SMS Marketing

How to text-enable your marketing for instant reach and greater impact

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS Marketing (also known as text marketing) is a tool used by businesses to send promotional or informational text messages to current and potential customers. This is perfect for sending customers product updates, special offers, or event invitations. SMS marketing is also perfect for getting a feel of what your customers are looking for, so you can run fun polls and incentivize them to fill out surveys by offering a coupon. All in all, SMS marketing is simply the most effective way to build an audience and generate more awareness, revenue, or customer satisfaction.

But when you put SMS Marketing into the context of your overall strategy and long term objective, you are likely trying to accomplish more than just a simple single interaction. Rather, you want to nurture the relationship over time to get your audience to like you, learn more, think favorably about your brand, make a purchase, and then tell the rest of the world something positive about your organization. So if your SMS Marketing simply sends out a one-time coupon or an event invite and stops there, then you've lost an opportunity to build a relationship that will bring more value over time.

To achieve this lifecycle engagement, you need sophisticated software that can handle these tasks for you. More details are explained in a later section below.

SMS Marketing Glossary

  • Mobile Keyword

    A mobile keyword is any word you select for your customers to text in order to subscribe to your alerts. When a customer texts in your keyword, a text messaging software will automatically capture their phone number and store it in your database. In an ad reading, “Text ‘DEALS’ to 12345 to join our mobile alert program, ”DEALS” is the mobile keyword.

  • Online Sign-up Page

    An online sign-up page, or OSP for short, allows you to opt subscribers in to your mobile campaigns by filling out an online sign-up form. For some text marketing software providers, their mobile keyword is unable to collect more information than just their phone number, so may rely on online forms to collect things like the subscribers’ name, interests, birthday, etc.

  • Short Code

    Short codes are 5- to 6-digit numbers that are exclusively for text messaging. This means these numbers cannot be called. They are “short”, easier to remember, easy to text on the go, and allow for high throughput SMS marketing.

  • Dedicated Short Code

    These short codes operate exactly the same as their shared variant, shared short codes, but are only used by a single organization. This opens them up to a wider variety of campaigns including text-to-win and text-to-donate programs. You also get to choose any keyword, rather than worrying about whether or not someone else has already claimed it. Dedicated short codes however do come with a relatively high price tag.

  • Long Code

    Long Codes are the 10-digit phone numbers that we are all familiar with. Along with being more readily recognizable as a phone number than short codes, long codes offer the added benefit of being able to use the same number for both calls and texting. Currently, most long codes can only send messages at a rate of 1msg per second. There is however one notable exception to this which is toll-free numbers, which we explain further below.

  • Landline Texting

    Landline Texting (also known as text to landline) enables your business’s existing landline or toll-free number to send and receive text messages. This way, people can get immediate interaction with your business without interrupting their busy day by being stuck on a long phone call or playing email tag. This also lets you only advertise a single number in your collateral, rather than one number for calls and a different number for texts.

  • Toll-Free

    Toll-free numbers are a great number option because they give you the power and flexibility of dedicated short codes, but at a fraction of the cost. Toll-Free numbers are 10-digit numbers that begin with the prefix 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833. Carriers have allowed these numbers to send text messages for SMS marketing purposes.

  • MMS

    Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages enable you to send pictures and videos, making them great for grabbing your audience’s attention and keeping your marketing fun and engaging.

  • Appointment Reminder

    Appointment reminders are messages that remind contacts of an appointment they’ve scheduled or an event. Depending on the texting software you use, you could even target these reminders to only people who indicated they are interested in the event. You could also prompt your contacts to confirm, reschedule, or cancel their appointments so you can get an accurate headcount.

  • Text-to-Win

    Text-to-win campaigns are when contacts text a mobile keyword into your dedicated short code in order to enter into a contest with a prize. Customers wouldn’t normally expect to receive ongoing updates after enrolling in a contest, so be sure to include a disclaimer if you plan to contact them again.

