Text message marketing is one of the most personal and effective ways you can reach your customers. SMS marketing texts have a 98 percent open rate, and 90 percent of people say they respond to a text within 90 seconds. That makes this medium perfect for real-time offers and just checking in with your customers to confirm appointments or perform brief surveys.

But a successful text message marketing campaign is harder than it looks, and it’s about a lot more than simply writing a good marketing text. You need to know the laws surrounding text message marketing as well as how to best engage with people via this medium. Read on to learn more.

text message marketing

You Need to Get Permission to Solicit via Text

You can’t just bombard your customers with marketing texts out of the blue, even if you have their mobile numbers. That’s spamming, and believe it or not, it’s against the law. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 requires you to get your customers’ permission to solicit them via text.

Many businesses achieve this using a keyword campaign, in which you encourage customers to text a keyword to a short code mobile number in order to enroll in text messages. You then need to send them a text message in which you identify yourself, disclose why you want your customers’ contact information (for example, to send them good deals), tell your customers how often they can expect to receive your marketing texts, provide access to the full terms and conditions of that enrollment (usually via direct reply or by following a hyperlink), give them a direct-reply option to opt out of marketing texts, and let them know that their standard messaging and data rates will apply to their receipt of your marketing texts.

The FCC Makes Rules About How and When You Can Text Customers

Getting your customers’ permission isn’t the only thing you need to worry about when you’re setting up texting campaigns. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a few other rules for sending marketing texts. Your marketing texts must identify your business and state your reason for contacting the customer clearly. You’ll need to say, for example, that you’re offering a discount, or that you need them to confirm an appointment, or that you want them to reply to a survey. You can only send text messages to your customers during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and there needs to be the option to stop receiving text messages simply by sending a keyword in reply to any message.

You Need to Advertise Your Mobile Messaging Program

Because you need to get customers’ permission to send them mobile texts, you’ll need to advertise your mobile membership program. Your text messaging campaigns should provide customers with exclusive offers and services that they can’t get any other way. That feeling of exclusivity won’t just give customers a reason to sign up for your text messages; it’ll keep them engaged with your text marketing campaigns long-term.

Advertise your mobile marketing campaign on your social media channels, on your website, and on your marketing materials. Promote your keyword campaign on signage in your location and on your store receipts. Have your employees mention it to your customers. Those who like your brand and want to engage with it more deeply will sign up.

Marketing Texts Should Be Brief and Contain a Few Key Elements

Marketing text messages need to contain a few key elements in order to be both engaging and compliant with the law. They should identify your business and your reason for texting. They should include a messaging rates disclaimer and easy opt-out instructions.

They also need to include a straightforward offer that will interest your customers. Because most people are going to open your marketing texts right away, it’s the perfect medium for time-sensitive offers. Avoid hyping up your brand too much in your marketing texts – remember, you’re talking to people who already like your brand enough to engage with it via text, so you don’t need to talk up your brand. Instead, focus on what you’re offering to your customers in any given message.

Text message marketing can be a great way to reach your customers in real time. It can give you access to a pool of people who have demonstrated an interest in your brand and want to hear about your special promotions and company news. Engage your customers via text now – you’ll be surprised how much it can do for your business.