4 Best Practices for Mass Text Messaging Campaigns
Mass text messaging is a valuable customer engagement tool for any industry or audience. After all, studies show people of all ages prefer text over other types of communication. No matter the goal or audience, following these key best practices for user friendly and compliant text messaging will help make your text messaging campaign a successful one.
Promote a Clear, Compelling, & Compliant Call-to-Action
In order to get people to subscribe to receive your text messages, you need to let them know about your text messaging program. You can achieve this by sharing clear, compelling, and compliant calls-to-action via multiple channels like social media, print materials, and email.
A CLEAR call-to-action is easy for the user to understand and act on. Instructions should be simple and direct in the active voice. Don’t tell people what they can do; tell them what to do. Use color and font to clearly distinguish the texting elements (keyword and short/long code) from the text messaging program description and instructions.
A COMPELLING call-to-action clearly states the value the user will receive by subscribing and makes them want to pull out their mobile and text in to join. Retail and hospitality organizations seeking to boost their customer loyalty mass texting programs should consider offering a one-time opt-in incentive like a discount or coupon. Human resources and internal communications managers will want to motivate employees to subscribe by accentuating the value of keeping up on company safety alerts, news announcements, and internal opportunities.
A COMPLIANT call-to-action contains certain legal disclosures (“the fine print”) required by the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) in order to ensure consumers understand the scope of your texting program and provide consent to receive the messages.
Many mass text messaging platforms like TextMarks will review their client’s calls-to-action and let them know if there is anything that can be improved.
Craft a Clear, Congenial, and Compliant Welcome Message
All mass text messaging campaigns must have a welcome message that people receive when they text to opt in. Many text messaging platforms have the welcome message baked in with the required compliance disclosures, but allow for customization. When you customize your welcome message, be sure to use your organization’s usual voice and tone for a consistent customer experience across all communication channels. And, be sure to include the following three elements:
- Include your organization’s name. Your welcome message will stay in the subscriber’s phone history and will help people identify that future messages are from you.
- Include a brief description of your text messaging program. This will ensure people know their action was successful.
- Include all CTIA consumer disclosure requirements. This will not only meet requirements, but will enhance your organization’s credibility by showing your audience you care by providing key information like how to get help and how to opt-out should they want to. Many platforms like TextMarks have these requirements baked in.
Here is an example of a clear, congenial, and compliant welcome message:
Thanks for joining ACME’s customer loyalty texting program!
Msg&Data Rates May Apply
Reply STOP to cancel
firstname.lastname@example.org for help
Send Meaningful and Compliant Text Messages
Including your organization’s name in all messages will allow your subscribers to immediately recognize the origin of text messages and will help keep you top of mind. Some organizations choose to include their name at the beginning of every text. Others weave their name inside the message.
Make sure the messages you send are relevant to your audience and are within the scope of the text messaging program as you promoted it. If your call-to-action indicates your organization will be sending sales announcements and coupons, be sure to send those types of messages. After all, they are what your audience signed up to receive. Ensure a positive customer experience by giving your audience what they want and expect.
As with your welcome message, be sure to use the same organizational voice and tone as you do in other communication channels. This will help provide a consistent customer experience for your audience. When using abbreviations make sure they are easily recognizable and won’t require people to stop and think. Remember, it’s worth the time and effort to craft a great SMS message because studies show people of all age groups prefer text and EVERYONE has it!
Prohibited content is another important consideration when sending mass text messages. The mobile carriers restrict specific types of content in text messaging campaigns in an effort to protect consumers. Some examples are sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco (commonly referred to as “SHAFT”). Although each carrier has its own list, you’ll find a pretty comprehensive list in the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook.
Plan Ahead With A Text Messaging Editorial Calendar
It’s important to send messages regularly. If you don’t send a message for several months and suddenly send one, your subscribers may have forgotten they subscribed or have forgotten who your organization is. If you’ve told subscribers to expect one message a week, be sure to send one message a week.
On the other hand, don’t send too many messages. If you send people more messages than they expect or need, they may find it annoying and not take action on your messages — or worse, they may unsubscribe.
It’s important to send people occasional opt-out reminders letting them know how to stop receiving messages should they wish. This is important for a few reasons. One, it’s a compliance requirement. Two, it will help you keep your subscriber list pruned to people who really want to receive your messages, which will help your communications budget. Three, it will help provide a positive customer experience by letting people know your organization cares about their communication choices.
You can help keep all of the above in order by developing and adhering to an editorial calendar. Also, many text messaging platforms like TextMarks support scheduling messages in advance, which makes it easier to be consistent.
For more information on text messaging customer experience best practices, read Best Practices for Using URLs in SMS Text Messaging.