One of the most challenging barriers of entry for people beginning SMS marketing campaigns is building up their audience. After all, with relatively strict guidelines on how subscribers can opt-in to SMS campaigns, it makes sense that it can take a while to build up a good following. This is why it is vital to a campaign’s success to nail the SMS opt-in the first time around.
In this article, we are going to review SMS opt-in best practices. It is our hope that by enticing followers with the right messaging early on, the rest of your campaign and those you run after will be more successful. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the world of SMS and mass text marketing.
Importance of SMS opt-in
Now, before we get into the best practices, we quickly wanted to touch on the important of SMS opt-ins. Not only does having your customers either request or accept being a part of your list make them more receptive to messages, but is also legally required. The fastest way to have your mobile marketing campaign shut down is by falling to comply with these rules and regulations.
However, those who are hoping to begin their SMS marketing campaigns should not fret. In fact, this is a blessing in disguise. Like we mentioned, having an SMS opt-in can keep away users who are not interested in your services. Although most marketing professionals might say you want to reach as large of an audience as you can, the reason SMS marketing can boast a 98% open rate is because of restrictions like these.
Long story short: stick to the rules when it comes to the SMS opt-in and you will be set for a successful campaign. With that in mind, let’s look at the best way to land the opt-in and increase customer engagement.
Be upfront about your SMS campaign
The first best practice for SMS opt-ins is to be transparent and upfront with your customers about the SMS campaign you are running. What does this mean, exactly? It means that although special offers and promotions should be fun surprises, most of your campaign should be expected by your audience.
The way to do this is by setting the proper expectations, which user engagement metrics show improve customer relationships. Right off the bat from the first text your audience should know the following:
- Purpose: Although they should already have some idea of the purpose of the campaign, given that they opted-in for it, you should still remind them of why you will be texting them.
- Frequency: Next, you should let them know how often they should expect messages. Most SMS professionals advise less than 8 per month and no more than 2 per week, so try to keep your frequency within these boundaries.
- SMS and data rates: Even though it is uncommon for mobile plans to have a set messaging limit, make sure you inform them that standard messaging rates do apply.
By sharing all of this with your audience from the get-go, you are building trust with them. If you can do this well, customers will be excited to receive messages from you, not dread them.
Automate when possible
The next part of running a smooth and efficient SMS opt-in is to automate as much as you possibly can. Customers value the instantaneous nature of SMS, so by automating you are able to cut down on the time spent by customers. Additionally, with the right platform, automations will make your life easier as well.
An easy way to do this is with SMS short codes, which allow users to text back such phrases as INFO or HELP to receive extra information on your product or offering. Then, you can craft automatic responses that you can couple with helpful tips or promotional coupon codes. Hopefully this kind of automation will become necessary as your audience continues to grow!
Keep messages within business hours
Another aspect of running a successful business text messaging campaign is keeping messages within business hours. Unless a user specifically requests a message after business hours or your business doesn’t keep normal hours (like a restaurant or gym), marketers sending out text blasts should never do so outside of 8-5.
This shows professionalism and courtesy on your part by respecting users and their time. In fact, when it boils down to it, SMS marketing is all about common sense and treating customers well. The quickest way to lose control of a campaign is by veering from this course, so keep this in mind when writing out branded messages.
Always follow industry guidelines
While we have already gone over industry guidelines, this is vital to creating a high-performing SMS campaign. Like Fight Club, we think this a rule that is worth repeating. Something that should be said as well is that providing a clear opt-out is important for your audience as well.
By knowing that they can stop messages at any point, customers feel more in control. This can be included at the bottom of the first few messages and then periodically throughout the campaign to keep it fresh in your audience’s minds.
Finally, our last SMS opt-in best practice is to be patient. When you are first starting out, it can be easy to get discouraged by low engagement and click-through-rates. However, like more marketing, SMS takes time to evolve and become a well-oiled machine, you just have to give it that time to find itself.
Also, as customers become familiar with receiving text messages from a business, they will start to trust you more. Continue to provide valuable information with your messages and you will see the rewards for your patience. Not only that, but even if growth is slow, each of your customers has expressed interest in receiving these messages, so they are going to be your best audience. Don’t mess this up.
With each of these best practices in mind, we wish you good luck on your messages and SMS opt-ins!