How exactly can you take advantage of this amazing opportunity? Here are a few easy steps.
1. If you’re not doing so already, start collecting the cell phone numbers of customers, prospects, and friends. Use this list when you set up an account with a text messaging service. Alternatively, work with your text messaging service to build your list (see #2 below) by getting people to text a keyword to the company’s short code (a 5 or 6 digit number that receives text messages). When a person sends your keyword, their phone number is added to your database, so you can message them in the future.
2. Either instead of, or in addition to the above, create a campaign to build your list. Select a giveaway or come up with an offer that is simple, attractive, and free. Advertise on printed materials, your website, your social media profiles, paid ads, and in any other media available, describing your offer. People then can text your keyword to your service provider’s short code, and subsequently receive your offer. (You can elect to have your own short code, though the process takes many weeks and costs thousands.)
3. An important protocol of SMS is not to send too many messages. You want your recipients to be excited about what you’re sending. If you text them several times a week, they will soon tune you out. So plan your summer campaign carefully. After a few weeks of your special free offer, you might send a message to your accumulated list asking for their opinion, or their vote on something. Again, you are respecting them and even providing a little fun. This cultivation of relationships is key. Once you’ve won them over, it will become appropriate to send them personalized reminders (“It’s time for an oil change,” or “Spaghetti dinners are 2 for 1 tonight, and we know you love our pasta!”)
4. At a carefully planned time, send to your list an offer – a sale, discount, special item, new item, coupon, or other promotion. There are three parts to your 160-character message: the offer, its benefits for the buyer, and your call to action. (Certain disclaimers are also necessary on a text message – this article has a good explanation of these.)
5. Be sure to send texts thanking people who opt in or purchase. The best use of text messaging is to employ it as a way to stay in touch with people on an ongoing basis. Emphasize human relationship factors in SMS. (If you want the quick sell, use broadcast marketing.) Think of ways you might use text messages to make existing customers feel extra special.
Wishing you fun and great success with your text message marketing!