"What is Churn?" and other SMS Marketing FAQs, Answered

For any business owner trying to effectively serve their clients in 2018, digital marketing channels and mobile technology can seem daunting if you aren’t sure where to begin. As an SMS marketing platform, we understand the informational barriers of entry that prevent these owners from getting involved and taking their retention to new levels. Even simple questions like “what is churn?” can be difficult to answer unless you know where to look.

In the interest of helping bring more owners and marketers into the future and help them reduce churn for their own business, we have put together a list of FAQs or frequently asked questions about SMS. Our hope is that with these questions out of the way, you can begin to focus your energy on using these tools to improve your customer journey instead of trying to understand how to use them. Without further ado, let’s look at the first question.

what is churn

1. What is churn?

The first FAQ that we often receive is “What is churn?” Customer churn is when, for a variety of different reasons, a customer stops using your services and buying your products. Although this is a natural part of the business process, many companies are seeing higher churn rates as consumers today have more options and companies are seeing an increase in competition.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to reduce churn, which is the basis of most customer retention and SMS marketing plans. In the case of text marketing, delivering your customers personalized content that adds value to their experience directly to their phones is the best way to show your customers that you care. If you can consistently do this, you can lower your churn rate and provide better customer engagement for your audience.

For more, check out these 6 powerful strategies for battling churn.  

2. What’s the difference between MMS and SMS marketing?

Another common Q we received along with “What is Churn?” is “What is the difference between MMS and SMS marketing? First, let’s break down MMS, which means Multimedia Messaging Service and SMS, which means Short Messaging Service. While SMS is limited to 160 characters, MMS has no character limit and can include a subject line as well as attached media like images and videos.

However, when it comes to the marketing purposes of MMS vs. SMS, they are often similar, with MMS simply allowing for more customization. That being said, now that big names like Apple are seeing the use cases of marketing through messaging, we may see a revitalization of MMS as it is used to enhance the user experience.

For more, check out this article “What is MMS?”

3. Why is an opt-in required for SMS marketing?

Moving on to slightly more in-depth SMS questions that we receive, often business owners are curious as to why an opt-in is required when launching a text marketing campaign. Simply put, it’s the law, however there are other reasons why you should seek an opt-in from your audience. By asking your customers to confirm that they want to receive messages from you, they are showing you that they are interest in customer engagement.

If you’re wondering why this is so important, consider that loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 7x as likely to try a new offering, and 4x as likely to refer. Although asking for that initial opt-in may seem like a risk, the rewards that come from a dedicated customer base are more than worth it.

For further reading, you may be interested in SMS Best Practices for Optimal Results.

4. Is text marketing as effective as everyone says?

When business owners first hear about mass text marketing, they often believe that it is too good to be true. We can’t blame them. Statistics like SMS’s 98% open rate do sound like they are unrealistic, but as a platform that helps small businesses with SMS, we can confirm that the rumors are true. SMS is far and away the most effective mobile marketing solution out there and brands that aren’t taking advantage of it are missing out.

Want to improve customer retention? See how SMS can help.

5. How can I track conversions with SMS?

As we continue looking at more questions like “What is churn?” and the intricacies of SMS marketing, you may already have a good understanding of these things and be more interested in improving your campaign. “How can I track conversions?” and the following three questions should help you out in this regard.

Now, we can’t speak for all text marketing platforms, but Gleantap allows business owners and marketers to track their conversion rates for every message they send. Along with this, we provide you with various tools like marketing automation and touchpoints to optimize conversion rates for you campaign. If you are working with an SMS platform that doesn’t provide these basic insights, we recommend finding one that does.

For more, check out the Holy Grail of Conversion Rate Optimization.

6. Does SMS marketing allow for one-on-one messaging?

Another FAQ that we receive stems from a common misunderstanding about how SMS marketing works, which asks if SMS allows one-on-one messaging. The simple answer to this question is yes, it does. However, to further clarify, SMS marketing is more than bulk SMS messages sent to your audience.

Mass text marketing campaigns can be customized and personalized down to one-on-one interactions if you find that is the best way to reach your customers. Others will simply use customer segmentation to reach different groups of customers. The most important thing is that you are meeting your customers where they are and providing value to their experience. If you can do this, the rest will fall into place.

7. What is marketing automation?

If you have been trying to get involved in digital marketing over the last few years, you may have heard the term ‘marketing automation’ and wondered what it means. Marketing automation is the process of automating various marketing activities for a more efficient and improved customer experience. Due to the nature of most marketing activities in 2018, you can automate most of a customer’s journey.

For instance, with SMS, marketers can use SMS keywords like STOP, HELP, and INFO with automatic responses to help their customers understand their business processes. Similar to chatbots, these responses can be written in advance and help with everything from support to purchase decisions. In order to keep up with the fast-paced digital world we live in, marketing automation will only continue to be a powerful tactic for many companies in the future.

See why Marketing Automation should be part of your 2018 strategy.

8. How can I improve my campaign?

Finally, the last FAQ we will look at is “How can I improve my campaign?” Although this is fairly open-ended and there is a large amount of tools and tactics that can be used, we will simply recommend that you check out our free eBook with 30 different techniques. Hopefully, this will help you go from “what is churn?” to never having to worry about your churn rate again. With this, we wish you happy hunting and best luck on your own SMS marketing campaign!


open rate

5 Strategies to Improve the Open Rate of Email and SMS Campaigns

For any organization hoping to get involved with customer retention marketing, there are a few different tools that you will need to familiarize yourself with. Two tools that can be incredible powerful when it comes to reducing churn are email and SMS marketing. However, according to Mailchimp, with low open rate statistics and an oversaturation of digital marketing channels, creating a powerful campaign can be difficult.

This is why we have put together 5 strategies designed to help you improve the open rate of both email and SMS campaigns. Although open rates are historically high for SMS, these tactics can still be used to improve both of these tools for greater success. On top of that, when combined, they are far more potent than when they are done separately. Let’s begin by taking a look at the state of email and SMS in 2018.

