Expert Interview Series: Natascha Thomson About Mass Text Messaging Dos and Don'ts

Are you trying to market your brand to a mass audience?

What strategies have you tried? Did you know that you can send targeted messages via text - custom tailored for the person you're trying to reach?

Natascha Thomson is the CEO of MarketingXLerator, a marketing consultancy with a focus on social media. She consults with small and large clients including SAP, Polycom, SLAP Company, LookingGlass and HR Strategies.

She recently caught up with us to share her insight on the dos and don'ts of mass texting. Read on:

Define mass texting.

Mass texting simply means that a text message is sent by one entity to a group comprised of multiple individuals. The word "mass" in commercial use generally implies at least hundreds if not thousands of recipients. It also often carries a negative connotation as it conjures up the image of spam.

But spam messages are not defined by the size of the list of recipients but by a lack of targeting of the message to the individual recipient. Herein lies the challenge of mass anything: the message either has to be equally relevant to all recipients (homogenous audience) or individually customizable. Both are possible.

What are some dos for mass texting?

1. Know your audience. Messages need to be relevant and sent at the appropriate time(s) and frequency. Otherwise it's just spam.

2. Earn and nurture your audience's trust. Especially on mobile devices, consumers feel that you are making a very personal "connection" with them in their "real" ad hoc lives. Irrelevant messages make you seem like an intruder and recipients will quickly opt out.

3. ALWAYS have a Call-To-Action (CTA). Your text message has to make it crystal clear what's in it for the recipient. A typical CTA is to ask the recipient to send a keyword to opt in to your contact list. For in-store offers, the CTA could be "show this text for a discount."

4. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). This is the best strategy. In the brevity of 160 characters, use crisp, clear and unambiguous language and a simple CTA.

5. Measure and fine-tune. Define metrics that allow you to track your progress and fine-tune your texting and integrated marketing campaigns. Think big picture.

What are the "don'ts" for mass texting?

1. Be relevant. NEVER, and I mean NEVER, send a text message to somebody who is not clearly in your target audience for the message. Just because they opted in does not entitle you to send them irrelevant information.

2. Don't break the law. FCC rules protect consumers under the TCP and CAN-SPAM Acts. Commercial text messages can only be sent to a mobile device if the user has opted in, IN WRITING.

3. Never send anonymous messages. Make it clear in the message signature who you are and how to opt out.

4. Avoid abbreviations or lingo if you are not 100 percent sure your audience is familiar with them. Otherwise you might create confusion and frustration.

5. Don't be careless with your list. Protecting your clients' data and privacy needs to be your key concern. In the age of cyber crimes, hackers will exploit any security weakness, which can cost you customers, your reputation and revenue.

How can businesses use mass texts to their benefit?

Text messaging is just one avenue to reach a target audience, don't let it be your only one. Text messaging should be part of an integrated marketing strategy that also includes traditional online and offline channels like email and events, as well as social media.

Which integrated marketing strategy is right for you is strongly dependent on your objectives, your target audience, and your resources. Know your target audience intimately, including where and when they like to receive information and in what formats. The more relevant you can make your message, the bigger your chances for conversion and subsequent ROI.

Follow Natascha Thomson on Twitter.

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