With all this social distancing, are you feeling a little out of touch with your customers?

Sure, you’ve been posting a bit more on social media and making it a point to engage more online, but it isn’t the same. Everyone is so busy working from home, juggling kids, and dealing with the extra togetherness, that you’re not alone if you feel that your marketing is out of balance too.

Texting can be the perfect alternative to creating a personal interaction when you just can’t be in-person. It’s a good way to cut through advertising noise, overflowing inboxes and information overload on social media. Plus, it adds a personal touch when your marketing text feels like a note from a friend. 

Here are 6 Rules for Texting Your Customers 

  1. Let your customers opt-in to receive texts. Just because it’s on your terms when customers create an account or sign up for your mailing list, doesn’t mean it’s ok to pop into their phone unannounced. While it is legal, it can make people feel violated, like you’ve stepped into their personal space. Get express permission to text them.Full transparency: The inspiration for this post actually happened when I received a random text from a hair salon I hadn’t gone to in three years. Getting an out-of-the-blue text like that is such a turn-off. I’ll share it.

    Here’s a better way to interact. While people are on your website or reading your emails, offer a way to opt-in. Offer a discount or promise them insider sales for opting-in to text alerts. Who doesn’t like a deal?
  2. Include an explanation of how to opt-out in every text. You don’t want anyone to feel trapped in your messaging. Texting the word “STOP” is usually the standard for opting out of texts. Use that as your main opt-out word since it’s universal. STOP like LOVE everyone understands.
  3. Don’t bombard people. If you’re using texts to announce sales or specials, customers don’t want to hear from you every day. Once a week is good, maybe twice (max). Tell them when a sale is starting; remind them when it’s ending.One online retailer was texting me about a “fabulous” new sale every 3-4 days. It was annoying, especially since I wasn’t looking to buy at the time. I ended up opting out because it was just too much and driving me crazy. You’ve been there, right?

    Remember when I said a text should sound like it’s coming from a friend? Even different messaging may have been better. This feels like a commercial. Prospects and customers want and expect personalized messages, so give them what they want.
  4. Don’t use texting as just a marketing strategy to increase sales. Consider adding a customer service element to your texts. If someone recently purchased an item or a service, ask them for feedback. If it’s positive, forward a link to leave a review. If it’s not so good, use text messaging to directly interact with them to solve their problem. Eliminate email chains that can go on for days with unnecessary customer service phone calls. It’s all about creating a personal touch.
  5. If you really want to stand out, use emojis, pictures or GIFs. Just like in regular marketing, a little extra flare will draw attention to your message. Don’t go too crazy, but if there’s something fun, use it. Just make sure it aligns with your brand.
  6. Keep your message concise. Use simple words and basic sentences that are short and easy to read. Don’t send your customers a novel. They’ll hit delete and probably opt-out of future messages. Better to have a quick note with a link at the end for more information.

So, now that you have the rules on texting, what are the logistics?

You can text one-by-one from your Google number, which sounds dreadful, or you can use a service. Many CRMs have this feature built-in; check yours out before rushing into another solution. If you’re looking at options, Text Magic has the cheapest plan available. The cost is about $4 per month for a designated phone number, and then you’re charged just 4 cents per text.

Normally, I’d say to stick with what you’re already paying for, and use as many free options as you can for marketing.  But in a time when small businesses are struggling and brick-and-mortars are temporarily closing, it’s important to look at new avenues to reach customers, get new business, and increase online visibility.

I’m not using text right now, but I am building my email list. I have a few big projects that I’m working on, and I want you to be the first one to hear about them. You can sign up to receive emails from me here. As a thank you, I’ll send you my guide, 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Marketing.

My thoughts are with all of you in these trying times. Stay healthy and #washyourhands.

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