Text messaging marketing is not a new phenomenon. Commercial text marketing was first used in the 1990s and the concept of text message marketing has grown in popularity even since - so much so that, in 2011, the Coca-Cola Company revealed that 70% of its mobile marketing budget was allocated to bulk text messaging marketing.

Although smartphone ownership in the US has almost doubled since 2011, text message marketing still remains the most effective medium through which businesses can generate engagement and create brand awareness. This is primarily attributable to text message marketing being simple, inexpensive and versatile.

One other important factor that contributes to the ongoing effectiveness of mobile marketing by text messaging is its reach. According to the latest statistics, 98% of the population has access to older-model cellphones, whereas just 68% of the population owns smartphones. Any text messaging marketing campaign that excludes almost 100 million people is not going to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Why Text Messaging Marketing Works

Why text messaging marketing works in an era with so much digital engagement is an easy question to answer:  intimacy. People don´t give their personal cellphone numbers away freely, yet 91% of Americans keep their cellphones within reach twenty-four hours day, and 62% of the population checks their cellphones for new text messages upon waking up each morning.

Text messaging is the channel of choice for engaging with friends and family, and people tend to reach for their mobile phones as soon as they hear the ringtone for an incoming message. Consequently it is no surprise to learn that 94% of text messages are opened and read within three minutes of receipt, compared to an open rate for email of just 22%.

One of the best examples of why text marketing messaging works concerns women´s fashion retailer Charlotte Russe. Identifying that many of its customers were texting pictures of clothes and accessories to their friends to get feedback before a purchase, the retailer experimented with a text messaging marketing campaign. By creating a dialogue with its customers, staying “top of mind,” and driving in-store traffic, Charlotte Russe recorded a tenfold increase on ROI compared to its previous email marketing efforts.

Text Marketing to the Text Generation

It is not just the Coca Cola Company and Charlotte Russe that have recognized the benefits of text messaging marketing. Macy´s, Bloomingdale´s and Walgreens are among the thousands of companies that use text marketing as a means of cutting through the noise of other direct marketing channels - especially when their marketing efforts are directed towards 15-25 year-olds.

The 15-25 year age group is considered to be one of the most valuable shopper demographics, yet the hardest to break through to. Teenagers and consumers in their young twenties are bombarded with hundreds of advertisements every day, and research has shown that - in order to separate material that is relevant to them - this age group is the largest to subscribe to text marketing services.

Brands and businesses that successfully attract this shopper demographic have found:

  • When using text messaging advertising to support other marketing efforts, they can reach up to 95% of their target audience.
  • Text messaging marketing that includes URLs has a ten time higher click-through rate than URLs contained within emails.
  • Mobile marketing by text messaging performs up to five times better than online advertising or inbound marketing for creating brand awareness.
  • Bulk text message marketing achieves a coupon redemption rate eight times higher than email marketing.

How a Text Messaging Marketing Service Works

If your business has a mobile marketing budget the size of the Coca Cola Company´s, you have probably engaged a text messaging marketing company to conduct your text marketing for you. For everyone else, text messaging marketing software is a simple, inexpensive and versatile alternative that allows you to send text marketing messages quickly and effectively.

Text message marketing is conducted via a text messaging marketing app - a browser-based software application that you gain access to by subscribing to a text messaging marketing service. The service provider assigns you a username and password and, once logged into the text messaging marketing system, you simply upload your list of customers, compose your message and click send.

Within minutes, your customers will be reading your text message wherever they are, whatever they are doing. You can track open rates and spikes in engagement via the text messaging marketing system and - as the text messaging marketing app is a browser-based application - review your replies from any Internet connected device, at any time.

Other Functions of a Text Messaging Marketing System

Text messaging marketing software is designed to be as simple as possible to use. You do not need any technical or design skills to run a text marketing campaign and, as people tend to reach for their mobile phones as soon as they hear the ringtone of an incoming message, you do not even need to give your text marketing message a snappy title. However, there are other functions of a text messaging marketing system you can use to make your text marketing more effective.

In addition to the text messaging marketing system providing information about your open rates and spikes in engagement (which you can use to fine-tune future text marketing activity), the text messaging marketing system allows you to schedule messages in advance. This means that you can prepare your text message marketing at a time when it is most convenient to you, and have it dispatched when it will attract the most attention. Other functions of a text messaging marketing system include:

  • The ability to save sent messages as templates for use in future campaigns.
  • The option of personalizing your text messages with the customers’ names.
  • The choice of sending plain text messages or multimedia (MMS) messages.
  • The opportunity to add tiny URLs, coupons and QR codes to your messages.

