Entry By Jason Brick (via inspiration from our Lead Community Manager, Albert)
The trick to succeeding in small business is to think and act like a large business whenever possible. This is especially important in text marketing – a venue where it's easy to slip into an unprofessional mindset, because it feels a lot like shooting a quick message to your friend. As easy as that might be, it's a mistake. If you give in to that temptation, you risk alienating your customers. Instead, you should approach your text campaign with the same marketing mindset you see in Fortune 500 mega-corporations -- applying research, message and metrics to perfect your text technique.
Professional Market Research
It's vital to know as much as possible about your customer base and subscriber list. The largest companies hire an entire department -- or outsource to professional research firms -- for this task. As a small business owner, you lack the budget for this. Luckily, you likely have better personal knowledge about your industry and customer base. Use that, text surveys and other research methods to learn:
- The demographic breakdown of your customer base.
- What interests and motivates them.
- Which periodicals, blogs and podcasts they consume.
- What kind of humor they most appreciate.
- The sorts of "insider info" about your business and industry they find most interesting.
The more you know about your subscriber list, the better you'll be able to deliver exactly the kind of content that engages them best.
You can learn a lot by experimenting with different text messages, and then watching the results. Since each business has a unique set of potential customers, what works best for your company may be quite different even from your direct competitors. Play with different factors to dial in what works best:
- Send texts at different times of the day.
- Use different message templates, such as news reports, coupons, contests, polls, countdowns and featured links.
- Experiment with different kinds and levels of humor.
- Tweak your language to say the same thing in different ways.
- Link to different relevant news sources.
- Beware of negativity in your posts, which tends to alienate most audiences.
When trying new things, change just one factor at a time. This lets you know exactly what's driving the results that new text gets.
Using metrics is the most common difference between successful and struggling companies. Access to performance statistics in real time is one of the greatest advantages of text marketing. For every broadcast, check the important numbers and compare them to other messages. Some vital metrics include:
- The total number of subscribers.
- The number of direct responses from each message.
- Increased or decreased sales on the day of and after a broadcast.
- Keyword performance breakouts.
- Quit rate: the number of stop requests resulting from a message.
- Number of visits to your mobile and regular websites as a result of the broadcast.
By comparing the results of different kinds of messages, you learn even more about your audience. This research lets you fine-tune your text marketing even further. When you track the results of those new messages, you'll learn even more -- beginning the cycle anew in an ever-upward spiral of marketing effectiveness.