A lot has been written about the importance of general marketing automation in 2019 but not enough has been written about a marketing channel that is enjoying a revival – Automated text message marketing. When customer attention is short and more personalized messaging is the order of the day, text message marketing has proved to be a reliable channel for many small businesses.
How To Be The Best At Automated Text Message Marketing
These are a few principles to get the best out of text message marketing in 2019.
1. Be compliant to increase conversion rates
It is quite rare that regulations around marketing favour businesses, but this is what has happened in the case of text message marketing.
Text message marketing is a form of permission marketing. The people you are texting are already interested in your business in some way – They may be loyal customers, they may be interested in your content, etc. Permission marketing is more persuasive than most outbound marketing because of the principle of consistency that Robert Cialdini writes in his seminal work that has become the bible for many marketers:
“People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.
Consistency is activated by looking for, and asking for, small initial commitments that can be made. In one famous set of studies, researchers found rather unsurprisingly that very few people would be willing to erect an unsightly wooden board on their front lawn to support a Drive Safely campaign in their neighborhood.
However in a similar neighborhood close by, four times as many homeowners indicated that they would be willing to erect this unsightly billboard. Why? Because ten days previously, they had agreed to place a small postcard in the front window of their homes that signaled their support for a Drive Safely campaign. That small card was the initial commitment that led to a 400% increase in a much bigger but still consistent change.”
By getting permission from users to text them, you are getting a small commitment from them and you can build on this commitment by providing them useful information and tips at the right moment in their customer journey
You must have the permission of users to run a successful text message marketing campaign, apart from being in compliance with local laws and CTIA recommendations. Twilio has an excellent short SMS compliance blog that will help you be on the right side of the law.
2. Understand customer journey and automate text marketing
Understanding the journey of your customer can make your text message marketing more efficient and hands-off. The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.
If you’re in the fitness business, your customer journey would look something like this – A potential member visits your facility, and they leave without making up their mind on joining (ping. At this moment you could use the big TVs at the reception to give them a number to text to if they want to join, along with a clear shortcode to use). Once the member joins you can use text message marketing to prompt them to leave reviews for your business website if they have visited for 30 consecutive days. You could automate a text message to send to them if they have not visited for a long time.
If you are a business looking to scale or become sustainable, you want to do text message marketing efficiently – without using a lot of man hours that are better used elsewhere. It is also the kind of job that automation can do better than people. A person would have to sort through different scenarios and shortlist customers while you could just automate that process when you set up text message marketing.
Here’s an excellent blog from SurveyMonkey about how to build a customer journey
Gleantap makes it easy for you to automate text message marketing and you also get the added advantage of our experience working with 1000s of similar companies. We know what works and what doesn’t, so you can spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time focussing on running your business
3. Promote at the right places, in the right moments
“How much should I promote my text message marketing service and the options that my customers have?” is a question that we get a lot, and the answer is that it depends on your customer journey and the type of outbound marketing that you do.
If you have a TV inside a store, it would be a good idea to promote the number to text you on and shortcodes to use for various purposes. For example, if you are a gym you can use it to promote premium plans or limited offers that you are running for which people can sign up for by just texting a shortcode. If you are a restaurant, you can use it to promote remote reservations system.
In the above use cases, it would also be advantageous for you to have two-way texting. It helps you interact with your customers and provide a better user experience than a bot. It also allows you great flexibility in your responses. Gartner says that about 89% of companies believe that customer experience is as important as other factors in choosing a business
Learn more about how you can take advantage of two-way texting and get more users to visit your store
4. Use segmentation to your advantage
Text message marketing has been revived in the last couple of years due to a number of little automation that have made things easier for a business to get started and use it effectively. Segmentation is one of the most important automation in text message marketing.
Imagine being a small business and spending precious man hours segmenting users and figuring out what text messages to send to confirm them. That would be quite a nightmare.
Instead of this, you can segment users based on what part of the customer journey that they are on. If you’re a shoe store, you can segment all users who purchased a pair of shoes from you 12 months ago and target them with a specific message on an offer you’re running. If a customer checked out a specific shoe and left without purchasing, you can send a list of customers an offer on the high demand shoe that they checked out.
In an era where competition from big online retailers are stiff, you can use your smallness to your advantage to be more personal and more targeted with your marketing. It’s not just fancy mobile apps or offers that will bring in customers, text message marketing is also an effective channel in your omnichannel strategy
5. A/B test your campaigns (but be judicious)
A/B testing has been a buzzword in marketing for some time but are you using it properly?
With the availability of better technology and automation, it has become way easier to A/B test your text marketing strategy. This means that you could test a number of different campaigns side to side, but question is, should you be doing that?
A good model to go by when deciding the frequency of text messages is – Will I personally like it if these messages sent to me? Remember all the times you were solicited with offers you had already refused or the time that brand sent you 2 emails per day.
The best way to not bombard your users with text message marketing is to use segment them into as many small units as possible, and run A/B tests on these segments. This way you will be able to run A/B tests concurrently without sending too many messages to the same person.