Text messages have been around for ages, they are so ubiquitous that you almost forget they are there. Sending someone a text is a very personal thing, maybe more so than an email. You expect marketing messages via email but text feels more intrusive somehow.
Not many companies use them as a marketing tactic, but perhaps they should.
Could text marketing work for your business?
Text marketing needs to be handled very carefully. Small local businesses, like plumbers, builders, cleaners, bakers or mechanics, who have a one-to-one relationship with customers would be ideal users of text marketing. They could give alerts on deliveries, last minute offers, reminders for servicing etc (lots already do this).
I’ve seen it work before on targetted lists of customers who have a very specific need, in this case, it was a paint manufacturer marketing to painters and decorators. The results were pretty good as the painters were generally out on the road and using text all the time, far more than email in fact.
The key to using text as a marketing tool is to ensure you have the right relationship with your customer. If you suddenly began to get texts from Nescafe asking you to buy a new bottle of coffee, it might feel intrusive. But if the local coffee shop (or chain) texted telling you about their new menu and offering a discount code, then that would work well.
Text as part of a political campaign
The spark for this post came from the current Labour leadership election. I’ve never had a political text before now and the approaches used by the two camps are interesting to look at.
Using text, email and social media in political campaigns is pretty new in the UK, the Americans have been using it for years, so it’s interesting to see how British politicians use these new tools.
Here are my thoughts on the text messages, without making any comment on either candidate’s politics.
Jeremy Corbyn’s text
The text from Jeremy Corbyn came in the early afternoon. At the start of the text, he introduces himself, which is important because on most phones only a few lines are shown in the preview of the text and unless you have the number being used as a contact in your phone all you get is the number as an identifier. The message is short and to the point with a clear call to action.
Owen Smith’s text
Owen Smith’s text starts off really well, using personalisation, something Jeremy’s text lacked. It came a later in the afternoon when people will have been at work and may have found the text intrusive. He doesn’t identify himself until further down the text, meaning that his name isn’t visible in the text preview.
Again the message is pretty short with a clear call to action. However, it’s weaker due to the phrasing – YES, NO, NOT SURE – leaves two negative terms to choose from, whereas the other text left the door open with YES, NO, MAYBE.
It would be interesting to know if either candidate tried testing different copy on these messages and what the results were.
7 Points to remember if you’re using text marketing
- Ensure you have your own opted in list of customers
- Introduce your business early in the text
- Keep your message short and to the point
- Have a clear call to action
- Ensure you have an opt-out, just like on email
- Test different copy, days and times of day
- Don’t over text