Text Message Marketing Best Practices

Text message marketing can be extremely effective. However, there are a few guidelines that must be followed. They help you get the most return and make sure your program follows federal rules. When done well, a text message marketing campaign can yield fantastic results. To make the most of your text message campaign, here are best practices.

  1. Stay professional
    While it may be tempting to use texting shorthand or abbreviations it’s best to avoid them (think ‘u’ instead of ‘you’) and  only use regular abbreviations when necessary to save space (“exp.” instead of “expire,” for example). Your brand’s message should still be a professionally crafted message. Also, brevity is key – do not try to fill all 160 characters if you don’t need to.
  2. Make it easy
    Opting in (or out) of any text message campaign should be easy for the user. Keeping codes short, or asking the user to text a number should be something short. Pro tip: the best way to get a large number of entries on your list is to host a sweepstakes. Keep it short and easy to get the biggest number of entries!
  3. Plan what, then when
    It’s important for these text messages to come at a time that will not seem intrusive to the client. Acceptable hours for your text to go out should be business hours, around 9 am – 6 pm. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a client’s personal phone and to be respectful of it.
  4. Comply with the TCPA
    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was made to protect the very people you are trying to market to. To avoid any legal issues, make sure that everyone on your mobile list has opted into receiving messages from you. There are also certain messages that should be included in your opt-in language (“Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to stop. You provide consent to receive autodialed text messages.”)

These tips will  help improve customer response and ensure a successful campaign.

Wholly Guacamole Sweepstakes Could Benefit from a Mobile Coupon

Wholly Guacamole Fridge Makeover Sweepstakes is beautifully made, polished and a very creative contest. I love the spokesperson persona of the 50s housewife with white pearls and the talking fridge begging for healthy food and a makeover.

The sweepstakes objectives seem to be two-fold:

1.    Capture name, email and zip code as part of the entry (pretty straightforward)
2.    Provide a discount coupon on purchase (not so straight forward)

Coupon delivery methodology should be streamlined

They do a great job with the branding and messaging but where they stumble is in the coupon delivery methodology. The first hurdle is going through a printer status check list before you can proceed. The list asks you to check your printer for paper, ensure your printer is on, check ink levels and make sure it’s connected.

It’s pretty crazy to assume that people who intend to print need that many instructions on printing. It’s a safe bet that if you have a printer, this is not the first time you are using it. It gets more burdensome… after you check your printer’s status, you have to download www.coupons.com app in order to print the coupon. What? Yes, I said the same thing. Download an app to get a coupon?

Why a printer checklist? People who own a printer know how to work one.

Why do I have to download an app to get a coupon?

My question for Wholly Guacamole is why make it so cumbersome to print a simple coupon? Isn’t the goal to get them the coupon as easily as possible so they can use it to buy guacamole? A link to a page where the coupon is will suffice. People know how to print it. Or better yet, add an instant mobile coupon they can request via text message. This way they don’t event have to print it and the coupon is on their mobile phone.

Make it easy to get the coupon and join the sweepstakes!

Wholly Guacamole could say “To get this coupon on your phone, text GUAC to 65047.” Simple, elegant and effective. The company could then print the mobile coupon call-to-action in all the product packages, website, and social media outlets. And now with the permission to text them, you can send them a text letting them know about the Wholly Guacamole Fridge Makeover Sweepstakes and how they could join from their mobile phone. They could leverage their super nice mobile website by creating a mobile sweepstake entry point.

This sweepstakes would benefit tremendously from mobile since it bridges the gap between the purchase at the retail store and the online world by letting the consumer easily pull the coupon on the go or from the website.

Southwest Airline’s Parental Guidance Family Getaway Sweepstakes is Missing the Mobile Consumer

Southwest Airlines is offering a sweepstake where one lucky family will win a trip for four to California’s Disneyland. In the Southwest Airlines and Parental Guidance sweepstakes, the only apparent way to enter is to visit the sweepstake web page and complete the form. The entry form is  simple and all it asks for is your first name, last name, email and date of birth (to ensure you’re 18 years of age). But mobile users are out of luck, because the site is not mobile optimized.

If Southwest Airlines is targeting families and travel consumers on the go, it is limiting it’s reach by not offering a mobile optimized entry form or a text-in entry system, where potential participants can send a text message and begin the entry process. Something as simple as “Text PG to 65047 to enter” would be sufficient and effective. Since the airline is only requesting basic information to enter, a text-in “call to action” that responds with a link to a mobile-optimized form would facilitate the entry process tremendously. It would also open up the sweepstakes to gain more entries from mobile users.

Southwest Airlines would benefit from capturing not only the entrant’s contact information and email, but also the most important number in a customer’s life…their mobile phone.

How to Set Up a Text Message Donation Program for a Small Nonprofit

Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, there are many relief efforts underway.  Many are supported by donations (see links to donate below) and some, like the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, are even using mobile technology to get text message donations quickly and easily.

If you’re a non-profit organization or a small business supporting a cause, you can easily create your own text message donation program as well.

Set up a Donors Mobile Campaign

Here’s how it works:

  • Ask donors to give a donation by sending a text with your new keyword to 65047.
  • An automatic response can be set to thank donors and link them to a mobile optimized credit card processing form to complete the donation.
  • The donations are then transferred to the organization.

We realize it’s a little extra work to have donors complete a credit card from instead of automatically charging the donation on the mobile phone bill. But the auto billing system is costly for small organizations, the organization needs to be a large national charity and requires a year-long contract.

Advantages of our mobile donations system

Our mobile donations campaign offers a few advantages…

  • You can collect donations of more than $10 (the max limit for donations billed through cell phone carriers).
  • You can collect additional information such as name, mobile phone, address and email as part of the transaction.
  • It’s easy to promote this campaign in ads, TV or radio.
  • It’s easier for donors to pledge while they’re away from home or their computers.
  • You’ll have a mobile list of donors you can contact later—to thank them, announce you’ve reached your goal, etc.

We sincerely hope nonprofits and charities take advantage of mobile technology to support their causes. If you’re a member of such a group, contact us. We’d be happy to work with you to get started.

To send your own donation to relief efforts visit…

Red Cross Disaster Relief
(Or send a text with REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10)