How to Get Started with Your SMS Marketing Campaign

SMS marketing messages need to be sent through an SMS service provider like Trumpia. SMS marketing is more effective than other forms of marketing, like email or radio ads. They are also easy to use and instantly deliver higher response rates than any other messaging channel. Here’s how you create a SMS Marketing campaign:

Create a Way to Sign Up

The first step is to create a way for customers to opt in to receive your messages. Luckily it’s easy to get customer opt-ins and build your subscriber database. There are 4 ways to do this.

  • Mobile keywords allow customers to opt themselves into your messaging campaigns by texting the keyword to your short code or toll-free number. Mobile keywords are great because they can go on your existing advertisements and give customers an easy way to sign up.
  • Online sign-up pages allow customers to opt in by filling out a form on your website, giving you consent to message them as well as their contact information.
  • Provided you have express written consent from your customers that they want to receive messages from you, you can import their contact information into your SMS software so that you can message them.
  • You can also manually add contacts individually, provided of course that you have express written consent from the customer.

Send Your SMS Marketing Message

To send a message, you simply have to log in to your account and compose a message. You can do things like schedule the message to be sent at a later date, target your message to a specific subset of contacts, or insert links for your customers to click. Once you’ve sent your message, your service provider should be able to give you statistics on things like engagement and open rate so that you can gauge how your campaigns are doing.

On a more advanced level, there are platforms with advanced marketing automation, which can do more than simple message scheduling or multiple distribution lists management. For example, they can automatically send messages for you based on triggers you set (see below for more details).

SMS Marketing Compliance Overview

In order to send customers messages, you need to follow some regulations in order to stay compliant with messaging laws. Those include:

  • Don’t Send Unwanted Messages

    Sending messages to customers without their consent is not only a bad practice, it’s illegal! Unlike email, you have to receive a customer’s explicit consent in order to start texting them. Luckily, along with the proper disclosures, mobile keywords and OSPs (detailed above) automatically get that consent for you.

  • Don’t Send Texts at the Wrong Time

    Sending a message too early or too late in the day can alienate your customers and lead to both opt-outs or complaints to your customer service team. Likewise, if you want to send your holiday promotions to your customers, sending them earlier in the week so customers can plan their shopping days and increase the likelihood they will make it into your stores.

Other Dos and Don’ts

Here are some other do’s and don’ts for your marketing campaigns:

  • Dos
    1. 1.Do provide proper disclosures on advertisements.
    2. 2.Do get written or electronic consent from all subscribers before sending text messages.
    3. 3.Do log all proof of consent in case it is requested by wireless carriers in the case of an audit.
    4. 4.Do be mindful of the time of day that you send your messages so you don’t annoy your customers, possibly leading them to opt out.
    5. 5.Do include your company name in your messages so they know who is sending them a message.
    6. 6.Do follow all government and Carrier guidelines for restricted content. Restricted content includes:
      • Hate Speech
      • Firearms
      • Illegal Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco
      • Gambling
      • Death Threats
      • Adult Content
    7. 7.Do use double opt in for Online sign-up pages, which automatically sends a confirmation text to the new subscriber.
  • DON'Ts
    1. 1.Don’t buy lists because you do not have consent from those contacts.
    2. 2.Don’t send promotional messages if they didn’t consent to promotional messages.
    3. 3.Don’t mislead customers on the content or frequency of messages they will receive.
    4. 4.Don’t assume that customers have given consent to be messaged. For example, even if they signed up to receive one type of messaging from you (ie: to enter a text-to-win contest), that does not automatically give you permission to message them about other types of things (ie: deals) unless you previously informed them that they would be receiving those messages as well.
    5. 5.Don’t send a message before you get consent to do so. This includes messages asking them to opt in.

Tips for a Successful SMS Marketing Campaign

Here are some general tips we’ve found have helped our customers get the results they are looking for with their SMS marketing:

You Need More Information

Methods to get more customers and collect more information need to start with opt-in methods that are convenient and easy to use for the consumer. If it’s complicated, the vast majority of them will never take the time to fill out a form or answer a survey.

