Texting ads: the marketing of the future.
OK, not so much the future. Texting’s obviously been around for a while (since the 90s).
But strangely, it’s still not quite as much of a marketing staple as, say, email. So even if you’re a well established business, you may not have jumped into the world of texting ads as much as you’d like.
(Case in point: according to an article from G2, 61% of marketers still didn’t use SMS marketing as of 2022.)
In this post, we’ll go through the in’s and out’s of advertising via texting.
From understanding the fundamentals of texting ads to exploring their unique benefits and best practices, you’ll get valuable insights and tips to unlock the full potential of this effective marketing tool. Get ready to discover how texting ads can drive customer engagement, increase conversions, and take your business to new heights.
First, let’s get a simple definition.
“Texting ads” refers to advertising done via SMS (short messaging service). These ads are sent from a business to a recipient’s mobile device with the intention of convincing the recipient to take some kind of action (either making a purchase or moving the recipient further down the sales funnel so that they are more likely to make a purchase in the future).
These ads typically contain concise yet impactful content and offer businesses a unique opportunity to establish personalized and immediate connections with their customers, making them a valuable tool in the modern marketing toolkit.
There are positives and negatives to just about everything. So why should (or shouldn’t) you use texting as an advertising solution?
Here are some of the potential pros and cons.
As a whole, texting is a powerful (and often untapped) advertising strategy.
Here are some of the reasons why it can work so well.
The read rate for SMS is by some reports as high as 98%.
That alone makes texting ads an option worth exploring and optimizing.
Higher read rates means more people seeing your ads. More people seeing your ads means more people taking action on your ads.
And more people taking action on your ads ultimately means… more revenue.
(Just think about what could happen if 98% of audiences actually saw your advertising messages in your other channels. That would be transformative for your marketing!)
Most people have smartphones. Reportedly, there are almost 7 billion smartphones across the globe.
And even of those that don’t have smartphones, almost everyone has some kind of cell phone (as many as 95% of Americans).
That means your potential for whom you can reach is very, very broad.
In other words, you can reach almost anybody—and very quickly.
Texting is more personal than almost any other form of advertising.
WIth texting ads, you’re reaching people directly on their phones in their own personal SMS inbox. As with email, you can even include your recipients’ personal names in your text blasts to make it that much more individualized.
This kind of “personalness” means that texting as an ad channel has a lot of potential to really reach your audience.
Though sending texting ads is broadly a beneficial and powerful solution, there are a few things to keep in mind.
If you compare texting ads with email ads, at first glance it may seem like texting is more expensive.
However, you have to keep in mind that SMS has a much higher read rate and generates much more engagement than emails. So you don’t need to send as many messages in order to see good ROI on your ads.
So comparing costs between SMS and email is an apple-to-orange comparison. Instead, you’ll want to just look at your ROI.
Another thing to keep in mind is that people are less willing to give out their phone numbers than they are to give out their email addresses.
This hesitancy can make it more difficult to build as large of a recipient list.
But keep in mind the point we mentioned earlier—since SMS has a higher read rate, you don’t actually need as many contacts in order for it to be successful.
It’s true that compliance rules with SMS are a bit stricter than with email.
We’ll get more into compliance a bit later on, but suffice it to say that it’s not as difficult as you might think—and also not legally frightening. (Accidentally violating compliance rules will typically just result in messages not getting successfully delivered by the phone carriers.)
Creating a texting ad isn’t much different than creating an email or social media post.
As with any marketing effort, before you embark on pursuing it, you’ll need to make a plan.
Think about factors such as:
What’s your goal for the advertising campaign?
What action(s) do you want recipients to take in light of your goal?
How many messages will you send as a part of your ad campaign?
Who’s the target audience for your messages?
Having a plan in place will help give you direction so that you know where your advertising efforts are going.
Once you’ve thought a bit about what you’d like your text ad campaign to look like, you’ll be able to choose a texting platform (such as Mobile Text Alerts) that will help you accomplish the goals you’ve established.
Choose a platform that offers what you need to do what you want to do.
If you have access to web developers, you can choose a platform that gives you access to an SMS API, which can open the door to a lot of customization and integration options.
If you don’t plan on programming integrations, make sure your platform is out-of-the-box enough that you can do what you need to do without a lot of hassle.
Here are a few texting platforms that you can choose from (these are just a sampling of SMS providers out there, but it gives you a taste of what you can find)…
Our platform at Mobile Text Alerts gives you an easy-to-use platform that you can get up and running in minutes.
You get access to a full range of features including automated messaging, reporting tools, and multiple opt-in methods to help you get more subscribers. Each account comes with free API access so if you have developers, you can build out your own customizations and integrations at no extra charge.
You can also get a 30-minute 1-on-1 consultation with an SMS expert to help go through the platform with you and offer you guidance as you get started. Furthermore, you get access to live support reps from directly within your online dashboard.
(Not to mention, new educational resources are published every week.)
SlickText is a popular mass texting solution.