The state of email and SMS in 2018

The first thing that you should know about both email and SMS is that they have been around for a while, both for personal and professional use. This familiarity can be huge when it comes to reach customers, as they already understand the platform and how to communicate. In fact, the 98% open rate of SMS often comes from users always being near their phones. Whereas, the ubiquitous nature of email has led to a steady decline of open rate stats over time.

Now, in 2018, with a variety of new and innovative communication platforms, most customers still prefer the tried and true methods of email and SMS. That being said, customers are also much more interested in receiving a good customer experience when they are interacting with a company. This is why best practices must be put into place in order to get the most out of these tools.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at these 5 strategies to help you increase the open rate of your messages and better serve your audience.

1. Boring subject lines

Yep, that’s right. Our first strategy is going to sound ludicrous, but according to a report based on over 200 million emails, Mailchimp discovered that boring, straight-to-the-point email subject lines are actually better than showy or flashy alternatives. In order for customers to want to click through to read your email (and hopefully convert), they need to know what they are going to be reading.

A good best practice here is to state the title of the article you are sharing or pretend you are writing a title if the email doesn’t include a link. Something that informs users without telling the whole story is the balance you will be looking for.

SMS subject lines

You might be thinking, “Wait, SMS doesn’t have subject lines,” which is accurate. However, with more smartphones on the market than ever before, MMS or Multimedia Messaging is becoming more popular and allows for marketers to include a subject line. Although this may not be necessary for every message, there will be times where an extra flair will go a long way, in which case MMS is recommended.

2. 80/20

The next strategy for optimizing your open rate and getting the most out of your campaign is known as the rule of 80/20. Under this rule, you want to dedicate about 80% or 4 out of 5 messages to being insightful and helpful to your customers, while only actually selling the other 20% of the time. Along with providing a better experience to your customers, it will also make your emails and SMS messages with sales content more powerful.

Now, even though you won’t be selling with each message, another way to increase open rate and conversion rate is by including a call-to-action with each SMS or email. Especially with the immediacy of text marketing, having a clear next step for customers to take will make them look forward to your messaging and help your open rate.

3. Optimize, optimize, optimize

As you start to build out your campaigns, you will start to see areas that can be improved along the way. Our advice is to optimize everywhere you can along the way, whether it is optimizing emails for mobile devices or maximizing your SMS, making these subtle changes will only further improve your open rate.

Although this doesn’t seem that revolutionary of a strategy, as customers begin to become familiar with marketing automation and other techniques for increase customer engagement they will want a better experience. Automating and optimizing wherever possible in the process will help you continuously improve your performance.

4. Understand the delivery method

We mentioned earlier that both SMS and email work best, both in regards to the power of the campaign and open rate, when working together. However, there will be times when you will need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both avenues along with which is best used to meet your goals.

For example, there are plenty of occasions where an SMS message should be used, due to the speed and ease of use. That being said, the same efficiency can work against you in other scenarios with less timely info, in which case an email will be more appropriate. As you plan out your campaigns, make sure you understand the delivery methods you will be using and that they are the best option for what you hope to accomplish.

5. Track, tweak, repeat.

The last strategy for improving the open rate of your email and SMS campaigns is to track everything, tweak what needs fixing, and do it all over again. Again, this may seem simple, and we recommend doing this with all of your marketing, but it will greatly improve the performance of your campaign if you are always performing maintenance and making sure you are putting your best foot forward.

In the case of email and SMS, this looks like changing subject lines, trying new formats and keywords, as well as asking your audience for feedback on how you can improve. Each time you approach the campaign, you should be considering how it will improve your customer’s experience and do whatever you can to help it. As long as you keep this in mind, you will have nothing to worry about in regard to retention or open rates!


Upgrading your Bulk SMS Messaging Campaign in 6 Painless Steps

As the amount of digital marketing channels continues to expand, mobile marketers are trying their best to upgrade their campaigns to ensure an optimized experience at every turn. One way they are doing this is through bulk SMS messaging, an increasingly popular and powerful tool for customer engagement. In fact, according to a recent report, bulk SMS engagement rates are 6-8 times higher than email marketing.

That being said, it’s one thing to set up a bulk SMS campaign, it’s something else entirely to upgrade your campaign and take your customer engagement to an even higher level. With this article, we hope to help you achieve this ascension with 6 painless steps for upgrading your SMS marketing campaign. Once you complete these steps, you will be well on your way to a better process and a more satisfied customer base. Let’s get started.

bulk sms

Bulk SMS Best Practices

Before we get into the actual steps you will need to take to upgrade your campaign, let’s look at a few bulk SMS best practices. Each of these practices should be employed throughout the entirety of your campaign and are what will separate a good campaign from a great one. These best practices include:

Create a sense of urgency: Bulk SMS messages are almost instantaneous, with over 95% of customers receiving them within 2 minutes. Make sure that your messages match this sense of urgency as much as possible.

Find the right frequency: When it comes to mass text marketing, timing is everything. Try your best to keep timing in mind while making decisions about how best to approach your audience.

Provide value at every turn: Due to the intimate nature of SMS, you should always be providing value to your customers. Before each bulk SMS message, think to yourself “Does this provide immediate value to the customer?” If it doesn’t, it’s not worth sending.

As we now take a look at these 6 steps you will need to take to upgrade your campaign, remember each of these best practices. If nothing else, they will put you on the right track and frame of mind for creating an exceptional customer experience.

How to improve your campaign

Now that you have those best practices in mind, let’s take a look at how best to improve your campaign. As with any sound customer retention marketing plan, each of these steps works best in combination with the others, so keep this in mind as we review them. Without further ado, let’s start with step one.

1. Track everything

The first step in improving your bulk SMS campaign is to track everything you do from day one. Typically, analyzing data is seen as something that comes later, but unless you set up the proper mechanisms for capturing user engagement metrics from the beginning you may get to the end of your first campaign and realize the data you need is missing. Instead, set up adequate feedback tools from the start so you can always be tweaking and upgrading your campaign.

2. Plan out the customer journey

The next part of setting up your campaign is to plan out the customer journey. Depending on the marketing automation capabilities of your bulk SMS platform, you should be able to set up just about everything at the beginning in regards to touchpoints and scheduled messaging. Use SMS short codes to allow customers to trigger different optional campaigns and plan out your automated responses to make sure you are ready for everything.  

