Reaching leads and even existing customers is more challenging than ever before. Their attention is split between various online and offline sales channels, so you’ll have to work harder to get your business in front of their face.
One of the best ways to overcome the complexity of addressing all online sales channels is to target the offline channel that acts as the gateway to them all: their cell phone.
Text message marketing can be an incredibly effective marketing strategy that provides you a direct line to your leads’ focus, helping to establish a more intimate relationship that can lead to up to 40% more sales. But it needs to be done right.
While it may be tempting to send out a text blast to reach as many people as possible, the real value comes from responsible targeted text marketing – and we’ll show you how.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What a text blast is
- The problem with basic text blasts
- How to send targeted mass texts
- How to choose your text marketing software
Let’s get started.
What Is a Text Blast?
A text blast is a single text message sent to a large group of people all at the same time. Text message blasts usually contain words only, though they may include a link or even emojis, images, and videos. They are sent to large lists of contacts, and typically do not include recipients’ information (e.g., names or loyalty statuses).
Businesses—often retail brands—send SMS blasts to promote coupons or products. Other organizations, from local governments to charities, may send them to increase turnout for events (e.g., elections, fairs), raise awareness for causes (e.g., charities, fundraising), or even share emergency information (e.g., inclement weather).
While a text blast is a good way to get information out to an audience quickly, they’re best reserved for bulletins and other informational purposes – not sales.
The Problem with Text Blasts
As a business, it’s essential that you maintain a good relationship and positive brand sentiment with your customers. A critical factor in this relationship is trust – trust that you will handle their personal information respectfully and treat them as a person, not a number.
Your leads and customers subscribed to your texting list for a reason — it’s your job to provide them with the value they expect. When you send out text blasts, you’re limiting your ability to customize the message for a specific segment because the message has to apply to a broader range of leads, lowering the chances of your message connecting with recipients and converting. With 71% of consumers expecting companies to deliver personalized messages (and 70% getting frustrated when they’re not personalized), sending messages that can be construed as spam is likely to be useless and may even actually hurt your relationship.
In the same way that sending spam emails can turn potential buyers off of your company, violating the more intimate channel of texting can get you a one-way ticket to the block list – especially if you send text blasts often.
Fortunately, there’s an easier way to make text message marketing work for you.
Targeted Mass Texting: The Superior Form of Text Blasts
Text message marketing is an incredibly effective form of marketing, but if you’re sending text blasts, you’re not getting the most out of it. Instead of focusing on casting the widest net, aim to add to the most value and connect with your leads through targeting and conversational marketing.
Conversational marketing is sending personalized mass texts to targeted audiences. While you still send the same basic information to lists of customers, the goal is to segment your audiences and provide value for their specific needs. Segments can include their lifecycle stage (e.g., whether they’re a lead or customer), purchasing behavior, or demographics that helps you to refine the message of your text to the recipient. You may ask a question about a specific purchase they made, make an offer based on whether they’ve bought before or are a new customer, or highlight new releases that match their interests – anything to provide value for the customer’s specific situation.
In addition, conversational marketing encourages sending messages that ask customers to reply and start conversations, instead of just sending messages without expecting any engagement. By engaging in conversation, the message is less likely to be interpreted as an advertisement or spam. Plus, conversational marketing helps your teams engage leads, starting conversations that build long-term trust and loyalty.
How to Skip the Blasts and Send Targeted Texts
Now that you’ve learned why targeted texts are superior to text blasts, it’s time to learn the mechanics of sending them.
While the steps might differ depending on the platform you choose, they’ll look something like these four steps:
- Get a text messaging platform. Mass texts are easy to send with help from a text service for business, so choose one that lets you target your audience and customize your message for interactions. If you’ve already got one, sign in. If not, keep reading to learn what features to look for when choosing your own.
- Select a list of customers. Your list should be small and segmented. Ensure the list members have something in common (e.g., location or loyalty status) so you can target the message you write in the following section.
- Choose or write your message. Create an SMS template, leaving space for each contact’s custom fields. Remember that each text should speak directly to the list you’ve chosen.
- Send now, or schedule for later. Finally, press “send” or schedule the text for a later time.
How to Choose Your Text Message Marketing Software
If you’re going to make the most out of your targeted messaging campaign, you need software that can help make things easy for you.
Look for these six features:
Whether your mailing list is 10 or 10,000, your software needs to seamlessly scale so that you can continue to grow your business without worrying about outgrowing your mass texting software.
The more targeted your mailing list, the more you can personalize your messages to achieve better results – and your software should make it simple to organize and refine your lists.
Personalizing can be time consuming, so look for a service with custom fields so that you don’t have to edit personal details manually.
Scheduling messages based on a variety of factors can let you nurture relationships automatically, saving you time.
Refine your messages based on real-time data about metrics like engagement rates, response rates, and list performance for better results.
Legal compliance is essential to successful mass texting, so be sure that your program of choice helps you only message those who are actively subscribed and makes it easy for your contacts to opt out.
Important Notes to Consider
Before you start sending targeted texts, there are three last things to consider in regards to SMS compliance to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Even if you’re sending to small lists, there are rules you must follow:
- Ensure leads and customers are opted in to your marketing messages before you message them. Your business can use texting for everything from marketing to conversational support. But customers must opt in to messages from a specific team before you can send them. For example, if customers have opted into customer support messages, you may not send them marketing texts.
- Clearly describe what information you’ll be texting. Wherever you decide to include opt-in instructions, whether it’s on your social media or email newsletter, add a thorough description of what recipients can expect. For example, mention how many messages they will receive monthly, and explain that standard texting rates will apply.
- Allow message recipients to opt out easily. Leads and customers must be able to opt out whenever they’d like. Remind recipients of your opt-out instructions in each of your outgoing messages. As soon as a customer opts out of your messaging services, your texting platform should be able to remove them from your lists.
Sticking to these TCPA requirements will only improve customer relationships. They’ll know you’re only going to send them texts they want—making them excited about opening each message that lands in their inbox.
Conclusion: From Text Blasts to Targeted Texting
It’s tempting to take the easy path and simply send a text blast to reach your recipients, but they come at a high cost — the lack of personalization can decrease lead and customer trust, and even violate telecom standards in some cases.
Fortunately, targeted texting can help you to get your message across while increasing trust and building loyalty – and the right text service for business makes it just as easy as sending text blasts.