How to increase text message marketing open rates?

Often times, a brand builds up a large subscriber database of their customers’ phone numbers and then uses those phone numbers to send out mass text messages, usually of offers and promotions that drive sales; this is known as Text Message Marketing. The term, ‘open rate,’ in text messaging is used to denote the number of sent texts viewed by the receiver. This equates as the number of targeted subscribers that actually viewed the text message.

A quite surprising statistic is that text message marketing open rates are 99%. This means that only 1% of targeted subscriber do not open the text to read its content. That is considerably high compared to other marketing channels like email marketing.Yet, why is the open rate for text message marketing so high? It is essentially because text messaging has no spam, making text messages a clean marketing channel.
Email marketing is not so successful because of the rampant occurrence of the spamming of email accounts by unscrupulous persons. In fact, spamming has been specially reported as the foremost hindrance to successful email marketing in the United States. Due to the ‘clean’ nature of text message marketing, its impressive open rates of 99% far supersede those of other digital marketing channels.

The reason why there is a little  text message spam in the United States is because of the presence of a Federal Law that protects consumers from receiving text message spam. This Federal law is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, usually called by its acronym, TCPA. The TCPA essentially gives consumers the right to sue a brand or a business if they send them unsolicited text messages. A consumer can sue an erring brand to the tune of $500 to $1500 per unsolicited text message sent. This stiff penalty is a very important reason why text message spamming by unscrupulous brands is almost an inexistent misdemeanor in the United States. To be frank, for any brand, the fine of $500 to $1500 per unsolicited text message is quite huge, considering the fact that these figures are multiplied by the number of text messages sent in the campaign and multiplied by the number of aggrieved customers. The penalty can be quite devastating for the company.

How then can a brand increase the chances of a subscriber opening their text messages? There are several strategies applicable, but two of these strategies are most highly recommended by marketing experts. The first strategy is to pick the most suitable time to send your text messages to your subscribers. The timing of your text message should neither be too early nor too late. Then, the message should be sent when subscribers are likely to have access to their phones and not at absurd periods like the middle of the night. If a lunch special, for instance, is being offered by a restaurant, the message should not be sent directly when subscribers are likely to be eating lunch, but a little before lunch to enhance patronage.

Still, on timing, most brands tend to send text messages to their customers through SMS software providers on the hour or exactly at a pre-scheduled time, for example 12:00 PM or 6:30 AM. Therefore, a problemmay occur in which text messages from different brands hit a subscriber’s phone at the same time. This decreases the opening rate of all the text messages that came in at the same time. To avoid this kind of debacle, experts advise sending messages at times that are not so obvious to enhance the open rate of your messages. Therefore, you might consider sending your texts at 3:42 PM instead of 4:00 PM, or 12:08 PM instead of 12:00 PM, in an attempt to separate your text from the horde.

Another useful strategy is to make the first lines of your text messages as catchy as possible to encourage the consumer to read through the whole text and absorb the message being passed. Most smartphones display the first few lines of the text as a notification of a new message. Consumers read these first few lines and decide whether or not to open the message by the impression created by those first few words. So, to increase the open rate of your messages, improve on your first few words. A very effective way of getting readers hooked to the very last word of a message is to begin the message with “Save 50% off…” or “Get a free…” These kinds of starters evoke the curiosity of an average reader, as they would probably want to know what to do to save money or get a free service, making the open rate of the message to skyrocket.

The text message marketing niche of digital advertising is a goldmine due to its efficacy and reliability. With a 99% open rate and no spamming, you can be sure to get your message to the maximum targeted audience. Just do not forget to seek the consent of your customers first before sending those catchy, well-timed texts.

(Inspired by Tatango)

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