In the quest for easier methods for customers to opt in to messaging campaigns, more and more Fortune 500 companies are implementing texting into their business outreach efforts. Texting has a 98% message read rate, and it allows you to connect with contacts quickly, as 90% of the text messages are opened within 3 minutes. The great thing about texting is that it’s one of the easiest ways to collect customer information. They can opt in by texting in a mobile keyword, and then answer a few questions that are automatically sent as replies. If you have a texting provider that can capture this data, then you can use it to further target your messages.

Getting all of this information is great, and it will help you with targeting. But it shouldn’t stop there. You should be analyzing this data, so powerful custom reporting is needed to make sure you find and analyze the right trends in order to better understand your customers.

Target Your Messages to Your Audience

Targeting is only able to be as effective as the quality of the data it uses. Customers will give you this data if you give them incentives, whether it’s the chance to get better and more personalized offers or just giving you the opportunity to give them better service based on what you know about them. In fact, 79% of customers are willing to share their information with you if it means they get relevant engagement. Even more powerfully, that number jumps to 88% if they receive personalized offers that are relevant to their interests. If 88% of your audience wants something, then you need to listen.

Between web-based or text message surveys, votes, online sign-up form, data capture and database import, you can build a database that gives you the power to accurately target your messages. But this collected information can’t exist in their own silo, you need to share this data securely with all of your messaging programs to make sure customers get the most targeted communication possible every time you message them, across all channels - text, email, or voice.

Automate Your Marketing

Automation is a big buzzword, and it’s changed nearly everything we own, from our homes, to manufacturing, and even our cars. But what can you do to implement it in your marketing? The simple answer is you can build this yourself if you have a coding team. But if your company doesn’t have a coding team or the programming time to build automation into your systems, there are some cost-effective ways to implement automation.

The first is choosing a partner that can do this for you. Whether it’s choosing a marketing automation provider (like Trumpia) or custom development partner (also Trumpia) to build integrations, you need to automate manual processes in order to make the most out of your employee's time and provide the best customer experiences.

Integrate Your Marketing

In order to make the most of your data, you need to integrate your applications so that they work together. Integration platforms like Zapier allow you to connect thousands of different programs together so that they trigger off of each other, so you can turn your mass of unconnected programs into an interconnected web, saving vital time and resources by unifying your communications. This applies to your CRMs too. Applications like Salesforce allow you to integrate different applications and messaging channels into one easy-to-use interface.

And of course there are always API integrations. Implementing a multichannel API into your programs allows you to scale up to thousands of messages that you can send customers across any channel you’d like. This alleviates the pain of marketing or messaging thousands of contacts on different channels and allows your team to just compose their messages on a platform and automatically send them out on relevant channels.

Use Omni-Channel Communications To Reach Your Entire Audience

One study from Inc. found that poor communication cost businesses over $37 Billion last year. In order to make sure you don’t fall victim to this pitfall, you need to cast a wider net by combining traditional and proven communication channels like email and voice calls with newer and more wide-spread methods like texting and social media.

But if you use multiple software for each of these channels, you’ll be left with multiple bills, multiple platforms to use and train staff on, and multiple reports that won’t give you the full picture. Even worse, you’ll have separate databases that could have completely different information on the same customer. So when you try to target a promotion in your email and texting software, you’ll have different if not incorrect data to work off of.

That is why it is so imperative that you choose a messaging provider that can give you multiple channels in a single integrated platform. This will let you run coordinated campaigns across all your channels based on the same history and targeting data, so you can send the right message, through the right channel, at the right time.

According to Salesforce, over 60% of marketers feel unequipped to reach their audience across multiple channels. So when you adopt a multi-channel strategy, your company will have a natural advantage over the competition.

The Trumpia SMS Marketing Advantage

Trumpia’s intelligent SMS Marketing solution does more than the simple mass text marketing from other providers.

