Here’s Your Complete Guide to Data-Driven Text Message Marketing

SMS marketing and big data can be a match made in heaven for savvy marketing strategists.
data-driven sms marketing
Shutterstock Photo License - By Vitalii Vodolazskyi

Big data has played a prominent role in many forms of marketing. A growing number of organizations are exploring the benefits of using big data to optimize their SEO, social media and even telemarketing strategies.

One thing that doesn’t get discussed much in the context of data-driven marketing is the role it plays in text message marketing. A growing number of organizations are investing in data analytics to create successful text message marketing campaigns.

Big Data Technology Makes Text Message Marketing Far More Viable

Text message marketing is the wave of the future — at least, the future of mobile advertising. Most people turn off push notifications for email and social media, especially when they start getting a lot of marketing messages on those accounts. But those people are still looking at their phones an average of 160 times a day, and they’re opening 90 percent of their SMS marketing messages within three minutes of receiving them. So, while users might leave marketing emails unopened and scroll right past Facebook advertisements, they’re still engaging with text message marketing.

But you can’t just buy a list of phone numbers off the dark web and start sending volleys of marketing texts whenever you feel like it — that’s illegal, and even if it weren’t, there are still best practices you need to follow to keep your messages effective and your customers engaged. If you really want to stand out and create a winning text message marketing strategy, then you are going to need to use data analytics to your full advantage.

Even back in 2013, Business Insider published an article saying that big data was the lynchpin of mobile marketing. It is even more important today, as marketers need to use big data to refine their campaigns and ensure compliance.

Here’s what you need to know to use data analytics to stay on the right side of the law, avoid annoying your customers, and make the most of your text message marketing campaigns.

Know the Law

If you want to market to your customer base via text message to their phone numbers, you have to follow guidelines laid out in both the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act. For text message marketing, that means you need to get users to consent to receive marketing text messages and to give you their numbers for that purpose. When they sign up, send a confirmation text letting them know that they’ve opted into receiving marketing text messages from your company, and including clear instructions to opt-out if they want. The confirmation message should include:

  • Your company name;
  • The types of text messages the user can expect to receive;
  • A statement establishing that no purchase is necessary;
  • The number of messages you plan to send monthly;
  • A warning to the user that standard messaging rates apply; and
  • Clear opt-out instructions.

You should also be sure to include the fine print in any materials promoting your text message marketing program.

Big data can help with all of these efforts. One of the biggest benefits is that big data makes it easier to identify the geography of your customers to know which laws apply. You can also use automated tools to scrub data that doesn’t meet your requirements.

Respect Your Customers’ Time

Immediacy is a big selling point for text message marketing, and you want your customers opening those messages, reading them, and ideally acting on them right away.

So, don’t send your marketing messages in the middle of the night or at other odd times when customers aren’t likely to be receptive. You’re not going to open a text message offering a discount from your favorite restaurant at 3:00 a.m. — even though it is your favorite restaurant. Send your messages during normal business hours and on days when customers are most receptive. Then you can use the immediacy of the medium to your advantage, creating a sense of urgency with offers that expire quickly. Many restaurants use text message marketing for one-day promotions with great success.

Big data is great for helping with scheduling. A lot of SMS automation tools make it easier to automate your schedules to align with the times customers are most likely to convert.

Keep It Short, Sweet, and to the Point

Most people have unlimited text messaging on their phone plans these days, but customers probably won’t take the time to read a lengthy, multi-text marketing message. Customers start to lose interest in the message as soon as they realize it’s a marketing text, so you want to get to your value proposition, clear instructions, and call to action (CTA) as soon as possible. Stay below the 160-character limit for text messages. Lead with the value proposition, give clear instructions for how the customer can redeem the promotion or take advantage of the sale (for example, “click here” or “show this text message to your server”) and follow up with a CTA immediately. Include the expiration time or date and use a URL shortener to eliminate long, unsightly hyperlinks that could push your message over the character limit. Don’t be afraid to include multimedia messaging to incorporate visual components like photos and videos, or even audio components.

Reward Your Customers

Customers who trust your company with their mobile phone numbers should be rewarded with exclusive promotional offers only extended to them. If you’re sending the info through other mediums or offering the promotion elsewhere, it’s not exclusive enough to include in your text message marketing campaign — and if customers aren’t offered something special for opting into your text marketing program, they’re not going to do it. Make it worthwhile and offer discounts, promotions, and exclusive info customers can’t get anywhere else.

Text message marketing can be a powerful and effective way to reach your most loyal customers with promotions and offers that reward them for that loyalty. Integrate text messaging into your next marketing campaign, and let it work wonders for your business.

You can use data analytics to help with your SMS rewards strategy as well. You will be able to use data mining tools to get more insights on the types of incentives that work best with your target audience.

Big Data is Key to Creating a Winning SMS Marketing Strategy

There are a lot of great opportunities to create a thriving SMS marketing strategy if you use big data. Data analytics technology helps you better optimize your strategies and automate important parts of your funnel.

Ryan Kh
Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content & social marketer. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Email: ryankh14@icloud.com