Is Text Marketing Effective? What You Need to Know from a Marketing Pro

By Christina Ross


As a marketing professional who's spent most of my career helping businesses with their marketing needs, I am here to announce that text marketing is here to stay. In this fast-paced world, this form of marketing just makes sense. Texts are direct, to the point, and don't take a lot of time to draft or send.

Over the past five years, I've seen an increase in the utilization of text marketing. Many people have begun to use it more frequently, and many more prefer it over email marketing. Five years ago, we didn't include text marketing in our marketing packages, but with the rapidly changing modes of communication, text marketing has taken center stage.

People have become so accustomed to having their devices in their hands that text marketing is now the preferred method of business communication for more than two-thirds of all consumers. Additionally, nearly half of consumers prefer receiving texts from brands with scheduling or appointment reminders, and over half cite frustration when they are unable to communicate with a business or brand via text.

Text marketing is a highly versatile way of reaching and engaging with customers, but even so, there are both good and bad examples of successful text marketing. When I receive a well-written text message, I'll respond and say, "Hey! Outstanding job on your marketing. You got me to click this link," but a poorly written message could prevent me from responding at all.

Because text marketing is a relatively new arena, here are a few tips to avoid the pitfalls and maximize your text marketing campaign:

Consistency Is Key

Consistency is critical with email marketing, social media, or text message. Once you build consistency in your branding and messaging, your customers learn to trust that and learn to watch for you.

Watch the Images

Don't use a lot of images in your text marketing campaign. I personally prefer text marketing with no images because it can quickly become clunky. It's the opposite of Google, where you want to maximize images. With text marketing, minimize the images.

The Shorter, the Better

Be sure to keep the text as short as possible and watch the size of your links. When you see a long URL in a text, it looks like spam. There are many ways to shorten a URL for free.

Timing Is Important

It's essential to pick a regular day and time for your promotional texts and emails. You may need to experiment to find the most effective time for your customer base, but once you've hit upon that perfect time, send it consistently, week after week.

Automate When Possible

If you're using text marketing for reminders, or even reviews, that accessibility should be set up within your texting system. The most successful customer relationship management professionals automate text messaging, sending reminders, confirmations, and notifications to improve ease-of-use for their customers.

The Benefit of Text Marketing in Today's World

If you're not currently utilizing text message marketing, then you're missing out on a huge demographic who only follows their phone or their social media. Simply put, text marketing increases your business's outreach to a broader audience.

With more people on their phones, the younger generations don't operate the same way as older ones, who primarily rely on television or email. It's key to figure out where your customers are spending their time, how they like to communicate, and accommodate their mode of communication.

Text marketing tactics that worked in the past that are no longer effective.

It's interesting how people will open a text message, but never open their emails, as well as how some will regularly open their emails from businesses and unsubscribe from text marketing.

A few years ago, when text messaging first began gaining momentum, I noticed it was heavy on the inclusion of images. The way we would develop a text messaging campaign was with a tiny image followed by text.

Over time, this started to change because those images were taking too long to send through a standard SMS structure, and consumers slowly stopped engaging with those types of messages.

Today, we use systems for many of our clients that operate off of the same database where we can trigger outbound emails and text messages. We'll send emails with lovely graphics and a link that goes toward the database.

Successful Trends in a Rapidly Changing World

For years, I exclusively ran email campaigns for people that were well thought out and consistent. It was always fun to look at the results. If you achieved a five percent open rate, you knew the campaign was successful.

With text messaging, I see higher open rates. I see more engagement. When I run a campaign with just email versus text messaging, I get more clicks in the text messaging.

In younger generations and demographics, families will receive text messaging saying, "Hey, your son's birthday is coming up in two months. Do you want to book a party?" Or, "Check out our party rooms!" If I'm a mom and I'm sitting on my phone, I will click on that link. I might not buy something today, but I'll engage with it anyway.

When this is done correctly, once the consumer clicks the link, you can track them and follow them around the internet, on Google and Facebook, all the sights; that's successful marketing.

It fascinates me how the modes of communication have been changing so rapidly, especially when compared to just a few years ago. I have kids ranging from age 6 to 24, and we have experienced tremendous differences in technology. My kids have cell phones, tablets, and laptops, and it's unbelievable how glued they are to their screens.

When I was in school, our computers were boxes, and I went to a technical magnet school for computers back in the 1990s. It's unbelievable how antiquated it all seems today.

I was telling my kids that I had a beeper. Imagine just trying to explain how the pager worked; you needed a phone, you would dial a number, then you would put in a number. Then, you would wait, the person would get a page, they would see the number, and then they would have to find a payphone to call you back.

To this, one of my kids asked, "But how did you survive?" I find it funny and fascinating because I love watching the changing trends, and the shift from email marketing to text marketing is exactly that — a changing trend.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Christina Ross is the president and marketing director at Silver Frog Marketing and loves helping businesses with their creative design and overall marketing efforts. She has spent the majority of her career in the marketing industry, gaining experiences in areas such as website design, social media marketing, and TV/Radio broadcast. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.