Why are so many businesses illegally texting their customers? The simple answer is because they don’t know the laws. Did you know there are specific organizations who establish laws surrounding text message marketing, in order to ensure these messages are being sent in the consumer’s best interest.
Is text marketing effective? Absolutely. Should your business be texting with its customers? Of course. Just make sure you know the right way of doing so. When done correctly, text marketing and communication with your customers through text message is extremely convenient and helps create loyal customers for your business. Communicating with your customers through text messaging is the future of business to consumer contact.
What’s causing businesses to illegally text their customers?
They Aren’t Providing an Opt-In Option
According to TextMagic.com, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) states that businesses and organizations must obtain consent from individuals before sending them any text messages. Even if a business has an individual’s phone number or already has an “established business relationship”, written consent is still required.
Although most consumers appreciate receiving communication through text messages, not allowing them to opt-in can cause them to feel like they’re being bombarded. We all know we don’t want our customers to feel annoyed by us, so we want to ensure that our text marketing feels like it was their idea. Send a message to your customers asking them to reply, “YES” to receiving future messages from you. Let them know what your messages will include, for example:
“Thank you for using John Doe Plumbing! Please reply “YES” to receive future appointment reminders, specials and coupons and follow-up text messages from us.”
Once your customer has opted-in, you’re legally allowed to send them text messages about your business. Your job is to provide them with messages they actually want to receive, as well as time them so they don’t feel like they get more messages from you than they want to receive.
They Aren’t Allowing Customers to Unsubscribe
Nobody likes being trapped in a never-ending group message, and the feeling is the same when it comes to receiving marketing messages. Consumers should be offered a clear way out of having messages sent to their phones from a business, if they don’t want to be sent any more messages. It’s as simple as stating, “Reply “STOP” to stop receiving messages from us.” and having the appropriate software to successfully remove their number from your text marketing database.
CityGro.com tell us that, “Recipients must be able to opt-out by replying directly to the text message.”
Don’t fear just because someone opts-out or unsubscribes from your text or email marketing! That doesn’t mean they won’t ever allow you to market to them. It just means you need to become more creative in your engagements with that customer until they feel more comfortable receiving messages from you.
They Don’t Make Their Identity Clear
Did you know it’s actually against the rules to not let your customer know what business your messages are coming from? The truth is, it doesn’t do your business any good to send messages when nobody knows who they’re coming from anyway. Be sure to make your identity clear and ensure your consumers know who is messaging them.
Your initial introduction should say more than just, “This is Jane Doe Landscaping.” And should instead be more personalized, “Hi Mary! Thank you for using Jane Doe Landscaping.” This is a great way to thank your customers, make them feel valued and let them know who it is that is messaging them.
They’re Texting at the Wrong Times
Nobody likes being woken up at 3:00 in the morning by a text message. What’s even more frustrating is if that message is coming from a business trying to market or sell to you. Be sure you’re sending text messages at the right times for your area. If you’re scheduling messages to go out at a later time, double check that everything is set correctly so nobody receives these messages at the wrong times.
Text messaging is the top form of communication between family members and friends, and if we’ve learned anything about technology, it’s that soon it will be for businesses too. Small businesses should offer their customers the option to receive specials, reminders and follow-up messages via text message. Letting your customers contact you through text message to schedule appointments and ask questions will make their lives easier and put you at the top of their list in your industry!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!