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In today’s digital world, marketers are taking a multichannel approach to targeting consumers. The most coveted channel now is SMS (short message service), commonly known as texting.
There are challenges and regulations that marketers must keep in mind when using different channels. For example, the elimination of third-party cookies has stopped marketers from tracking their company’s website activity, hampering their ability to personalize their online communications to specific customer interest.
Likewise, while SMS can practically guarantee that the customer will at least see the message, as it has a whopping 98% open rate, marketers must collect consent prior to using this channel to market to customers.
The current state of SMS marketing
While there is no denying how relevant SMS marketing to targeting customers, it needs to be done in a completely compliant way. Even more important, SMS needs to be used wisely and judiciously so the customer can receive the value they expect and at the cadence they desire. Otherwise, they will unsubscribe.
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Unfortunately, many marketers today have been texting consumers without consent, which is illegal under the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). As the Act states, all companies, no matter the industry, must get expressed, written consent from consumers using mobile devices before sending them marketing text messages. If found in violation of the TCPA, fines of between $500 and $1,500 per text message may be levied.
For example, in the 2013 case of Ferencz vs. International Clinic Consultants LLC, the clinic consulting firm was found guilty of violating the TCPA by sending millions of texts a month to consumers containing unsolicited advertising messaging. International Clinic Consultants LLC never collected written consent or gave the option to opt out of receiving the text messages, so the company was fined $3.5 million.
To avoid this danger and be in full compliance with the TCPA, companies must make it clear to the customer that they will receive recurring, automated SMS marketing communication, and explain how they plan to utilize the customer’s preferences in future messages or campaigns. Collecting consent and preference data through a robust zero-party data program can help with these issues.
Enhancing SMS campaigns using zero-party data
Organizations have always wanted data that provides insights into their customers, and there’s no better place to get customer insights than from customers themselves. To do so, a company must gain customers’ trust. This starts with collecting their consent, and continues over time by collecting their preferences, such as the type of products or services they are interested in. Then the company must honor those preferences by providing relevant content.
Whether it’s sending a personalized message through any of a number of channels (e.g. email, SMS, website) that includes a link to a survey, or simply asking the customer to leave feedback on a specific product or service, these types of zero-party data strategies will enable marketers to better tailor their messages to each customer. This leads to greater trust and longer-lasting relationships.
If the goal of the organization is to ask its subscribed customers what services they are interested in or how they feel about a certain service, an SMS message will most likely generate that response faster than social media or email marketing. However, they must use this channel judiciously so as not to wear out their welcome.
Planning for 2023 marketing success
For effective marketing campaigns throughout 2023, engaging customers with SMS to collect zero-party data is the way to get the most personalized information. However, to maximize the consent and preferences from the customer, SMS marketing needs to be done in a way that gives the customer exactly what they want.
SMS is a channel that retailers must use properly; otherwise, it can have serious consequences for the business as a whole. Organizations need to utilize zero-party data strategies such as surveys and general feedback to make the text messages conversational and ensure better customer retention.
By using zero-party data marketing strategies for SMS, you and your business are sure to be a step ahead of the competition in 2023.
Scott Frey is the founder of PossibleNOW.
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