limited too. No one wants to be preached to all the time. When it’s helpdesk messages, however, your timing should be spot on. Be attentive and answer as quickly as possible.
Your users might stay in Australia while your brand operates from the US. Sending your users an SMS in the dead of night makes you a killjoy for their sleep. Send a message at 6 in the morning, and you will see the STOP message coming too soon. So, be aware of where your users stay. Make the best use of your CRM and customer segmentation.
The best time to send an MMS or SMS is between 8 AM and 8 PM, according to the users’ clocks. This way, you won’t be disturbing the users at odd hours.
- Short CodeSending your marketing and communication texts from a long ten-digit code? Such long numbers are easily forgettable and clumsy to handle for all the parties. Rather, get your brand a short code.
A short code is a 5-to-6-digit code number, making it easy for the subscribers to remember. Or pull from their SMS inbox when they want to communicate with you. Also, such codes are authorized by mobile carriers for marketing and communication purposes. So, your SMSes won’t land up as spam.
These numbers are useful for bulk SMS and marketing, too, as they’re faster in delivering content than a 10-digit number. For time-sensitive messages, like OPTs and in-person delivery notifications, they’re a must-have for brands that care about their customers.
- Content, Fonts, And Language
Having approvals from your subscribers for marketing and communication messages doesn’t mean misusing them. As mentioned earlier, try to test the best time in the day and week for various time zones and customer segments. Don’t bombard users with content every few hours.
Having said that, the quality of the content and the content itself are crucial. Make your texts spicy; don’t write boring or mundane texts. Offer deals but don’t overdo them. Know what your users are looking for at the moment. Have they abandoned the cart this morning? Remind them. Offer them better deals. Hurry them up with time-sensitive discounts. Inform them about any upcoming sales so that they can schedule their purchase.
SMS and MMS marketing is not a channel for delivering long texts. There can be ways, like images and infographics, to add more content to an MMS. But only if necessary. Be creative and divert users to a URL if needed. Share images or a video. Make them curious with tempting hooks.
Sometimes, plain text is better.
When your users are not just buyers but also seek development goals in lifestyle, health, personal growth, and entertainment, you can offer them occasional knowledge nuggets. This increases their trust in you.
For instance, circulate the latest news about colleges and universities if your audience is students. Share health tips and food trivia for gym goers. For people invested in personal finances, update them with ideas on wealth management.
Make every text count. Make it useful in some way so that your users look forward to reading your content rather than deleting it.Needless to say, use the right fonts. Too small means your text is unreadable. Too big shows you’re trying too hard or being loud and mouthy. You can’t be these but persuasive and interesting. Stand out with content rather than fonts. So, use fonts that are simple; plain fonts are the most legible. Avoid too many colors.
When it is an opt-out feature, add it at the end but don’t hide it in tiny text like an unsubscribe option in the emails. It can irritate the readers. Be fearless and accepting when it comes to such choices.
Sending SMSes is not easy because it’s short. In fact, short makes it more challenging. Use the 160 characters wisely because you’ve to include your identity and unsubscribe option, too. It might tempt you to use the popular texting lingo of “4 u” instead of “for you” and “b4” rather than “before”. But they don’t create a professional image with shorthand language. Nor do such words do any good to your branding.
Crisp and succinct texts should be your mantra. Exude your brand value as well when you market and communicate via texts.
Since best practices change over time based on amendments and advancements in technology and regulations, we are sharing some trends you might want to adopt.
Text Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2023
2023 promises a lot of hope for people and businesses and brings respite from the aches of the pandemic after nearly 3 long years. And that opens the floodgates of new opportunities for businesses like yours. Hence, here is a quick glance at the styles and trends that will reign the year in SMS marketing avenues.
- Personalization using Technology
Personalization is not only necessary but is also a trend you must not miss because it helps in better engagement. Not just knowing your customer journey is important to send them the right offers, but also good to know their latest location. Technology like IoT, location sensing, and GPS makes it possible. This is exceptionally beneficial for your brick-and-mortar store so that you can invite users to a physical location, which is a challenge these days.A URL shortener is a great tool to divert your consumers toward your digital territory. Embedding images, videos, and gifs work well to attract millennials and Gen-X who eat with their eyes first.
- Automation in SMS and MMS Marketing and Communication
The decade is leading us to increased automation in every field. Text marketing included.Automate your SMS-based campaigns. Know your users’ stage in the buying journey and send them apt texts. With sales automation through SMS campaigns, you take a lot of workloads off your teams. And it increases your throughput. All you need is a great tool like Textmunication with API integration for your existing marketing software to make the best of your user database.When you use automation, booking, and cancelation, reminders and rescheduling, invoicing, and payment becomes a breeze just by using SMS.
