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Even though text message marketing is far from the new kid on the block, it has not lost its charm with marketers and consumers alike.
In fact, contrary to what we might think, text messages garner incredibly effective customer interaction with an average of 82% open rate, 45% response rate, and 36% click-through rate.
So what makes text message marketing an oldie but goodie?
Well, much of its popularity stems from the fact that customers receive text messages almost immediately and no internet is required to send and receive them.
Hence, despite the benefits of other mobile communication means such as email, voicemail, and direct mail, there is no match for text messages for those who prefer (who doesn’t?) instant connection with their customers.
But does that suffice for the brands’ need to actually engage with customers and generate more revenue? No.
For that, businesses must think beyond blanket SMSs.
And the solution to that is Personalized Text Messaging.
What Is Personalized Text Messaging?
A personalized text message is an SMS that includes custom information to make it sound uniquely personal and relevant to the customer it is sent to.
With the help of automation, SMS personalization enables businesses to send tailored, contextual offers to the right audience at the right time. Moreover, it adds the human touch to your SMS campaigns that bots often lack.
Leading business leaders predict that in 2022, businesses will witness a radical shift in consumer behavior — not only will customers communicate with the brands more through text messages, but their expectations for personalization will also rise. So it only makes sense to craft a business messaging strategy with a more human touch.
Does that mean I should focus on texts rather than emails?
No. Your business’s effective marketing program should combine email and personalized text messaging such that both channels function synergistically and deliver a more cohesive customer experience.
What Types of Businesses Can Adopt Personalized Text Messages?
A report by Zipwhip’s state of texting identifies appointment reminders (64%) and shipping updates (48%) as the most valuable customized texts from the customer’s viewpoint.
However, different industries — from real estate to retail, nonprofits to faith organizations, fitness to food, education to e-commerce can reap the benefits of personalized text messages.
Use cases like payment reminders, marketing campaigns, booking confirmation, appointment reminders, delivery tracking for air freight express services, food delivery, conversational messaging for customer support, etc., are prominent.
How Personalized Texts Bring More Engagement?
A well-orchestrated custom text messaging strategy helps you uniquely engage with customers for a wide span of use cases.
Some actionable ways to manifest superior customer interactions using customized text messaging are:
- Simple text reminders and payment requests with a link to pay to render convenience and reduce missed payments.
- Message-based customer feedback systems collect timely responses and resolve issues rapidly.
- Two-factor authentication and verification reduce vulnerability to cyber threats and protect their data.
- Personalized SMS marketing campaigns that deliver personalized recommendations, special offers, and last-minute promotions directly to your target customers.
- End-to-end customer support to handle customer inquiries efficiently and create better experiences.
- Tailored and conversational messaging to streamline sales engagement throughout the journey.
How to Go about Personalized Text Messaging?
Personalized text is all about messages that sound like it was crafted for the targeted customer exclusively and individually. To do this, you’ll require customer data such as phone numbers, names, gender, birthday, anniversary, ZIP code, etc.
You need to save this data in custom fields that are unique to individual contacts and that you can tailor as you want. But remember- it’s important to have written consent from your customers before you text them.
Where to get data from? There are two ways:
If you already have contacts and lists on CRM, you can import them as a .CSV file and upload them on your text messaging platform.
If starting from scratch, build a solid customer directory using data collection tools like Web forms, Email subscriptions or SMS survey tools.
An effective segmentation strategy is your best bet to engage consistently with the subscribers with relevant messages based on their preferences. It may seem daunting, but with the right tool, you should be just fine with it.
Here are some key characteristics you should consider while grouping customers-
- Segmentation based on psychographic and demographic factors like location, age, interests, lifestyle, job roles, and biggest challenges.
- Segmentation based on subscription date, past purchases, purchase behavior, sales cycle stage, birthday month, opt-in date, opt-in source, and so on.
Here’s when personalized tags come into play. Tags make it easy to auto-insert contact data in a text message and make a mass message sound like a personal one without making it obvious to the audience. Each tag corresponds to a custom field.
A personalized tag for the custom field- “First name” looks something like this-
A personalized text messaging platform like Emitrr automatically replaces the tag with the customer information for the corresponding field.
Let’s say- If the text is-
Hi <%First Name%>! Get ready with your festive wishlist and rush to your fav Orbit Store. Celebrate your 2nd visit with a flat 20%OFF. T&C*
<%First Name%> will be replaced with the subscriber’s name from the list and would appear like this to the customer-
Hi Karen! Get ready with your festive wishlist and rush to your fav Orbit Store. Celebrate your 2nd visit with a flat 20%OFF. T&C*
You can also use pre-saved text templates, media, GIFs, links, and tags to be more creative with your content for different text message marketing campaigns.
While sending the message to your recipient, you can always send them immediately or schedule a broadcast for later. The automation advantage that most of the advanced text message platforms have, enables you to simplify scheduled broadcasting.
As you roll out campaigns, be sure to review their performance rates so you can further optimize them.
7 Personalized Text Messaging Best Practices We Vouch For
- Keep the message light-hearted and conversational. You can use emojis, text abbreviations, and slang too.
- Do not go overboard with length. Keep it short, up to 160 characters or fewer. You can always insert a link to convey more information.
- Strictly adhere to business hours and respect customers’ privacy while selecting the broadcasting time. Ideally, 10 AM to 7 PM works best.
- Keep it easy for customers to opt-out or stop receiving texts by clearly including the “Unsubscribe” option.
- Follow a country-specific compliance framework to avoid litigation.
- Resist the urge to over-personalize as too many personalization fields in one message can give your message a “computerized” vibe.
- Improve customer experience by responding as quickly as possible.
From browsing websites to connecting with customer support, consumers turning to mobile at every step of their buyer journey are getting this one message across loud and clear- It is in businesses’ best interest to tap into the potential of personalized texts.
While doing so, it’s crucial to be open to experimenting with SMS campaigns to decode what resonates best with your audience.