Brands have cottoned on to the importance of mobile, and are increasingly using text messages as a way to stay in constant contact with their customers. Whilst most welcome messages that remind them they need to go to the dentist or offer to save them money, no one wants to be spammed. You must ensure your texts don’t look like spam.
Despite this, spam messages are still a problem. More than 175,000 complaints about spam text messages and cold calls were made to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2014 alone. As a result, the ICO now has more powers than ever before, meaning those guilty of sending spam messages are far more likely to get prosecuted.
If you’re an honest marketer, who has obtained your customer details legally and has no intention of spamming them, it can be a very difficult task indeed to come across as a spammer. That said, to make absolutely sure your customers see the value of your messages and remain loyal, read on.
Why shouldn’t I send spam SMS messages?
Building and growing your opt-in database is not an easy task, but it’s far better to obtain people’s details legally yourself than to buy them from a third-party.
Not only is it against the law to send people text messages without having received their prior consent, it’s not going to do your business any good either. Your brand will be associated with spamming people who don’t want your messages, and it’s unlikely these texts will result in any sales.
In short, it’s impractical and expensive, not to mention illegal.
The majority of companies that send out spam messages are lead generation firms. Essentially, they want people to reply to their messages, so they can sell on that number to the relevant company. They are often looking for people who want to make PPI claims, personal injury claims or to consolidate their debts.
How do I make sure my messages don’t look like spam?
Unlike emails, text messages are not filtered. There is no spam folder your SMS messages will land in if they contain certain keywords or come from an unidentified source. Your customer will see and (at least partially) read every single message you send, so you need to ensure your texts don’t look like spam.
If the receiver can’t see who it’s from or what the recipient wants straight away, they’re either going to delete it, report it or unsubscribe.
This feature is, of course, a huge positive for the reputable text marketer, as it means they have a much greater chance of success than alternatives such as email or social media.
Avoid txt spk
Messages that are poorly worded, contain spelling errors and use abbreviations are likely to irritate
your customers, as well as appear spammy.
Avoid marketing hype too, such as “order now!” or “this is an AMAZING offer”. Whilst it’s important to contain a call to action in your message, people don’t want to feel pressured.
You should use your text messages to communicate with your customers; don’t just focus on sales. Below is an example of what a message with a call to action should look like:
“Example Co’s summer sale is now on! Use code SMS50 to get 50% off all swimwear. Offer ends Saturday. Text STOP to 81810 to opt out.”
Don’t act like a needy ex
Marketers constantly struggle with the dilemma of how often to send text messages. Do it too infrequently and you’ll miss out on potential sales, but send them too often and you’ll annoy your recipients.
There is no golden rule regarding how often you should contact your customers, but it is generally considered bad practice to send more than one message a day. You should also never, ever send the same message twice, as this will make your text look like spam.
The type of message you’re sending will also depend on how often you send a text. For example, if you’re a retailer, you can message your recipient based on how often they make a purchase on your website. On the other hand, if you’re simply sending a reminder for an appointment, you may want to message them a week or day before they are due to see their doctor.
Remember, there’s no point sending a text message just for the sake of it!
Don’t wake people up
We all know that feeling: you’re just about to drop off into the land of nod, and then your phone buzzes and wakes you up. You’re annoyed, but maybe it’s an important message that simply couldn’t wait.
Nope, it’s a text from your local coffee shop saying you can a free muffin with any hot drink. It’s 1am. Said coffee shop is closed.
In this scenario two things are probably going to happen:
- The customer will forget about the message, meaning you’ve wasted your time as well as theirs.
- They’ll opt out of your service then and there, because you woke them up at 1am.
The set time(s) that your messages are scheduled to send matters; not only because you don’t want to drive away your subscribers, but because your texts are more likely to convert at certain times of day. Send texts at different times and on various days to see which messages get the highest response rate.
Offer something, and make it clear
When composing a text, you need to consider three things:
- Is it clear who the message is from?
- Is it clear what’s on offer?
- Is there a point to the message?
If your text message is generic, not at all useful and from a mysterious sender, the receiver will probably think it’s just spam and delete it.
For more insights on how text messaging can help your business, check out our 10 smart ideas on how to use mobile messaging.