If a client or customer has given you their phone number, this is a sign of trust. To break this trust and misuse their information can result in losing potential customers, income, and credibility. It can also result in legal repercussions if you are not careful. The following article will explore the different elements of SMS marketing and the steps you need to take to make sure your marketing strategy is legal and responsible.
What Is SMS Marketing?
SMS, more recently known as text messaging, stands for short message service. Marketing sent to customers via text message is known as SMS marketing. Common SMS marketing messages include coupons, alters, and promotions sent to highly-targeted customers who have given their phone number and their permission to be sent text messages.
The reason this is so appealing to businesses is that people check their phone messages far more often than they check other forms of messaging. Americans unlock their phones an average of 150 times per day. It is estimated that you click, tap, or swipe on your phone over 2600 times per day.
When it comes to SMS marketing, businesses and organizations need to be aware of their recipients’ permission. The customer or client must have given explicit consent to receive marketing via SMS. This is called permission-based marketing. There are three common ways of gaining this permission:
- Contest entries.
- Opt-in forms online.
- Texting a keyword to a provided shortcode.
Permission-based marketing tends to be stronger than other forms of marketing. This is because the recipient has given authorization, indicating that they are interested in the product or service being presented. Anyone receiving SMS marketing is a warm lead.
Interruption marketing is the opposite of permission-based marketing. This involves methods where marketers attempt to interrupt potential clients and customers to force a promotion or offer in front of the eyes of a potential buyer. While this method has become popular worldwide, it is losing its effectiveness as people become better able to block out this type of messaging.
If you are looking into using text messaging as part of your marketing strategy, you must first make sure you are following the law. Because of its potentially invasive nature, several industries are not allowed to market to their customers via text message.
- Gambling-based businesses like casinos
- Businesses that lend money to their consumers
- Organizations that provide adult content or services like alcohol, legal drugs, medication, and smoking, which require the recipient to be above a certain age
- Businesses focusing on medical services or healthcare
- Some countries ban political and religious SMS messaging services.
- Any messages that promote hate speech or violence or aggression towards people
In addition to the above list, many countries have more specific laws and regulations that you will need to obey. For example, in France, there is a window of time where marketing content is allowed to be delivered. By law, it is illegal for marketing content to be delivered between 9 PM and 7 AM. You will need to do your research on what is allowed in your location.
You will also be required by law to provide a link or method within each message for recipients to unsubscribe from the service. (This subscription must be obeyed on your part). The most common methodology is to include a footnote specifying that the customer can stop receiving SMS messages by texting back STOP.
Responsible SMS Marketing
Once you are certain that your marketing strategy follows the laws in your location, you can begin to think about responsibly managing your marketing. Remember that you are sending a message to a person, with a life. A text message is one of the most personal forms of marketing and it will be seen by the recipient. If what you send is harmful or rude or annoying, they will not hesitate to block you.
Likely, you’re going to want to send a nice introduction message to begin with, not a sale-focused notification. This will help build further trust by letting the person know that they have not made a mistake by sharing their phone number with you. Your message should also include how often they can expect to receive SMS messages from you.
Offer genuine value. SMS marketing is not going to work for every business structure, that is because the messages you are sending need to offer genuine value to your customer. A strong case study example is an astrology-based business. Offering a daily horoscope sent to someone via text message is a fantastic example of providing authentic value to the recipient of the message.
With the above things kept in mind, you are well on your way to employing SMS marketing responsibly. Make sure to track the effectiveness of your messages and your conversion rates as it can be quite costly. Always do your research on the laws in your location before taking any actions.