Text Automation

Trumpia’s Automated Workflows enables users to set their multi-channel campaigns to run by themselves. The system will automatically carry out set tasks for the user whenever a preset trigger or condition is met.

Even better, the Automated Workflows feature is capable of automatically branching text communications down diverging paths based on how the customer responds to prompts or questions. This allows our users to answer frequently asked questions and send exactly the information or links a customer is looking for without tying up their team on phone calls.

Let’s look at an example of how much more powerful our Automated Workflows feature can be when compared to a simple automation software. For this example, we’ll use a sports supply store. With a simple SMS marketing service, the most they could do is schedule a series of sales alerts to all of their customers. But with Trumpia, they can do so much more. To start, when the customer texts the keyword to sign up for alerts, they could automatically be asked questions over time like what sports they’re interested in, if they play a sport or are more of a spectator, and which location they live closest to. Their answers would automatically be captured into Trumpia’s database, so the store could target messages with pinpoint accuracy. This way, when the Los Angeles location needs to move some extra inventory of overstocked golf clubs, they’re a) not sending a link to soccer items, and b) not sending the alert to customers who live in New York when the NY location isn’t having the same sale. Then, they can track who’s shown interest by clicking on the link, so they can automatically send them updated reminders about when the sale is about to end.

It’s this connected string of interactions that makes Trumpia’s Automated Workflows so powerful. While the simpler service requires a ton of manual intervention and time at every step, Trumpia’s Marketing Automation is able to fully automate the entire engagement cycle so the staff can focus on more pressing matters.

Smart Targeting

Trumpia’s Smart Targeting sorts contacts into separate virtual groups based on criteria you collect, from customer characteristics and specific interests to their behavior. This lets you send SMS marketing messages that are actually targeted to your subscribers, leading to more effective engagement and fewer opt outs.

  • Unlike traditional SMS marketing services that can only send a wave of untargeted messages using no or one targeting variable, Trumpia’s Smart Targeting gets you results by maintaining your customer satisfaction by making sure they don’t feel spammed using its multivariate targeting.
  • Our Dynamic Targets keep your filtered distribution lists organized in real time, automatically updating whenever a new subscriber is added, a contact unsubscribes, or an existing profile gets updated.

Lifecycle Engagement

Trumpia takes pride in something none of our competitors can match – Lifecycle Engagement. This means our SMS marketing platform is more than just a toolbox of features like coupon or keyword, it works for you to automatically engage your subscribers at every stage of their relationship with your organization.

  • From initial sign-up, through nurturing, to conversion, and the feedback loop, our system can engage subscribers based on their prior behavior and collected data.
  • By providing automated, intelligent, and tailored service, customers are more likely to become satisfied and advocates for your business.

Omni-Channel Messaging

Trumpia isn’t just for SMS marketing, we provide a variety of marketing channels so you can ensure you reach 100% of your audience.

  • Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages enable you to send vivid pictures and videos, immediately grabbing your audience’s attention.
  • Our email comes with many of the same advanced capabilities that SMS does, like templates, targeting, message scheduling, and even automation.
  • With a single integrated platform, we offer synced data, combined reports, and coordinated campaigns.

SMS API

Thousands of customers come to Trumpia for our highly scalable messaging API that is proven to be profoundly effective for SMS marketing. They then stay for life because of our unmatched service, time-saving productivity tools, and a variety of other messaging advantages described above.

  • Trumpia’s API service supports short codes, long codes, and toll-free numbers. Both short codes and toll-free numbers come with high throughput and work with our programmer tools.
  • With Trumpia API, our short codes can send up to 1,000 messages per second with proper provisioning.
  • With our toll-free numbers, you can send up to 150 messages per second, which is much faster than the slow speeds a typical competitor can offer with their toll-free API.
  • We aren’t just limited to SMS. Using our integrated solution, send messages via text messaging, email, and voice broadcast.