Are You Texting Your Target Audience?
Does your pharmacy send you a text message when your prescription is ready?
If you've ever attended a business conference or trade show, you've probably received several text alerts for sessions and speakers.
These messages can be an incredibly valuable touchpoint: 98 percent of texts are opened and read within 5 seconds. Businesses have taken notice of this powerful, yet delicate marketing tool.
Consider this 2014 list of 100 brands that were using well-branded text messages three years ago to communicate with their target audience. When properly branded, texts become a critical expression of your brand’s attributes.
If you haven't explored using these for your target audience, here are a few pointers for keeping them on-brand—without alienating yourself.
Some ground rules
Message only those who opt-in for text communication. The opt-in creates an audience who wants to hear from you. Remember those flu shot reminders from your pharmacy? You, the customer, opted-in by requesting those messages.
Here’s a big benefit: with an opt-in audience, you have created the perfect target audience. They will listen. They will read. They are loyal. The delicacy? A bad series of text messages will alienate them quickly.
Sean McDonald, CEO of MOBIT Technologies, Branding for the People’s preferred vendor for texting services, offers a few additional ground rules for a text message strategy. These include:
- Don’t spam and don’t send after hours (you might violate various laws if you do)
- Have a call-to-action
- Incentivise by offering value
- Make it easy for customers to opt-out
Building brand voice with text
Well-branded text messages must be calculated, precise, and on-point. Brevity is the art of wit, and a well-branded text message can be a masterpiece. Rarely does anyone enjoy reading a text so long that it spans multiple phone screens!
How does branding fit into this touchpoint? Similar to any other communication, text messages must consider your brand platform (particularly your personality Archetype). This means:
Remain consistent with your tone, but, even if your brand has an informal tone, be careful to limit the informality of a text, which should remain succinct and clear. Too many LOLs or smiley faces may depart too far from your normal style. These are customers, not BFFs. Have you ever had a text message interpreted exactly the opposite way you intended? Maybe you weren’t clear enough. Have your copywriter assist writing (and proofing) those messages to ensure consistency and a distinct personality.
How does your message incorporate your visual identity? If you want to include video or rich-text imagery, this will impact the service you need: Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), or Short Message Service (SMS). Once you have a visual identity planned and what elements will be included with a text message, then you can select an appropriate service provider.
Wait, does this mean you can use emojis? Reception of this may vary widely, depending on your target audience. Before you spend money for a custom-built branded emoji, read this article. Don’t let your efforts to relate to the consumer be seen as patronizing.
How do you connect the text with the rest of your brand identity and personality?
Once a customer has opted in, they probably won’t save your phone number (especially not the number for the service platform sending the text). Shocking, right? Find a unique, simple, on-brand approach to remind them that it’s your business, every time you text them!
Text messaging has rapidly grown into a primary tool for marketing communication, one that can pay far greater dividends than even email marketing. However, don’t forget that branding those text messages is a critical part of this touchpoint and helps you maintain and build the desired perception you want for your business.
Re Perez is a seasoned brand consultant with a Fortune-500 background at global brand consultancies, including Interbrand and Siegel+Gale. He's also the CEO and founder of BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, a leading branding agency that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs across more than 45 different industries around the world, from emerging entrepreneurs, Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies, and established multi-million-dollar businesses. He has a proven track record for helping clients double, triple, and quadruple their business revenue.
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