by Matt Alderton | May 01, 2019
You use text messages to confirm plans with friends, to let your spouse know you're thinking of him/her and to keep tabs on your children when they're away from home. But are you using text messages to engage your customers? If not, you should be, author Kiely Kuligowski writes in an article for Business News Daily.

"Engagement marketing is becoming the order of the day as consumers are rejecting traditional marketing techniques in favor of companies that connect with them on a personal level, and what's more personal than a text message?" asks Kuligowski, who adds, "The average American checks their phone every 12 minutes, which lends itself to a nearly 98 percent open rate for text messages -- much higher than the 20 percent average for email campaigns."

But text-message marketing -- also known as mobile marketing -- isn't as simple as "if you text it, they will come." Like anything else, success hinges on the right strategies.

A few things are obvious. For example, you need permission, and you need to keep it short. "First and foremost, get written permission from your customer to send them text messages," Kuligowski notes. "Next, decide what you are going to send to those who opt in. Make sure it's pertinent to both your target audience and your business, and keep it short -- no more than 200 characters. Because it's a text campaign, you don't have to worry about curating graphics or being overly clever. Brevity is key."

But here's the real secret to SMS success: conversation. "The key to text-message marketing is to regularly engage customers and build a two-way dialogue with them," says Kuligowski, who has several ideas for creating back-and-forth with customers via text. For example, "One of the most popular options is autoresponses, which can be set up in advance so businesses don't have to respond to each customer individually. Autoresponse messages can be programmed to be sent only when certain criteria are met, such as when new customers opt in to start receiving messages."

Another good idea is to conduct surveys and polls. "By sending out polls, businesses can determine what consumers are looking for, whether it is which food item customers would like to see added to the menu or what deals people want to receive text messages about," Kuligowski says. "Surveys are an important tool in two-way communication that can improve a company's marketing and service offerings."

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