Targeting Privacy-Cautious Consumers via SMS: How to Do It Right?

September 15, 2023 | By Eliza Medley
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Is SMS marketing even a thing when everyone is so focused on privacy? Yes! And if you do it right, it can be very beneficial. Discover some tips below...

While the world is increasingly digitized, the average customer is becoming more aware and protective of their privacy – which is good. However, let's look at this topic from the marketer's side. How do you manage SMS marketing in this situation?

SMS marketing is a type of digital marketing in which you can connect and engage customers on a different level than public social media profiles. Text messages can be used to inform about discounts, send short newsletters, or share promotional codes, and this – if used properly – can increase sales.

However, while the modern world is data-driven, today's customer is also becoming more wary and privacy-focused. Most people are not fond of receiving unsolicited ads and messages from brands. Many even go out of their way to shield themselves from marketers by installing tools such as VPNs for mobile devices and ad-blockers.

It doesn't mean that SMS marketing is impossible. It means it must be done correctly, considering customer privacy and legal regulations (such as GDPR, if marketing within Europe). Implementing marketing strategies based on consent and privacy can benefit a brand. It ensures that customers who receive communications are interested in them, increases engagement and reach, and improves the customer-brand relationship.

How to Do SMS Marketing in a Privacy-Focused World?

So, how should you approach SMS marketing? Here are some tips.

Provide Transparent Opt-in and Opt-Out Options

Enabling the customer to make an informed and conscious decision to consent to marketing communications is best practice, and sometimes required. You should ensure your management system enables clear opt-in and opt-out options. Customers need to know what they are signing up for and how to withdraw their consent. In addition, your system must allow immediate action if a customer opts out of communications. While this is important for regulatory reasons, remember that "trapping" customers into consenting to marketing doesn't work today. It can weaken your brand's image and paint it as untrustworthy. Most SMS systems make this easy by automatically removing people if they reply STOP to any of your texts.

Specify Communication Options

Do you want to simultaneously contact customers via email and SMS? If so, you’ll want to give them the option to choose one, two, or neither. A given person may want to receive email newsletters but not text messages. A few years ago, it was typical to combine these options, but as we mentioned above – tricking customers into agreeing to your brand's marketing is not the right way to go. Most people, given the choice of receiving all messages or none, will choose none.

Allowing customers to choose their preferred communication options will improve the quality of your list. Customers who consent to your marketing are generally interested in your products, engaged, and more trusting of your brand.

Be Professional

Professionalism in marketing is not just about professional communication (although it's still important). It's also about data protection. Whatever customer data you request, store, and process, you need to make sure it is as secure as possible. Your customers are likely aware of the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks. If your company suffers from this kind of threat, it will only damage the trust and reputation you have built.

A professional marketing strategy also requires transparent information about how and why you collect certain data.

Ensure Security

Before you start targeting customers with SMS-based marketing communications, make sure all your systems are as secure as possible. SSL encryption is a must these days – no informed customer will trust you if your pages and forms are not protected with SSL encryption, the most basic and common security measure.

Focus on what goes on inside your company. Ensure employees are trained, use MFA (multi-factor authentication), and know data security risks.

Be Careful About What (and How) You Communicate

Be aware that some products and services shouldn't be advertised, and your SMS marketing campaign should avoid them. For example, in some countries, gambling advertisements are completely banned, while others have partial bans. Regulations can vary from area to area, so learn about your local advertising laws.

Also, make sure your communications are effective and precise but not spammy or intrusive. It's better to send fewer messages, but make sure they're enticing. Sending text messages en masse to ensure customers know about an ongoing promotion will discourage them and force them to unsubscribe from your list or block your number.



Eliza Medley is an experienced writer and psychologist. She is actively interested in management, new technologies, and writing motivational articles. She also loves catching up on modern trends. She inspires people to learn new things and reach new heights with her work.

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