They offer all the typical features you’d expect from a mass texting platform, plus a couple of unique features.
They’re known for being easy and user-friendly.
Plans start at $29/month.
TextMagic offers pay-as-you-go solutions with a base of $10/month to lease a phone number.
Like Mobile Text Alerts and SlickText, they’re also known for being easy to use.
Pricing is $10 per month + $0.049 per regular message and $.08 per picture message (custom plans available for users sending 10,000 messages or more per month).
Whether you want to do a single ad or a series of ads, you can set it all up within your texting platform.
You’ll do that either by scheduling all of the messages manually, or by creating a workflow of messages to go out over a period of time.
(You can input your ad campaign using your texting platform’s dashboard or the API.)
Once your messages start sending, you’ll obviously want to monitor the results of your texting ads.
You can use UTMs and link tracking to see what kinds of results you’re getting.
Your SMS platform will have some analytics available within your online dashboard.
You can run texting ads about anything and everything.
Here are a few examples…
The most common type of texting ad would probably be simple discounts or sales.
Texting is one of the absolute best ways to let people know about a sale.
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Advertising a free item with a purchase? A giveaway? Free shipping? Some other promotion?
Texting is your friend.
For a limited time, when you make any purchase of $50 or more, we're thrilled to give you a FREE deluxe skincare sample set worth $25! 🎉✨ Elevate your beauty routine with top-of-the-line products that will leave your skin glowing and radiant! 🌺 Use promo code DELUXE at checkout: http://mbltxt.com/Hhk
What better way to advertise a new product or service than with a notification right on your subscribers’ phones?
After all, people can’t enjoy the benefits of what you offer if they don’t know about it.
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If no one shows up to your events (whether in-person events like conferences, summits, and special events at your physical location, or digital events like webinars), then what’s the point of running them?
Texting can be a powerfully effective way to drive more attendance to your events and webinars.
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There are a few best practices you’ll want to follow as you go about your text advertising campaigns.
Texting people who haven’t asked for it is a no-no in the marketing world.
So get people’s permission before you send them texts.
That way, your texts will be more likely to be delivered. (The mobile carriers have pretty strict filtering guidelines for how they evaluate messages that are or aren’t spam—messages they deem as spam get “filtered out” and don’t get delivered.)
By and large, texting ads are inherently easy to opt out of, because a user can typically simply respond STOP to any message and they’re automatically removed from the texting database.
So you just need to make sure people know that’s how they can opt out.
If you’re always talking about yourself and how great your product or service is, people will tune out.
Similarly, if you’re constantly drawing attention to things that your audience has to do, that can also be a source of friction. (Although you should generally have a strong CTA, your CTA should use low-friction language.)
Your texting ads should instead emphasize what the reader gets.
There’s no need to do everything manually!
Use the automation tools that your SMS platform offers to make more efficient use of your time. These tools include things like the ability to create whole automated workflows or trigger automated messages when people respond with certain phrases.
While I don’t always agree with the concept that’s going around that marketing copy should be short, when it comes to texting ads, short and concise is usually the best route to go.
SMS as an entity was created for short messaging, and it often works best that way.
If you need to communicate longer messaging for an ad, it’s best to go a more traditional route, such as email.
More so than other advertising channels, texting ads require you to be more conscious of how often you’re sending messages to your audience.
Sending texts too often could be considered invading the recipient’s personal space. I’d recommend starting off with at most 4 texts per month.
Here are some other answers to your questions about texting ads…
While the Telephone Consumer Protection Acts (TCPA) used to have strict legal requirements regarding the use of texting (particularly in regards to making sure you collect consent), the laws that currently apply cover 3 main areas:
Making sure you aren’t using “automated dialing” tactics to text people
Making sure you don’t text people at nighttime hours
Making sure you don’t text people who have unsubscribed.
As long as you follow those 3 guidelines, you should be good to go as far as legal concerns go.
However, there are “best practice” guidelines to consider if you want to make sure you get the best message delivery possible. You can see those above and check out more compliance tips here.
The answer to this question depends on your audience. Some audiences may expect and want more texts than others.
However, as I mentioned above, a good rule of thumb to start out with is to send no more than 4 texting ads per month.
Your cost will vary depending on how many texting ads you plan on sending on a monthly basis. The starting point at Mobile Text Alerts is $20 per month for up to 500 messages per month.
Even one unsolicited text could be considered "spamming" your recipient.
That being said, you likely won’t get into any legal trouble (see “What Are the Legal Ramifications of Texting Ads?” above). However, your messages may get flagged as spam by the mobile carriers and get prevented from being delivered.
If you follow the best practices listed below, you’ll be more likely to get the best message delivery possible for your texting ads:
If you’re wanting to get started with the first steps, you can get a free SMS platform trial here. You’ll get 50 messaging credits to try it out for 14 days.
Alternatively, you can jump on a free 1-on-1 demo with an SMS expert to get an in-depth walkthrough of how things work and get answers to any questions you may have.
There’s no time like the present—get your free trial now.
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