You may notice that these first 2 steps don’t even involve sending out a bulk SMS message, and for good reason. The planning stage of the campaign needs to address these issues in order to have a more successful campaign. By setting up a flow for your customers will follow as well as metrics to capture their journey, you will continuously improve your performance and the engagement levels of your campaign.

3. Include a call to action, always

Speaking of customer engagement levels, let’s talk about the actual messages of your campaign. Our third step is to include a call to action in every single bulk SMS message you send. Although this might seem excessive, it goes back to our best practices, specifically to provide value at every point. Unless your message can include a clear call to action with a next step customers can take, it probably could work just as well as an email.  

4. Segment your audience

Next up on our list of steps: customer segmentation. While you may be able to have one target audience when you first start off your SMS campaign, once you reach a certain level of subscribers you will need to start dividing them into groups. For instance, if you are a fitness club, you wouldn’t want to send the same message to someone who just joined as someone that hasn’t been to the gym in a few weeks.

By segmenting your audience, you are able to send tailored messages that can truly resonate and provide value to your audience. The better that you can reach them with the right messaging in the right place at the right time, the less you will need to worry about customer churn and satisfaction.

5. Be concise

Along with the high-speed nature of SMS messaging, it is also very concise and you would do well to remember this. First of all, bulk SMS messages are limited to only 160 characters, so you need to stay within this character limit to avoid splitting the message in two.

Additionally, we mentioning thinking about timing earlier, and your customers don’t want to receive a ton of text. They want concise, simple updates and calls-to-action, so do your best to provide this for them.

6. Make your intentions clear

Finally, the last step in our painless 6-step guide is make your intentions clear to your audience throughout the process. Customers now care more about their experience engaging with a company than they do the actual products or services provided, so maintaining an open and honest dialogue is key to showing them you care.

This also refers to opt-in best practices, since this is not only a good practice to have in place, but it is actually required by law. Make sure that you are submitting to the correct rules and regulations while always offering subscribers a way out should they need one. By being open about your intentions, how often they will be receiving messages, and how they can opt-in and out of your messages, they will actually be more inclined to engage with you and your brand.

Final thoughts

As we mentioned at the beginning, the best way to approach improving your bulk SMS campaign is by walking through each of these steps and then using them in collaboration with each other and SMS best practices. Now that you have the tools that you need, now comes the time to put them into place. So what are you waiting for? Upgrade your own SMS campaign today!


Short Message Service Marketing: The Key to Customer Retention

In the digital world that we now find ourselves in, mobile marketing channels are sprouting up all around us. With close to 5 billion mobile users globally, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but to the savvy marketer it should be seen as an opportunity. Some have tried to establish themselves in these new channels, but many are finding success with the tried and true approach of using short message service (or SMS) marketing.

When you consider the fact that, on average, mobile users spend around 87 hours per month on their mobile devices, you can begin to understand this shift. Along with that, reports claim that over 95% of text messages are read within 2 minutes, leading to sky-high mobile engagement levels.

With this article, we hope to state our case for using short message service marketing to increase customer retention. Additionally, we will review some best practices for meeting your customers where they are and how to better serve them in the long run. Let’s take a look.

SMS and customer retention

As we have mentioned previously, customers have far more competition both in terms of price and offerings in today’s market than ever before. For this reason, customer retention and engagement is becoming a valuable strategy for many businesses to not only drive new customers coming in, but keep them around for the long haul. Short message service marketing is a key aspect of this.

When you consider that 64% of consumers are more likely to perceive a company positively when they are contacted through text message marketing, you begin to see the power of SMS. On top of that, if you are able to provide helpful information and tailored content, SMS marketing can help you establish relationships with your customers that are strong enough to survive even when a new competitor enters the market.

The power of SMS

This is the power of SMS on display and unless you are using texting as part of your mobile strategy, you could very well be missing out. According to Mobilexco, response rates from SMS are 209% higher than from phone calls, text, or Facebook. Imagine the kind of engagement you can have with your customers when you utilize these marketing tools to the best of your abilities.

However, it is one thing to highlight these statistics, it is another to put a plan into place. Next, we are going to review some best practices when conducting short message service marketing. Through this, we hope to aid you in establishing yourself with your SMS campaign and better serve your customers, leading to reduced churn rate and increased engagement.

Short message service marketing best practices

In today’s day and age, consumers are more concerned with having a great customer experience than products or services. Short message service marketing is one of the most powerful ways to deliver this experience, but in order for it to truly be memorable, there are a few best practices you need to put in place. What follows are some staples of a great SMS campaign:

Offer a value proposition

Right off the bat, when you get the SMS opt-in from your customers, you need to establish that your texting campaign will offer value to them. There are a few ways in which you can do this, but the important part is that from the first message they receive they know exactly what to expect from your program.

Some do this by presenting an offer or discount just for signing up with their program. Others include exactly how many messages they should expect to receive as well as a way to manage how often you are reached. Again, this will often depend on the type of customers you are targeting, but being straightforward, upfront, and honest will always go a long way to showing how valuable your short message service marketing campaign will be to your audience.

Automate your messaging

As AI and machine learning technologies become more advanced, marketing automation will become a powerful force in customer engagement. In fact, marketers using short message service campaigns can already automate their messaging to a certain extent in order to provide better interactions with their customers.

Similar to how chatbots go off a set flow and script, you can automate certain messages and have your audience use SMS keywords like HELP, INFO, or MORE to engage in a conversation that can be automated well in advance. This sort of automation not only provides a better experience for your customers, but it saves you time as well. Just make sure to continue updating these messages in order to stay relevant with your messaging.

Run support through SMS

Another area where marketers have seen success with automation is when running support through SMS. Due to the almost instantaneous nature of SMS, support queries can be answered and resolved in a matter of minutes. Even Facebook understands the relevance of a quick turnaround with messaging, now offering a direct conversation with brands about customer service issues.

This kind of mobile user engagement shows your audience that you are there to help them at every turn. Although you don’t want to be oppressive with your marketing efforts, finding the balance of always being within arm’s reach of your customers allows you to serve them better. Then, when they need something, they know you are always there to help, positioning you exactly where you want to be.

