SMS text messaging can be a highly effective tool in your overall marketing and public relations campaigns. The majority of people today have access to mobile technology – worldwide, there are nearly as many cell phones as there are people on the planet and cell phone penetration is high even among the least developed nations – averaging around 89 subscriptions per 100 people in developing economies.
It is estimated that globally around 16 million text messages are sent every minute. Text messaging is the most common cell phone activity – approximately 97 percent of all smart phone users text every day, and more than 80 percent of American adults using text messaging regularly.Texting is clearly an important feature of modern society, but what about it’s use as a business tool? Well, statistically, text messages have a whopping 99 percent open rate – and 90 percent of text messages are opened within 3 minutes of receipt. Among SMS users, around 80 percent already use the service for business purposes, and one study found that 75 percent of users would prefer receiving a text message offer to viewing online ads.
SMS messaging offers a great way for businesses to connect with their clients, but as with all tools, there are a few keys to making the best use of SMS text messaging within your marketing and public relations campaigns.
The first thing to consider in SMS marketing is to ensure compliance with applicable laws. While consumers indicate they desire text capabilities in their business interactions, people do not want to receive unsolicited texts. In the United States, failure to comply with applicable regulations can cost businesses up to $1500 dollars in fines per SMS message, as well as open them up to civil litigation. Similar legislation has either passed or is being considered in nations around the globe.
Businesses need to understand the intricacies of the law and do everything they can to ensure legal compliance, but the gist of the legislation is people have to opt-in to receive text messages and have a simple method for opting out. Ultimately, it is about ensuring that consumers consent to receive your messages and have the ability to choose whether or not to see your texts.
While maintaining regulatory compliance makes SMS marketing a bit more challenging, it also offers tremendous opportunities for those businesses that successfully navigate the challenges.
Consider this – by having to opt-in, consumers are telling businesses that they definitely do want to see their messages. This means that SMS marketing targets people who have already stated that they do want to receive your offers and messages. When used correctly, texting adds value to your advertising.
The second key is to remember that text messaging is an important tool in your overall marketing strategy. In the age of social media, branding has become one of the most important aspects of business. Every company has a brand, from the mega corporations to the mom and pop stores.
Everything that you do to interact with customers affects their perception of your business – your brand. Reputation is critical to business success, and effective control of your brand is essential in your marketing strategies.
In terms of SMS marketing, this means that your text message strategy needs to fit within the framework of your overall brand strategy. Using text messaging to drive consumers toward other platforms, such as social media profiles and company websites can help integrate the overall customer experience.
Be sure that your text messages are in line with your brand. While texting offers its own unique challenges linguistically, be sure that the tone and language compliment your other brand expressions. Each message you send needs to reinforce the reputation that you want to establish with your customers.
Finally, consider the unique advantages of SMS interactions with your customers. Text messaging is near instant communication. Take advantage of this fact – use texting to promote a flash sale, for example. Businesses that operate by appointment can use text messaging to fill open spots on short notice.
Remember that text messaging can be an interactive experience as well. One recent campaign asked users to respond with their definition of beauty, and the responses were used to create further content for the campaign.
SMS marketing offers a terrific way of interacting with your customers. Used correctly, it can reinforce your brand and promote customer loyalty. There are challenges, but text messaging is one of the most exciting marketing opportunities of our time as well.
“PR is a mix of journalism, psychology, and lawyering - it’s an ever-changing and always interesting landscape.”
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR
"In the long run it's the daily actions of a brand that determines its overall image."
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR
"Talk isn't cheap - it's undervalued."
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR
"A company that knows itself can capitalize on its strengths and see competitive advantages where other might see weaknesses."Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR
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Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR and author of best selling PR book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, and a regular contributor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything-PR and more.