- Drip Campaigns
Keep your users engaged throughout their buying journey using a drip campaign. After you welcome a new subscriber—whether an existing customer or new buyer or a prospect—send them a welcome email with some deal to immediately hook them. Keep sending them coupons and offers in a timely manner and strengthen your relationship with your users.Loyalty and referral programs for long-term users offer great retention value. So, plan for an SMS drip campaign in your text marketing strategy for 2023 and make the best use of your investment.
- Real-time Customer Support
Helpdesk routes like calls and chatbots compel users to be available for interaction. But customer support via SMS is fast and doesn’t eat up users’ time so much. Customer support can be both one-way and two-way. Delivery status updates, transaction notifications, and reminders of any kind are one-way services.A two-way service usually is like a live chat, not through chatbot software but through texting. Since texts deliver quickly and don’t need internet support, this makes life easy for users who are on the move and need to talk to support teams.To make SMS support more effective, we suggest using simple language and persuasive yet crisp questions to encourage users to share their problems in short and easy words.
- Non-Promotional Messages
SMS is not only meant for promotional and transactional updates. You can segment your employees in your database and send them company-related and HR-based updates and news. Similarly, you can connect with your vendors for project updates, invoicing, and ongoing contracts.As we’ve discussed various necessary and good-to-have aspects of SMS marketing and communication, we thought it would be a good idea to brief you about the major regulations.
GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, deals with the personal data of customers in European countries. GDPR governs the processing of users’ personal data. Processing here means not only using it in promotions but even maintaining a database of users and the whole process of obtaining users’ data. SMS marketing and communication are no exception here.
So, if you’re dealing with users in the EU region, you’ve to be wary about any breach in GDPR rules. To comply with these strict regimes, we’re charting down very crucial aspects, which include but are not limited to:
- Collecting and processing only the data necessary for your business functions,
- And in a lawful, fair, and transparent manner;
- Securing your users’ database with the best standards;
- Informing users of their rights to access, delete, and update their data,
- And their rights to withdraw consent and lodge complaints;
- The purpose behind the data collection;
- And any third-party data sharing.
California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA, applicable to businesses targeting Californian citizens, states that the businesses collecting and using the personal data of the customers must:
- Inform the users what they collect and for which purpose;
- Seek consent for the financial incentive program,
- and offer an opt-out in an easy process;
- Disclose the users their rights to get their data deleted within 45 days of a request;
- Disclose the users their rights to get their incorrect data corrected;
- Disclose the users, the details of the third party to whom they sell or share data,
- And details of the personal information that they sell or share and its purpose;
While the above mentioned are crucial rules, they’re not the only ones you should follow when you market and communicate through SMS and MMS.
The rules under Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing, more popularly known as CAN-SPAM, protect consumers from spam messages on wireless devices. These laws govern both SMSes and emails.
However, if your use software for SMS and MMS marketing and communication, here are some vital points for you to follow and not fall inside the bracket of spammers:
- Seek users’ consent through an opt-in process and offer an easy opt-out;
- It’s inherent that the messages shouldn’t be inappropriate, harmful, offensive, or upsetting;
For you to tread well in this delicate area, maintain clear and easy to understand policies. Revise them to reflect your compliance with the latest regional and government-mandated guidelines. Your policy page should mention why and what you collect from your users under personal information. Also, if you share their data with a third party, you should mention that and its purpose.
Mention your contact information clearly for users to reach out to you so that your users can get their data verified, deleted, or amended as and when necessary.
How Textmunication Can Help with SMS Marketing
With 13+ years of experience in the marketing industry after working with varied clients from all sectors, we have been perpetually refining our product. SAM, our Smart Automated Messaging system, is one of the best SMS marketing software for user communication. Including all the basic services, we offer 25+ features to achieve your marketing targets.
The most sought-after is API integration in this marketing category. You can embed our tool, which can be customized according to your needs, with your marketing software. You can push the customer data through your CRM and segment your users properly. Use keywords and QR codes for marketing. Schedule your SMS-based campaigns, review them, and launch them with ease. Collect the stats and share them with your stakeholders.
With an uptime as close as 99.99%, our API services are top-notch and cost-effective, as attested by most clients in the health and fitness industry. You can simply plug and play the tool with the help of our simple documentation.
Know 7 good reasons why you should choose Textmunication as your text marketing partner.
Before You Strategize for SMS Marketing in 2023…
Know that trends fade in time. And best practices are proven processes until they’re superseded in time. But what stays evergreen is a smart text marketing strategy that supports ethics and follows the guidelines. So does your partner software that grows with time and upscales itself as you upscale your business.
When you shake hands with Textmunication, you get the best price and services. Allow us to help you plan your marketing approach in the coming days to reap great benefits from your investment. Contact us here to understand your pain points and needs in SMS marketing today.