Test content and timing

With any mobile marketing campaign, you need to have adequate facilities in place for both measurement and the ability to test out new procedures. For instance, finding the right timing for your messages might take some time, but it will be well worth it. Make sure that your short message service marketing has these practices in place in order to continuously improve your campaign.

Even if you think that you have found the best way to do things, we urge you to not become complacent. When this happens, customers will slowly drift away unless you are careful. Make it a focus to analyze user engagement metrics and run regular tests to make sure your campaign is fully optimized at every step in the process.

Customer retention and you

As you begin your short message service marketing, we urge you to take these best practices to heart and understand how powerful customer retention truly can be. In today’s market, businesses and customers no longer have time to set on their thumbs. You have to take action and make an effort to stay relevant.

Our final word to you is to start now. Whether you have tried SMS before or not doesn’t matter, but now is a unique time when it comes to mobile marketing. We recommend taking advantage of this position and using the tools you have available to create an exceptional experience for your customers.


How To Increase Opt-ins And Properly Promote SMS Marketing Campaign

For any company that wants to get involved in SMS marketing, there are a few different questions that quickly come to mind. For example, “Where do I start?” “Who should I be texting?” “What should I be sending?” Each of these questions needs to be taken on in order to get your SMS campaign off the ground. However, the most important question you should be asking is actually “How do I increase opt-ins?”

Since getting users to opt in to an SMS campaign is often the most difficult part of the process, we have put together a guide on how to promote and increase opt-ins. While we have looked at text opt-in best practices before, in this article we will focus less on the messages themselves, and more on how to promote your campaign outside of your current customer base. With that said, let’s get started.

Create an opt-in web form

The first step for any campaign is to create an online form of some kind that users can submit in order to join your text marketing list. Since text messages are heavily regulated and consent must be received before any messaging can be sent, web forms are one of the easiest ways to increase opt-ins right off the bat. You can even use Odoo’s approach in the below example and simply have your customers fill out this short form to begin their campaign.

That being said, even if users are the first to sign up online, you should still confirm that they are consenting to opt-in. This is what is known as the double-opt-in approach and it ensures that you are getting off on the right foot and avoiding breaking any rules covered under the TCPA.

Begin with email contact list

Once you have created a web form, one of the fastest ways to increase opt-ins next is to let your email contact list know about your SMS campaign. This list is typically your largest reach for existing customers and by letting them know about your new SMS channel, you can establish a solid foundation for your SMS campaign.

However, not all of your email contacts will want to join your SMS campaign. This is why sometimes you will need to include an incentive to help make taking that next step even easier. Above, we see that Home Depot entices their current customers to join the SMS list with a $5 coupon, helping them to increase their text marketing audience while offering their members value straight from the start. 

Include full legal terms on all advertising

Now that you have reached out to your current customer base, now comes the time to start promoting your SMS campaign across other channels. While you are doing this, we recommend that you include the full legal terms of your campaign right within the advertising. Look at the bottom of this ad to see what we mean.

By including not only the standard “Msg & data rates may apply,” but how often you should expect to receive text messages, you are able to set the proper expectations for your customers. If they know that they will only be getting less than 4 messages per month, you are eliminating questions that might hold them back. This will also save both of you time as you won’t need to send the entire terms of service every single time someone signs up, just the standard opt-in message.

Integrate SMS across all channels

So far, we have mainly talked about how to increase opt-ins through better calls to action and targeted campaigns. However, another best practice for increasing opt-ins is to integrate SMS across all channels. By making SMS a focal point of your mobile marketing campaign, you will make it harder for customers to go without SMS messages.

For instance, you can start sending thank you messages via text blast along with email. Once customers start to use the much more efficient texting system compared to email, they will see the value in your campaign and be far more interested in remaining subscribed.

Run banner ads

In the same way that your email contact list can be a good starting point for increasing opt-ins, running banner ads on your social profiles with a clear call-to-action is another way to capitalize on your current marketing efforts. Since most social users are on their mobile devices in the first place, this can be a breakthrough when trying to increase opt-ins.

You can even look at user engagement metrics to find the best way of targeting users from other channels like social. This can give you a better idea of how your customers operate and how you might better reach them with future messaging.

Place SMS info on product packaging

The final way to increase opt-ins through outside advertising that we will look at is by including a call-to-action right on your product’s packaging. So far, not many businesses have been doing this, so not only is it a good way to reach customers right after purchase, but it will make your campaign stand out from others. Simple tricks like this can make your SMS campaign that much more

Make your texts valuable

Now, as we mentioned at the beginning, most of this blog post has been about increasing opt-ins through traditional advertising means. This is important especially at the beginning, however, there will come a time where you will need to focus less on the SMS opt-in and more on retaining subscribers. The best way to do this is to make your texts valuable to your consumers.

Whether you are running support, sending out offers and coupons, or simply using SMS to guide your customers through their journey, each message you send needs to provide value to your audience. In fact, the best way to increase opt-ins after your initial launch is by making your texts so valuable that customers will wonder what they are missing. If you can consistently deliver the value that they are already looking for, you will have customers for life.


text opt in best practices

8 Text Opt in Best Practices (With Examples)

In the world of SMS marketing, nailing the opt-in is critical for establishing your place in the lives of your audience. Unless you have a well thought-out plan for approaching the opt-in and making sure your customers stay engaged with the program, atrophy will work against you and could offset the progress you have made. However, by using text opt in best practices, you won’t have to worry about that happening.

Through this article, we will guide you through text opt in best practices for creating an optimal campaign as well as the guidelines and laws put in place by the TCPA and CTIA. Please note that these are best practices and should not be taken as legal advice. Make sure to consult with your attorney about the right opt-in practices for your business. Considering that mass text marketing’s historical open rates are 3x that of email and 30x better than push notifications, optimizing your campaign should be at the top of your priority list. Let’s get started.

TCPA Text Opt in Guidelines

The baseline for best practices of any text marketing campaign is to follow the rules put out under the TCPA or Telephone Consumer Protection Act. These laws were put in place to protect consumers from receiving spam and its part of the reason why SMS marketing is as effective as it is here in the U.S. and Europe.

