If you’re using text message marketing for your business, your goals should always be expanding your subscriber list and keeping everyone on said list happy.
But if your brand is guilty of committing one (or a few of) the most common mistakes of using a business SMS service, you may actually be losing subscribers (and conversions and sales in the process).
From your tone to your message length to how often you text, today’s guide will spotlight the top 8 worst mistakes so you know what to avoid.
We’ll even show you what to do instead.
To start, let’s attack the biggest mistake most brands make with this new form of marketing.
#1: Texting Subscribers Who Haven’t Given You Permission
While it may be exciting to rack up a whole stack of phone numbers at your trade show or Facebook live event, you can’t just start texting these people out of nowhere.
For one, it’s illegal[*].
Second, it’s a spammy tactic that’s super annoying.
After all, how often do you want to deal with spammers calling or texting you?
Third, it’s not going to help you build a solid list of interested and potential customers.
See, when it comes to growing your text message subscriber list, quality matters over quantity.
Ideally, you want a list of subscribers who want to be there; not ones you forced to accept your messages.
So before you capture any more phone numbers, start explaining to anyone who signs up for your list that they’re opting in to your text message alerts too.
This should also be in writing so there are no issues.
Not only that, you should make sure you’re not committing this next mistake too.
#2: Not Using a Double Opt-in
Let’s just get this out of the way: You must also use a double opt-in anytime you add new subscribers to your text list.
**cue the groans**
Before you chalk this step up to a waste of time, understand it’s for your own good and for the health of your list.
Yes, it may seem like a pain to ask your subscribers to confirm that they want to be on your text message list (even though they gave you their information for that very reason).
But you’d be surprised to learn how many people sign up for things they really don’t mean to sign up for.
And if you’re not careful, this blunder could come with a hefty fine.
This also works well for another reason: you’ll naturally weed out those people who don’t truly want to be there.
So if someone really signed up for your list by mistake, it’s no skin off your back. They can leave without ruining your stats.
Here’s why I say that: When a subscriber isn’t actually interested in what you have to say, they won’t open your texts or interact with them.
But you won’t know this until you see your open and engagement rates suffering.
When your list is filled with subscribers who are interested in your services or brand, on the other hand, you’ll bask in the glow of above-average engagement rates.
This is the difference between a healthy subscriber list and one that’s just a huge collection of phone numbers.
And you can’t get to this healthy point without learning how to deal with this next rookie error.
#3: Texting Too Frequently or Not Enough
Keeping your list engaged should be your next goal after growing it.
An interactive list means you’re building a tight-knit community that’s excited to see what else your brand has in store.
To do this, you have to communicate regularly with your subscribers.
But this doesn’t mean you should bombard them everyday.
Texting too often is just as bad as texting once every blue moon.
So how do you strike the right balance?
Once your subscribers click your double opt-in link, send them a survey to see how often they’d like to be contacted.
Ideally, your options should be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly (at most).
If you’re a restaurant or any other business offering daily specials, a daily text during peak hours could also make sense for your subscribers.
Separate your customers by these preferences (more on this later) and be sure to stick to a regular schedule each time you send your texts. This way your customers know when to expect and look out for them.
Follow these cues and you’ll create an engaged list in no time.
Speaking of time…
#4: Your Timing is Off
Another common mistake with text message marketing is sending messages at the wrong time.
Not only should you take timezones into consideration, it’s also a good idea to think about your target audience and how their day unfolds.
Let’s say you want to send messages to a group of parents. While they may be up early, their mornings can be busy and stressful with carpooling kids around and packing lunches.
So it may be better to text a group like this during the early afternoon hours when they have a bit of downtime and before they need to pick up their kids and start homework, dinner, etc.
That’s why it’s so important to consider your audience before sending out your next text. Do this and you’ll have a better chance of your messages actually getting opened and read.
And if you want your subscribers to take action, you can’t afford to make this next mistake either.
#5: You Don’t Have a Call-to-Action in Your Messages
A call-to-action (CTA) is simply an action-oriented statement that encourages people to do something.
And it’s exactly what you need to use if you want your subscribers to get moving.
Essentially, you need to spell it out for your customers.
Want them to register for your next event?
Your call-to-action at the end of your text message should be exactly that: Register today for this event! Space is limited.
You can see that statement above also creates a sense of urgency by using phrases such as “space is limited” and “register today”. This helps motivate people to take action sooner rather than later.
Keep in mind, if you’re also guilty of this next mistake, a strong CTA won’t even matter.
#6: You Haven’t Segmented Your List
Don’t let the marketing term intimidate you — segmenting your list simply means you’ll create different subcategories from your main text subscriber list.
So, for example, when you want to send general updates, you can do so to your entire list.
But you shouldn’t always blast your whole list if the message doesn’t pertain to everyone.
Do this and you’ll start to annoy your subscribers with irrelevant messages which can quickly cause them to jump ship from your list altogether.
To avoid that worst-case scenario, create different subcategories anytime you want to send a message to a smaller group of subscribers.
This ensures the right people receive the right messages.
You can create these subsets using an Excel or Google sheet, which will also help to keep things organized for you.
The next two mistakes are pretty straightforward.
#7: You’re Not Using a Conversational Tone
With text messages, your tone makes a huge difference.
Stuff your texts with robotic-sounding messages and you won’t create an engaged and healthy community.
On the flipside, when you adopt a conversational tone that feels personal and as if you’re speaking directly to the person receiving the message, you’ll develop a long-lasting relationship.
In short: talk like you would in person while still coming across as professional.
Just because you text your group chats “TTYL” doesn’t mean you should use this with your customers.
Though if you’re using abbreviations, you’re sort of on the right track because it’s also crucial your texts be short and sweet.
#8: Your Messages Are Too Long
Yes, smartphones and mobile device screens have grown in size over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean the size of your text messages should too.
After all, SMS (aka texts) stands for short message service.
That means you should keep your messages as short as possible while still conveying your message clearly.
A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to 2-3 small sentences at most — including your CTA.
For times you need to give more information, add a link at the end of your text to do just that.
Don’t Make These Text Message Marketing Mistakes
By using our workarounds for avoiding the mistakes in today’s guide, you’ll not only create a strong and healthy text message list, you’ll also develop a community of happy customers along the way.
To get started with a reliable business SMS service, visit this page for a free 14-day trial.