Text Marketing 101

Co-Written with Brandon Siegesmund

You may already know that customers are ten times more likely to read text marketing messages than email messages. Also, you may already realize that younger generations — especially millennials — are conditioned to expect text messaging from companies, making mass text marketing one of the most powerful communication tools available today.

If you have received your dedicated 10-digit text marketing number from More Than Rewards, we hope you are excited to start your first send campaign! Although, you might be wondering where to begin.

No worries — let us help you! Just follow this roadmap to get started.

Dedicated Phone Number

More Than Rewards can provide your dealership with a unique 10-digit phone number to send and receive text messages (also known as SMS messages) from your customers. These are real phone numbers unlike common SMS “short codes” you may be familiar with. Short codes are special mobile-only numbers which limited to five or six digits, and they are usually shared between multiple businesses.

You may be wondering: What are the benefits of having a dedicated 10-digit number? Let’s start from the customer’s perspective.

First, with a dedicated number, people will be more likely to save your number as a contact. A customer will experience immediate excitement when they receive a message from you.

Second, since dealers usually share short codes, you can create any keywords you’d like—even common words which might have already been taken like CLUB, EVENTS, OFFERS, FUN, CONTEST, WIN, BIKE, HARLEY, VIP and many others. Because you’ll have more memorable and easier-to-spell words, customers will join your text club or participle in a contest more often.

How Customers Join Your Text Club

The most important thing to understand about gaining subscribers is that you must have “explicit written consent” for customers to receive any marketing or sales-related text messages.  This is usually done by customers texting you a specific keyword, like JOIN, to your number or through a special widget on your website. You’ll be happy to know that More Than Rewards provides you access to both ways to maximize your subscriber-count. (In the near future, customers will even be able to join your text system through entering their phone numbers on a countertop keypad.)

SMS marketers have long respected this strict “opt-in” rule for texting so customers will expect the same when doing business with you. It would be a unfortunate surprise to anyone if they were signed up to your text club without their advanced consent, especially if they were charged for an unwanted message.

Designing Text Campaigns

For any text marketing program or plan to be successful you must provide your customers consistency, simplicity, fun, and value:

  • Be consistent. Stick to a plan of how often you’ll send text messages. Don’t skip a month or two for any reason; customers can easily forget about you. As a rule of thumb, don’t send more than two mass text messages per week. A good volume to shoot for per month would be six to eight messages.
  • Keep your messages simple and direct. Text messaging by its nature forces you to do this anyway, but try not to mix more than one topic or offer in the same message.
  • Have a mix of campaigns over time that have a balance of fun, sales, and informative topics without overloading the customer. If you don’t know what to say, just try to uplift your customers. For example, you could send a text wishing everyone a good weekend, or thank everyone for their loyalty and another great season.
  • Create value. For customers to subscribe and remain subscribed to your text club, they have to perceive they are part of something that is worth their time. Let people know they will be the first to receive special news, alerts, and offers. Ask for their feedback on a topic or new product line, or request for their RSVP to an event. Send them a special coupon for the month of their birthday.

Campaign Ideas

You should be aware that More Than Rewards’ text messaging system you can do text-based surveys, polls, coupons, and much more beyond just sending regular outbound texts. Also, you can create any number of keywords and lists at any time to help segment your customers by what they want to receive.

If you haven’t been inspired yet, here are just some ideas to get you started. Some dealers have been very successful in using some of these creative tactics — I’m sure there are hundreds more you could think of.

  • Events: Let customers know they can opt-in to your text club to get all updated event information and event reminders. Once you have an event loaded into your web calendar, schedule messages to go out two weeks, one week, and three days in advance to let people know what’s going on. Make sure to inform customers of any sudden event changes or cancelations.
  • H.O.G. Club or Riding Club: Have an exclusive text list comprising these members so they can receive specific news, reminders, and deals. You could have separate lists for new vehicle owners or “VIP members” if you don’t sponsor a club.
  • Special Offers: Send special sales offers for service, clothing, general merchandise, etc. Let people know at least five days in advance while still creating urgency. You could write: “First 25 people who mention this text receive 10% off our shirts” or “Hurry while supplies last!”
  • Education or “Fun Facts”: Send customers interesting information about your dealer, your history, your brands, current news, and more. I recommend doing this bi-monthly.
  • Contests: You could hold a sweepstakes on any day of the month, or you could schedule a regular monthly contest. (And by using specific keywords across different advertising placements, you could measure the effectiveness of your marketing dollars.) An example of how to design a contest could be as simple as having messaging like: “Text MONEY to be entered into our drawing for a $100 gift card.” Or, you could require someone to answer a quiz question.
  • Survey/Polls: Collect customer feedback to show people you care and to help design better events. Ask questions like: “Rate our last open house,” “What would you like to see more of?” or “What food would like at our next event?”
  • Rewards Program: If you have a rewards/loyalty program, send people news about double-point days, point expiration, and information about how the program works to create that important sense of value.

Promote Your Text Club

Those are a lot of texting ideas, but remember that people can’t participate unless they subscribe! Promote your dedicated number in your store, on your website, and across all social media. Let people know how to sign up and the benefits they’ll receive.

Remember your text club when creating flyers, posters, Facebook posts, radio ads, television ads, events, and more.

So, now you know how to begin your text marketing program. If it’s   important to you, it’ll become important to your customers as well. With this simple game plan, I hope you’ll be able to get started signing up customers and texting them ASAP.

For more information on More Than Reward’s text marketing system, click here to watch our comprehensive video!