The text marketing software also allows you to sort your database into groups. This function has several benefits. You save money on your text marketing campaign by only sending text marketing messages to those for whom they are relevant. This also prevents the scenario in which customers opt out of your text marketing service because they are receiving too many text messages or text messages that are not of interest to them.

Text Messaging Marketing Tools to Help Build Customer Databases

Text message marketing is a permission-based activity. You cannot simply purchase a list of cellphone numbers and start sending text messaging advertising -- you have to build your customer database from scratch. There are various text messaging marketing tools you can use to build your customer database, but none are more effective the keywords and short codes.

Without doubt, most people will have been exposed to keywords and short codes without necessarily recognizing their function. Keywords are the words you invite a customer to text to a short code to take advantage of a promotion (for example text “pizza” to 313131 to get a free soft drink with your next order). When the customer texts the keyword to the short code, they are added to your database and opted in to receive future text messaging.

Keywords and short codes are often included in a subscription package or can be rented from your service provider. Your service provider can also supply you with “Click-to-Join” widgets that you can place on your website or Facebook page, or send in a Tweet to your followers. “Click-to-Join” widgets can be an effective way to attract online shoppers to your service, especially when they advertise your service as a “first-to-know” service for forthcoming deals and promotions.

How Text Marketing Polls Generate Customer Engagement

Businesses can generate customer engagement and create brand awareness by including polls in their text message marketing. Polls are easy to construct using the text messaging marketing software. You simply ask a question - for example, “What is your favorite hamburger topping?” - and request that customers express their preference by replying with a keyword from a list you provide them (“ketchup”, “mustard”, “mayonnaise”, etc.).

People love to express their opinions, and polling provides businesses with a fantastic opportunity to leverage the immediacy of SMS texting in order to gain insights into customers´ preferences, generate customer engagement and create brand awareness. The feedback from customers can help determine your own product purchasing decisions, as well as inform your next text messaging marketing campaign.

Not only have text marketing polls been shown to generate a much higher engagement rate than any other form of marketing communication, but polls that capture your customers´ imagination can also help to increase the size of your database. People tend to share media they find interesting and - if a poll you distribute becomes a topic of discussion between friends - many more potential customers could join your text messaging marketing service and take a deeper interest in your business.

Mobile Marketing by Text Messaging and the Law

The rules for text message marketing can be found within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. The Act contains regulations about building your customer database, giving customers the ability to opt out of your text messaging marketing service, and specifying the frequency and number of messages that are sent.

As well as familiarizing yourself with the regulations for mobile marketing by text messaging, you should also be aware of the Mobile Marketing Association´s Code of Conduct. The “Code” has been prepared with assistance from Microsoft, Yahoo and Verizon, and includes guidelines for bulk text messaging marketing to protect consumer privacy standards and avoid the introduction of further regulations.

Businesses engaging in text message marketing are also subject to the rules of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The CTIA is comprised of the telephone companies that deliver text marketing messages, and the Association will not tolerate messages containing profanity, pornography or hate speech, or those that endorse illegal drug use or violence.

Other Uses for Text Message Marketing

It’s not only the retail industry that engages in text message marketing. Political parties, faith-based organizations and educational institutions use text marketing as a means of soliciting donations and building connections with voters, parishioners and students. These organizations also often use a text messaging marketing service for non-marketing purposes.

Using the same technology as is used for text messaging advertising, political parties bulk text voters on Election Day to “Get Out the Vote”, while faith-based organizations can increase attendances at services and church events with carefully timed SMS text reminders. A text messaging marketing service can also be used to bulk text students in the event of an emergency, when data networks might be overloaded.

Other uses for text message marketing include keeping football fans up to date with the score on game day, advising jobseekers of new employment opportunities, and informing homebuyers when a new property comes on the market. In fact, we never cease to be amazed at the applications for text message marketing.

Text Messaging Marketing Free Help and Advice

If you have any questions about text messaging marketing, free advice is available on our toll-free support line (877) 897-FIRE. Our team of Client Success Managers will be able to provide free text marketing assistance on topics such as:

  • How to export contacts from Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.
  • How to schedule a drip text messaging marketing campaign.
  • How to replace plain text messages with multimedia and voice messages.
  • How to integrate text messaging marketing software with your existing CRM software.
  • And much more.

Our team of Client Success Managers has more than a decade of experience providing assistance and tips to organizations of all sizes. So, regardless of whether you are a Fortune 500 company, a small family business, a non-profit organization or a community group, contact us today to find out more about how your organization can generate engagement and create brand awareness through the power of text messaging marketing.