TCPA guidelines stipulate that you must

  • Receive consent before any message can be sent.
  • Mention your company name
  • Give the coupon or value proposition
  • Mention the frequency of messages that will be sent monthly
  • Disclose possible carrier costs and fees
  • Give an option to ask for help and opt out of future texts

The first rule here is the most important. You are legally required to receive consent before any messages can be sent. This is why the opt in is not only vital to success, but mandatory and legally required. Use the opt in to get their consent and then focus on the rest so that you don’t lose them.

Before starting any text marketing campaign or even begin thinking about text opt in best practices, make sure that you are compliant with these guidelines. Companies that forgo these guidelines can face fines anywhere from $500-$1500 per text message, so this is definitely something you don’t want to mess around with.

1. Follow the rules

In the spirit of Fight Club, our first two rules are the same: follow the rules. However, this should tell you how serious this is, not just to us, but the federal government. When someone asks to join your text marketing campaign, you will send them the SMS opt in message. This is fairly standard, but to give you an example, it will look something like this:

Please reply YES to receive updates from Example Company. Std. msg&data rates apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.

Right away, you are establishing consent by having them reply YES while getting the legal talk out of the way and providing them with further options. This is a fairly standard message, so there isn’t a lot of creativity that goes into. However, you can start to define the campaign for them in this message and state your intentions.

Start your own SMS campaign!

Double Opt In

The double opt in, meaning someone asks to join your campaign and then you reconfirm with the first message, is the best way to stay within the rules and establish a professional relationship with your audience.

Again, since the opt in is a legally required aspect of your SMS marketing campaign, it bears repeating. In fact, some businesses include a double opt in even if their members already give their consent through a web form. This not only covers you from legal repercussions, but it’s a simple best practice that is absolutely worth the time.

2. Be clear about your intentions

Have you ever signed up for a newsletter, expecting a message every couple of weeks and instead began receiving one almost every day? Annoying, right? The same thing can happen with text marketing unless you are upfront about your intentions. This text opt in best practice is a simply tweak, but it can be a life saver.

Let’s take a look at that first text we sent again. This is actually an opportunity for you to establish with your audience the frequency of your messages. For example:

Please reply YES to receive updates from Example Company. Std. msg&data rates apply. Approx 5 msg/month. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.

Right from the get-go, you tell them to expect 5 messages per month. How you space these out is another text opt in best practice we will review shortly, but establishing this from the opt in will help retain subscribers

3. Offer an incentive right off the bat

Once you go through the process of receiving consent for an opt in, there are a few text opt in best practices for sticking the landing. One best practice is to offer an incentive right off the bat. Think of it as a way of saying thank you. For instance, if someone replies YES to your campaign, you can send them a message like this:

Thank you for subscribing to Example Company’s Text Reminders! Use offer code SAVINGS for 20% off your next purchase.

Right away you are cementing the relationship and showing the value of the text marketing program. Now, customers will not only be more receptive to your messaging, but they might even look forward to it.

4. Choose the right short code

So far, these text opt in best practices have mainly focused on what happens after a customer finds out about your text campaign and tries to join. On the opposite side of that, short codes can be used to entice users to your campaign with an easy to remember, 5-6 digit phone number. While some companies try to go the old-school route of having their number spell something, most just choose an easily remember combination.

Like Redbox, who has a call to action that simply reads:

Text SIGNUP to 727272.

Not a very difficult number to remember, right? Just like with UX design in software development, the easier you make the process, the more people are likely to follow through until the end.

5. K-I-S-S

This brings us to our next text opt in best practice known as K-I-S-S, or Keep It Short and Simple. Consumers value SMS marketing due to the fact that it is often quick and painless. When you start to blow up their inbox with lengthy messages is when you will begin to lose them. Especially now when MMS is available and links can be included in the message.

For instance, instead of writing something like:

Example Company: Hey there! Did you know that you can save 20% this weekend when you shop in our stores? Don’t forget to mention our texting campaign at the register!

You could follow the K-I-S-S rule and write something like this:

Example Company: Save 20% off this weekend! Show them this message or go to Example.com/offer for more details.

As you can see, this conveys the same point, but in a much simpler fashion that will likely lead to higher conversions.

6. Use keywords that compliment your brand

Although it may not make sense to try and create a short code that spells something out, text marketing keywords are another story. These keywords are what customers will use to reply to you and trigger automated responses. For instance, STOP and HELP are included in almost every text marketing campaign. However, you can create branded keywords that make things easy for your customers. For example:

Text WORKOUT to 55555 for more information on gym membership.

Since the keyword is in line with the information you hope to receive, your audience will have an easier time getting started. This is just one example, but some text opt in best practices here that you should follow include keeping it less than roughly 7-8 letters and making sure it isn’t close to another keyword you are already using. This will make sure your audience doesn’t become confused or frustrated.

7. Measure everything

Another text opt in best practice that almost goes without saying in our data driven market is to measure everything. Although you may be able to set up most of your texting campaign when you first get started, creating an exceptional process takes time and maintenance throughout. By measuring your results, you can perform A/B testing and hone your craft.

For instance, this text message:

Example Company: Thanks for subscribing! Find more info at Example.com

Might perform better than this message:

Example Company: Thank you for subscribing! Be sure to check out our website for more info.

Even though they are almost the same. Without the right tools for measuring this, you wouldn’t ever know. Make sure that whichever text marketing software you are using allows you to track user engagement metrics. These will be invaluable to you and your business moving forward.

8. Always provide a way out

Our final text opt in best practice actually has to do with opting out. Under the TCPA, subscribers must always have an easy way out. You can even see this in the first example message we went over.

Please reply YES to receive updates from Example Company. Std. msg&data rates apply. Approx 5 msg/month. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.

That part at the end, “STOP to cancel,” is important. Even your most dedicated subscribers like to know that they have a way out if they need it. Make sure you include this in regular messages so that your subscribers don’t feel as if you are trying to work one over on them.

Final thoughts

As you can see, while text marketing may seem to be a simply process from the outside, there is a lot of thought and time that goes into creating an exceptional campaign. Each of these text opt in best practices should be used in combination with each other in order to maximize your chances and truly create an exceptional customer experience.


