SMS is becoming an increasingly critical component of sales outreach. The ease, high open rates, and popularity of texting make it a natural addition to the relationship building process. Done correctly, text communications can drive exposure and engagement.
Like all methods of communication, there are best practices and etiquette to adhere to. Here are some of the most important things to consider to maintain a good reputation, and maximize your results.
Firstly, it’s important to be aware that under the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) businesses must obtain written consent before sending text communications to a contact. This is also outlined in our Terms of Service, and will help protect the reputation of your numbers.
Your texts should be one-to-one communications
Some text marketing services are designed for blasting general promotional messages to groups of contacts (i.e. text XYZ to subscribe to our text announcements). PhoneBurner is not one of them.
Our texting platform, just like your mobile phone, is designed for personalized one-to-one communications between you and your contacts.
While we provide tools, such as disposition-based SMS, to help you send a higher volume of messages efficiently, your messaging and messaging frequency should reflect this personalized style.
✔“Hey Bob, just rang you about the position you expressed interest in. Give me a ring at ### when you have a few minutes.”
✘ “3-days only, massive discount off our standard pricing.”
✔ “Hi Jane, before we renew your insurance, there’s a new gov’t program that might benefit you. Just left some details on your voicemail.”
Be aware of, and avoid high SMS error rates
Whenever a text is sent to a phone number incapable of receiving a text, it throws an error with the carrier. These errors, or bounce rates, are tracked, and carriers expect service providers and end-users to stay within compliance thresholds.
Both PhoneBurner and you are accountable for keeping these errors to a minimum to keep us in good standing with our carrier. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that any number you send a text to is capable of receiving that text.
The vast majority of these errors occur when a text is sent to a landline.
For this reason, the best way to minimise these errors is to collect ‘phone type’ as part of your opt-in process. How you do this will vary greatly depending on how you get your lists. It may involve a discussion with your lead vendor or, in some cases, switching to a vendor capable of collecting this data.
Once you have that data, you should include separate phone fields for Home, Mobile, etc. in your PhoneBurner contact records. Then you can make it a business practice to only send SMS messages to those numbers identified as Mobile.
Carefully watch your opt-out rates
Another metric to pay close attention to is opt-out rates. This is how often your SMS recipients are unsubscribing from your communications by texting the word “STOP.”
Assuming you have received their permission to send messages to them, here are some other things to consider to reduce opt-out rates:
- Be clear in your messaging who it is from to ensure they recognize it as a service they opted into.
- Be mindful of whether your message sounds too promotional or like a message intended to be sent to a mass audience. Contacts are less likely to opt out if a message feels more like a one-to-one communication.
- Be careful of your message frequency. Even contacts who welcome your messages can still easily change their mind, especially if they start to see those messages as an annoyance.
Using disposition-based SMS? We recommend asking yourself:
- Do these messages sound personalized / one-to-one?
- Does my cadence include too many disposition-based SMS? Are there any that might be worth removing?
Don't use shortened URLs by public URL shorteners
When sending SMS or MMS messages containing shortened URLs, use a dedicated short domain that belongs to your business, or a service which offers a unique (non-shared) domain for your URLs.
Do not send links that have been shortened using shared public URL shorteners, such as free TinyUrl or Bitly links. In the United States, carrier policies forbid the use of shared public URL shorteners, due to the frequency of use by spammers, scammers and other bad actors.
Some URL shortener websites offer a paid plan which gives you a unique domain. Alternatively, you could use your own domain and run your own shortening system.
For information on why your SMS messages are failing, click here.