So you’ve just embarked on a new SMS text marketing program – congratulations!
SMS is an exciting opportunity to reach a broad audience in a timely manner, but you’ve got to have some robust strategies in place to make it a success. That first 30 days is a critical period for setting the scene with your subscribers, as well as gathering useful feedback.
One of the first steps is to create an SMS marketing plan, outlining activities and strategies you will do as you introduce text to your subscribers. Your plan might extend out beyond 30 days, but within that first critical time period, here are some key things we suggest you do:
Focus on growing your subscriber list
It’s important to have a list growth strategy so that you can improve your reach via SMS. You need to consider how you’re going to encourage more people to opt-in for text messaging and the channels through which you’ll push sign-ups.
A list growth strategy should have consider these factors:
Know your ideal customer
Exactly who is it that you want to sign up for text marketing messages? It’s important to have a clear profile of what that ideal customer looks like so you can better understand how you might attract them. Create a profile that includes demographic information, the goals and challenges of the person, what motivates or interests them, and anything else that is relevant.
Know how you’ll entice them to sign up
What will your “carrot” be to encourage your ideal customers to sign up for text marketing messages? Consider what motivates them and how you can deliver value via text. Marketers often think of things like discount offers first, but that’s not always what motivates people. For example, some are motivated by an exclusivity element (“first look” or “exclusive offers”), while others just want to stay “in the know.”
Consider how you’ll promote sign-ups
Which channels will you use to encourage sign-ups to your text list? You may have options both online and offline, especially if you have a physical storefront. Have signup forms or pages on your website as well as signs promoting signing up to your text list in-store. If you have a strong social presence, you might consider those channels too. No matter where you choose, always be where the customers are.
In this early phase, you may even want to consider a special promotion to encourage list growth. For example, maybe for a limited time you make a special offer for those who sign up to your list. Adding the time-bound element can encourage more people to take action sooner.
Reach out to current email subscribers
Reaching out to your current email list to offer them the chance to sign up for text messaging can be a quick win for list growth. The best part is that this is one of your most cost-effective marketing channels, as long as you have a good strategy for getting your emails opened and read!
Customize your welcome message flow
Once you have people signing up, it’s important to acknowledge them and start to deliver upon whatever you promised in return for sign-up. A welcome message flow is a series of emails that are automatically sent to people who sign up for text messages.
Some text content is legally required. For example, you need to share a disclaimer that messaging or data rates may apply, and information about how to get help or opt out of text messages. You might include something like “confirm your subscription by replying “yes” to this message.”
Customize your welcome message flow so that it speaks to your ideal customer. You should aim to answer common questions (such as how to get help). Here’s an example:
- Message 1: Include a description of what text subscribers are signing up for and how often they can expect to receive a message. Give the disclaimer about messaging or data rates, and explain how they can opt out. Some organizations request that subscribers respond “yes” to confirm their subscription, but it’s not a requirement to do so, as long as those opt-out instructions are included.
- Message 2: Welcome subscribers to your text messaging program. Include any offer you used as the lead magnet to get people signing up. For example, coupon codes or a discount offer.
- Message 3: This might be a reminder to use their offer if they haven’t yet done so. Otherwise, have a clear call to action, prompting the subscriber to do something that you’d like them to.
Set up any key integrations
With any sort of marketing program, you should aim to streamline tasks as much as possible. You’ve probably got different programs you use, like CRM solutions (such as HubSpot), an ecommerce platform (such as Shopify), an email solution (such as Mailchimp) or even an abandoned cart email software (such as Rejoiner or CartStack).
Setting up integrations with the key tools that you already use will help you to automate tasks and streamline workflows. For example, when you integrate Shopify with TextRetailer for text marketing, it means orders coming in via text will be fulfilled from your Shopify system – the same as any website order. This helps you to not only streamline fulfillment, but have an accurate picture for inventory management. Inventory can become tricky if you use different systems that don’t “talk.”
Similarly, integrating with your current CRM solution means you have better insight into individual customers and can personalize your communications with them. For example, it would be a bit weird if a customer purchased something via text, then you sent an email from a separate system two days later asking them to buy the same thing. It would be clear to the customer that you don’t keep track of the relationship.
Send out your first SMS campaign
You should aim to engage any early subscribers as soon as possible. The goal is to set the scene and start out how you aim to continue, fulfilling the expectations of subscribers.
What should your first SMS campaign consist of? That very much depends upon your goals for using text as a marketing medium. For example, if you want people to shop by text, then get started with your first “reply to buy” campaign within the first week or so.
Your SMS campaign should drive a desired action from your subscribers, even if the immediate goal isn’t to make a purchase. Some examples include:
- Sign up for your loyalty program.
- Drive awareness with subscriber-exclusive content or perks.
- Promote new product launches.
- Entice people to browse your sale on your website.
- Drive sign-ups for an event (e.g. a webinar).
- Promote special offers.
Whatever your first SMS campaign consists of, you should start by looking from the perspective of the subscriber. What would they consider to be of value? What did they expect when they signed up? It’s time to start delivering on any promises made.
Monitor your results
Start monitoring and measuring your results from the very beginning. This will help to inform and refine your text marketing strategy over time. For example, some key questions that reporting can answer include:
- Which method drives the most text sign-ups?
- Which messaging gets better results?
- Are certain segments more profitable?
- Do you see different results with different message timing?
- Which products sell successfully via text?
- What feedback are you getting from subscribers?
Launching a new SMS text marketing program is an exciting opportunity to reach a wide audience directly on a device that they’re always carrying. To be successful, have a defined text marketing plan for that first 30 days and beyond.
The activities outlined here are the basic steps to get positive momentum behind your SMS program. Like any marketing initiative, consistency tends to pay off – keep moving forward, promoting sign-ups and sending out regular texts.
Need a great text marketing platform that will allow your customers to shop by text and more? Check out TextRetailer here.