Top 4 Brands That Are Harnessing the Power of SMS Marketing Strategies

In today’s market, brands both big and small can no longer afford to ignore the latest digital marketing trends that arise. At the same time, finding the best timing for getting involved in these methods is also an important aspect of rounding out your digital strategy. With so many options to choose from, brands with limited budgets have to choose which routes to take and which marketing strategies to focus on.

For many large brands, SMS marketing strategies have become a tried and true method for increasing customer engagement and brand awareness. In fact, some of the largest brands in the country have now decided to get involved in the world of SMS. This article will cover 5 big brands that are harnessing the power of SMS marketing strategies, as well as a few words on what we can learn from their success.

Now that we find ourselves in a world with almost limitless choices, these decisions have never been more important in defining the success of you as well as your clients. By taking what we can learn from the big players already in the space, you can better tailor your own campaign. Let’s get started.

The power of SMS marketing strategies

The first thing you should understand about SMS and the various marketing strategies that come with it are that they are among the most powerful in the digital space. When 98% of text messages are ready within 2 minutes, large brands understand that SMS is the best way to reach a large portion of their market almost instantaneously.

Having this power at your fingertips can be wonderful for these companies, but as Spiderman is known to say, “with great power comes great responsibility.” This is why one of the best SMS marketing strategies these brands employ is the use of customer segmentation. Segmentation allows companies to deliver tailored, personalized messaging to specific groups of customers based on logic and relevancy.

Instead of simply attempting to lump all of your customers into one group, segmenting and personalization ensure that you get the most out of your program without alienating anyone. Simple tools and tricks like this used by big brands can make a difference for small companies as well, it’s simply a matter of knowing which marketing strategies to use.

Brands taking advantage of SMS

Speaking of marketing strategies, next we are going to look at 4 brands taking advantage of SMS and leading the mobile marketing revolution. Some will seem obvious, while others might surprise you, but each of them has seen the potential of SMS. We hope that once you see these examples of how text marketing is affecting our current economic landscape, you will too.

1. Subway

The first brand that has ventured in the SMS marketing space and see exceptional success is Subway, the notorious sandwich chain. Beginning their SMS campaign back in December of 2015, Subway now has over 5 million subscribers with an 85% retention rate. Due to the fact that subscribers have to ‘opt-in’ to receive messages, they are more likely to stay with the program. That being said, 85% is still an impressive number.

However, with a company as large as Subway, these stats aren’t too surprising or impressive on their own. That is, until you look at their average return from SMS customers. On average, 26% return more often, 13% spend more when they do, and 15% make more purchases than before being in the SMS program. Not only are these customers more engaged, but they have a clear impact on the success of Subway and their bottom line.  

2. Jack in the Box

Moving on to another household brand, Jack in the Box has been using text marketing strategies for a few years now as a way of distancing themselves from a reliance on email. Due to the nature of fast food restaurants, SMS makes sense when it comes to increasing repeat purchases and engagement. Turns out Jack in the Box was right, seeing SMS redemption rates for coupons and deals at 3-5x that of email marketing.

The struggle of finding the right channel for getting your messaging across is all too real for many small businesses. This shows that it may not be your messaging that is at fault, but the channel itself. If you operate on a similar business of repeat purchases such as a fitness club or retail shop, this sort of engagement platform might be the answer to your problems.

3. Nordstrom

In their attempt to enter the digital landscape, Nordstrom has taken things a few steps further than others by acquiring two retail technology companies, BevyUp and MessageYes. Each of these acquisition shows Nordstrom’s dedication to a seamless customer experience, part of most marketing strategies entering the zeitgeist of today’s digital economy.

However, both of these companies are being used to improve other aspects of the customer experience, such as SMS marketing. For instance, MessageYes helps to provide machine learning for businesses to make smart decisions on not only how to target customers, but when and where.

That being said, you don’t have to make an acquisition of this scale to have access to this kind of technology, when Gleantap offers the same thing to our text message marketing clients. It will be interesting to see how this investment pays off for Nordstrom, but shaping the customer experience from start to finish is a good place to start.

4. Facebook

It’s not just obvious brands such as Subway that are making a splash with SMS, but big names like Facebook as well. Although they have their own dedicated messaging platform, even the social media giant can’t ignore the power of SMS for helping businesses to succeed. This is why they have announced that they are seeking to help small businesses establish digital marketing strategies using SMS and Facebook messenger.

Although it is still early in the process, this sort of expansion has the potential to be a double-edged sword for Facebook. On one hand, they may be simply adding to the noise by adding another digital marketing channel. On the other hand, Facebook messenger has the potential to reach currently untapped markets. All we know is that if someone as big as Facebook is trying to break into the SMS marketing game, we must be doing something right.

Final thought: Taco Bell example

As we see more and more large brands enter the SMS marketing realm and introduce their own marketing strategies into the conversation, it can seem as if the market might soon become oversaturated by big players, leaving no room for smaller businesses. In response to that, I offer you the Taco Bell example.

Every year, Taco Bell saves millions on market research by simply letting McDonalds do the work for them. Instead of spending the money surveying the area and conducting reports to find the best location for a new Taco Bell, they simply wait until McDonalds opens a new store and then they open one across the street.

In this scenario, you are Taco Bell and these big brands are McDonalds. As these brands invest in SMS, it will only continue to grow in popularity and potency. Save yourself the time and money by following their lead and investing in SMS now to gain an advantage for your business. After all, there is only so many street corners to set up on.


How to Choose Text Marketing Keywords for Your Next Campaign

In the world where SMS and mobile marketing have become vital to the success of small businesses, optimizing those campaigns has become critical. Due to the speed in which these messages are delivered, mistakes are no longer tolerated and getting it right the first time is more important than ever. One area that marketers can use to optimize these customer exchanges is with text marketing keywords.

SMS marketing keywords can help better define the customer journey and allow for businesses to truly make a difference with their mass text marketing campaigns. In this blog post, we will review the purpose of text marketing keywords as well as best practices for choosing the keywords for your next campaign. With these tools under your belt you will be able to better engage your audience and improve their overall experience. Let’s take a look.  

text marketing keywords

What are text marketing keywords?

Text marketing keywords, sometimes referred to as SMS short codes, are relevant terms or phrases that can be used by SMS marketers to engage in 2-way conversations with their customers. For example, “Text HELP to 55555 for more information.” This sort of message has a clear call-to-action and an easy path for customers to follow, leading to increased engagement.

These keywords have been used for quite some time by SMS marketers, but only in recent years has their full potential been revealed. When text marketing keywords are used correctly, they can be plotted out through the entire customer journey to optimize every step along the way. By doing this, your customers will come to know and trust your brand when they receive these tailored SMS messages.

Why do we use them?

Now that you understand the ‘what’ of text marketing keywords, let’s talk about the ‘why.’ In short, text marketing keywords are a very simple way for small to medium sized businesses to get involved in marketing automation. Since full business automation is typically only reserved for large companies with more capital, SMS marketing is an effective and inexpensive option to help them get started.

However, there is more to it than just that. Text marketing keywords are engaging simply due to the fact that it feels like a conversation to customers. These sort of two-way communications can solidify the relationship marketing approach that keeps customers coming back to a brand again and again. For any business that wants to show their customers that they care, text marketing keywords are a good way to do exactly that.

Choosing keywords

All that being said, it is one thing to talk about this in theory, it is another to do it in practice. For small businesses trying to use text marketing keywords for the first time, it can be difficult to know which keywords to choose, when to target customers, and best practices for getting the most out of the campaign.

Thankfully, we have that experience from working with businesses to optimize their mass text marketing and are here to provide those tips and best practices. When you are choosing these keywords, you need to think about them from three different perspectives: relevancy, convenience, and logic.

Relevancy

This first approach is rather obvious, but by using keywords that are relevant to you and your business, not only are customers more likely to remember them, but use them as well. As an example, let’s say you own a fitness studio, keywords like EXERCISE, WORKOUT, or FITNESS would be relevant to your users. Now, what those keywords relate to is up to you, but making them relevant to your business will only serve to increase customer engagement.

Although this makes sense, it is important that you not stray too far from relevant terms in your keyword selection. Taking your customers out of the experience with wacky keywords is one of the quickest ways to lose subscribers, so make sure and avoid doing so for best results.

Convenience

Another aspect of picking a good text marketing keyword for your next campaign is finding keywords that are convenient for your customers to use. Think of when businesses used to include their name in their number like 1-800-GET-CASH. By keeping your keywords succinct and to the point, customers will be more likely to use them.

A good rule of thumb here is to use the phone number example when deciding on keywords, meaning keeping the keyword length to 4-7 letters. Imagine two campaigns where everything is the same, but one uses the keyword “HELP” and the other uses “HELPYOURSELFBUYANEWCAR.” Obviously one of these will work much better than the other.

Logic

Finally, the last piece of advice for choosing your keywords is to use logic and data to find the best keywords for your campaign. While this means that you will have had to run a previous campaign, once you have the first one under your belt you will be able to utilize user engagement metrics to craft even better messages.

A best practice that should be used here is A/B testing. For instance, sending out half of your messages using one keyword, half using another, and then reviewing which performed better. By constantly doing this, you will be able to consistently improve your text marketing keywords and campaigns.  

Goal: Increased engagement

Now, so far we have been talking about why we use text marketing keywords and how best to do so, but what is the overall goal of doing this? Like most customer-focused strategies, increased engagement and therefor retention are what we are after. Due to text message marketing’s powerful ability to reach an audience, combined with the interactive nature of text marketing keywords, these sort of campaigns can be revolutionary for small businesses.

When you combine this with the relative ease of use of a text marketing platform, not to mention the low costs, it’s a no brainer for any businesses that are looking to boost repeat visits, increase customer loyalty, and engage customers in new and exciting ways. All we have left to as is: what are you waiting for? Get started today!


6 Effective SMS Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

SMS Marketing is one of the marketing tools that works and, if used properly; it can offer you a lot of amazing value and quality in no time. The great thing about SMS Marketing is that it helps you connect with people in real time. Done properly, this means you get to have a lot of conversions, and the return on investment can be huge.

And while it does require quite a bit of planning, it surely works the way you would intend to use it, and the value is well worth the effort, you can rest assured of that.

So, if you’re a small business and would like to plunge into the world of SMS marketing, here’re 6 important things that you need to keep in mind.

#1. Create the Best SMS Marketing Message That You Can

We recommend you to start creating the best SMS Marketing messages out there. Segment your audiences the right way and adapt your messages as per your audience. Customize everything the best way you can. You want to put the business name first, along with having a call to action. After all, you want your readers to act fast, and if you do that the results can be really good.

You don’t just want to announce a sale. You have to tell your customers what’s on sale and what they can expect from that sale. It’s important to offer the right amount of information. That’s the only time when customers will be ok with spending their money when they know exactly what they receive from you in return.

#2. Share Offers That Are Exclusive to Your SMS Marketing Campaign

You should treat SMS Marketing as something exclusive. Show your customers that if they enroll in your SMS Marketing campaign, they get the best possible value and quality. Yes, this is a very important thing to focus on. As a result, you have to come up with dedicated offers that customers won’t find anywhere else. It’s a system that works nicely and the value on its own is more than ok.

#3. Always Make Sure That You Ask Permission from Your Clients

SMS Marketing works very well if the clients are offering their phone number willingly. You want to avoid a situation where you send messages to people, but they don’t agree to receive such a thing. They will treat that message and your business as spam. Plus, this is an invasion of that person’s intimacy, so you want to avoid that.

Asking for permission is very important. Maybe you can ask your customers about this when they shop online or in your store. It’s not a very hard thing to do. But yes, it’s very important. And the issue is that a lot of people just forget about it. You shouldn’t do that. Instead, just talk with your customer, it’s a lot better. Also, it helps in building your audience’s trust faster.

#4. Avoid Sending Too Many Messages

It all comes down to finding the right frequency. Some people will not be ok if you send messages daily. According to the general rules regarding SMS Marketing, sending a message per week is a good frequency. It’s not too much to make things too disturbing. And your customers still receive the information that they need, which is what matters the most in the end.

Working with an SMS Marketing expert and identifying this frequency on your own will be a very good idea, so try to keep that in mind.

#5. Share Limited Time Offers

Limited time offers will allow you to focus on the timeliness offered by the entire experience. People will be more enticed to tap on a sales link if they know that the sale ends in a few hours. Another thing to consider is that most actions are performed within 3-4 minutes after the person receives that message.

So yes, the system does work quite nicely, and it does bring in front some really interesting options that you have to focus on.

#6. Always Analyze the Results

Analytics can work extremely well if you adapt them to your needs. Ideally, you want to study things like open rates, and you also want to see how the links are doing too. It’s not the most exciting thing to do. But the reality is that mobile analytics will offer a good insight into the efficiency of your SMS marketing campaign. It does make a whole lot of sense, and it can bring in front some unique options for you to enjoy.

As a whole, using SMS Marketing is one of the best and most personal ways to connect with customers. You want to avoid abusing this type of approach, as it won’t work very well for you if you do that. But if you use it wisely, SMS Marketing can pay off.

The return on investment can be huge, and you won’t have to worry too much about connecting with your customers in a meaningful way. Make sure that you stick to these six rules and you will have no problem making the most out of SMS Marketing!

Author Bio

Sameer Panjwani is the Founder & CEO of Mondovo.com, an online marketing toolset that helps you track your rankings, monitor your site stats, and research your competitors. A man of many talents, Sameer is currently on a mission to help 1 million businesses grow organically through his products and services.

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text marketing

How to Build Out a Text Marketing Campaign in 8 Easy Steps

In the world of mobile marketing, text marketing and SMS are notorious for delivering exceptional results and increased engagement. However, without the proper tools and guidelines, it can be difficult to set up a text marketing campaign that gets the job done. In fact, when customers receive poor messaging from companies, it can have the opposite effect that the campaign aims for.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that happening any longer. In this article, we are going to walk you through how to build out a text marketing campaign with 8 easy steps. Once you have a better understanding of how best to lay out your campaign, you will be ready to take on your customers and take your mobile marketing game to a whole new level. Let’s get started.

text marketing

1. Lay out your goals

The first step in the process of putting together a text marketing campaign is to lay out your goals. Even though SMS has many applications that can be used across all forms of businesses, your goals for the campaign will ultimately dictate which aspects of the platform you will take advantage of. Since your goals will have such a huge impact on the rest of the campaign, it’s important to have them laid out ahead of time.

For instance, if you are hoping to increase customer engagement for your business, make sure that you have a way of tracking user engagement metrics. This will not only allow you to monitor the success of your campaign from the get-go, but will offer insights into how best to approach your audience.

2. Perform market research

Once you have a good grasp on the goals of your campaign, the next step is to perform market research in order to find the best path to meet your goals. This step is just as important as laying out your goals, as the market will tell you whether or not your goals are achievable. It will also give you a glimpse of who you will be marketing towards.

Although there are several ways to research your potential customers, you may already have some of the work done. For example, companies with customer loyalty programs have already begun the process of learning about their customers. If you have already started a program, review what you have learned as you begin to craft your campaign.

3. Create a clear call to action

Now that you know who you will be marketing to and what you hope to accomplish by doing so, the time has come to begin creating your first text marketing messages. As a rule of thumb, each message of your SMS campaign should contain a call-to-action or next step your customers should take. This will lead to higher engagement rates and a better customer relationship.

The first call-to-action you will likely send will be an SMS opt-in message. This will confirm with your customers that you will be sending them text marketing messages. Not only is this important to do for establishing your campaign, but it is actually required by law. Once you have this done, you will be ready to start honing your campaign.

Additional reading: SMS Opt-in Best Practices

text marketing campaign

4. Nurture audience through segmentation and personalization

At the beginning, you may be discouraged by low click-through rates and limited interaction, but this is perfectly normal. The next step is to make sure that these first-time blues won’t last for long. As more customers opt-in to your SMS marketing campaign, you should segment them into different customer personas by which you can personalize their campaign.

As we mentioned earlier, no two businesses use text marketing the same way. The same logic applies to your customers. By segmenting your audience and personalizing your messages, you are showing them that you care. Not only that, but more tailored messages have a much higher percent chance of making a difference with your customer base.

5. Time your messages well

Now that you are starting to build a rapport with your audience, it becomes your job to ensure that you don’t do anything to put them off. Customers except text marketing campaigns to be helpful and consistent. If you start to do anything that indicates to them this isn’t the case, they will leave.

One of the most common pitfalls first-time SMS marketers find themselves in is not timing their messages correctly. This might simply be due to ignorance, as many don’t realize that 98% of their messages are read within 2 minutes. This kind of speed means you need to be wary of not only what you are sending, but when you are sending your messages.

6. Limit frequency of messages

Along with timing your messages well, customers can easily be turned off by being bombarded with messages. This is why it is important to limit the frequency of your messages, ideally to at most 8 per month. By being consistent and providing value with your messages, customers will look forward to receiving them instead of dreading them.

We should mention that this frequency doesn’t apply when customers reach out to your proactively. Often, SMS calls-to-action will include a short code that customers can text back to receive more information. Since this sort of interaction is the reason for your campaign, it should be encouraged, not limited.

text message marketing

7. Remember the rules

The final way to ensure that you don’t have any unwanted hiccups in your text marketing campaign is to remember and follow the rules of SMS marketing. If you aren’t already familiar with them, you can find a complete list here. However, the basics of these rules are fairly easy to stay within.

For instance, you should always include a way for customers to opt-out of your campaign. While this may seem like by offering the option, more people will opt-out, but the opposite is often the case. Customers like to feel in control and by giving them an out, you are able to do exactly that.

8. Measure, analyze, repeat

Finally, as your text marketing campaign comes to a close, it’s worth taking time to measure the success of your marketing and analyze what could be done better. Mobile user engagement metrics and analytics can tell you just about everything you need to know, especially if you have already segmented your audience.

Then, once you understand how your campaign went, the next step is to repeat the entire process. Truly phenomenal SMS campaigns don’t happen on your first try, but instead come from perfecting your messages and tactics until you find the best possible balance. Although it may seem like you are pushing a boulder up a hill just to have it slide back down, your customers will appreciate you as you continue to grow and provide value.