Since publishing this article, we have released our Ultimate Guide to TCPA Compliance and A2P 10DLC Regulations. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the changing laws surrounding things like ringless voicemail, cold calling and text message marketing and how to protect your business from expensive mistakes. Read the article here.
Do Not Send Another Text Message Until You Read This Post.
In today’s world, technology is constantly updating and changing to evolve to meet the needs of consumers.
Specifically, mobile technology has evolved rapidly over the years, and cell phone usage has increased drastically.
According to an article published on Pewinternet.com, 96% of Americans own a cell phone, and 81% of Americans own a smartphone. This means the vast majority of Americans have this type of technology at their fingertips at all times.
One of the biggest things cell phones are being used for is text messaging. In fact, text messaging has become a primary means of communication. Text messages are instant and can be read and exchanged at almost any time. They can also be thought out instead of responding out of reactions like phone calls or in-person conversations.
Knowing that this has become a preferred method of communication among consumers, it only makes sense that businesses started to adopt text messaging into their marketing efforts. As a business owner, you want to reach your consumers where they are, and it’s almost guaranteed they are on their phones.
Not to mention, 90% of texts are opened within three minutes of being received according to the Tatango Guide. So, not only are businesses starting to utilize the channel almost all consumers are on, they are reaching consumers almost instantly which can’t be said about any other communication channel.
Text messaging is one of the most effective ways to market you services as a real estate investor. Not to mention, it is probably THE MOST effective way to follow up, and convert leads in appointments.
Here are the top reasons why you should adopt text messaging into your marketing and follow up campaigns.
- Text messaging is the preferred method of communication for your prospects
- Text messages are personal
- Text messages are not ignored
- Text messages are immediate
- Text message campaigns are affordable
But, like any other marketing channel in order to receive the benefits from a text message campaign, your messages have to reach the consumer, and this is something that business owners who use text messaging as a marketing method have been experiencing issues with.
Cell phone carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc.) appear to be using adaptive software systems to protect their users (consumers). These systems are looking at both message content and volume, and behave very much like email filtering systems. The systems are being used to filter out spam messages, and when a spam message is detected the text message is being blocked.
This is happening because some businesses who have adopted this type of marketing strategy are abusing it.
To understand how the filters work it’s important to familiarize yourself with two terms; P2P and A2P.
- P2P: Person To Person messaging. This is when one person sends a text message to another person. For example, this would be if Sally sent a text message to John.
- A2P: Application To Person messaging. This is when you use an application (like Profit Dial) to send a text message to a person. For example, you use Profit Dial to send a message to Sally about a property you have for sale.
Text messages receive a cumulative score based on how many messages have come from a phone number during a certain time period, how many similar messages have crossed the carrier’s network, or if the message contains content that makes it a high match for spam or A2P.
As of right now, phone carriers can't exactly tell when texts are being sent from an application (like Profit Dial), or are being sent directly from a cell phone, so they are looking for patterns and usage in the text messages.
The patterns and usage they are looking for are whether or not the messages are in line with normal human behavior for text messaging. Some common things the carriers are looking for are:
- How fast text messages are being sent from your number.
- The number of messages being sent per day.
- The number of recipients you're sending a text message to.
- The ratio of incoming text messages vs. outbound text messages.
The good news is there are some strategies you can follow to avoid having your text messages marked as spam.
The following 6 strategies will set you up for success when running text message campaigns
1. Get Permission
You should only send text messages to someone who has given you permission to do so. This is critical to running a successful text marketing campaign. It’s also important that you are compliant and adhering to local laws and CTIA recommendations, which protects consumers from unwanted solicitation. Sending messages without permission to do so can cause you to look spammy, create a bad name for your business, and annoy the person receiving the message.
2. Keep Your Messages Short
Regardless of how long your text message is it will only be sent out in 160 character chunks. If possible keep your message to 160 characters or less to avoid having the message broke up, and being received in the wrong order. When sending text messages from your REI BlackBook account you can see how many characters are being used, and how many messages will be sent.
You also want to keep the message clear and concise by focusing on one objective with each message. Consumers have a short attention span, so messages that have a clear focus will hold their attention longer.
3. Personalize Your Message
The last thing you want is for someone to feel like they are part of a mass text message that was sent out by a robot. Personalize your messages by including their name, property address (when necessary), email, etc. Sending out personalized messages will allow you to make a personal connection with your consumers. REI BlackBook makes this very simple to do. When sending out text message whether it’s a blast or as part of a Workflow, use the merge fields option. This automatically pulls the information directly from the contact record, and adds that personal touch to each message.
Personalizing the messages you send will also lower your chances of having your messages marked as spam. Sending massive numbers of an identical message tends to set off the spam filters, and your messages are more likely to get blocked, and not delivered.
4. Send messages at the right time
Messages should be sent when they are most likely to be read. This may take some experimenting with different times to figure out what the best time is for your consumers, but this will help you get the most engagement from your campaign. Also, make sure you’re sending messages during normal/expected hours. Sending a message in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning may not be the best idea, and you most likely won’t get a positive response. In REI BlackBook, you can schedule text messages to go out at a specific time of day, when your prospects are most likely to engage.
5. Avoid using trigger words when possible
Context is what matters, and as mentioned earlier the spam filters used by phone carriers are starting to look at the content of text messages sent. These filters are starting to recognize certain phrases or words that are used in the messages that are considered red flags because they are often used with scams, gimmicks, schemes, promises, or free gifts. When these phrases or words are used in the body of the text message they trigger the spam filters and your messages are being blocked. Some words or phrases that are considered trigger words are Free, Click here, Make money, Get it now, No purchase necessary. To see the full list of trigger words to avoid using when sending messages check out the Spam Text Message Trigger Word Cheat Sheet.
6. Segment the list of recipients
You don’t want to send every message to every single contact you have. Not only will you annoy your contacts, but this will also be a red flag for the spam filters. It doesn’t make sense to send a property you are trying to sell to a probate lead you received. They are trying to sell a property, not acquire another one. So, segment your contacts based on their relevance to your business by using tags in your CRM.
Create a tag for the different types of buyers you may have, or the different types of real estate leads you receive. This will help keep everything organized, and make it easier to send out text blasts when you need to because you have the ability to filter your contacts based on the tags that are applied to them.
If you aren’t sure how to create a tag inside your REI BlackBook account read through the article Create a Tag.
Text message marketing is starting to become one of the most reliable and best methods for business owners to connect with their consumers, and for good reason. When done correctly, it works better than any other communication channel.
This marketing strategy can and will propel your business forward, and REI BlackBook makes taking advantage of this strategy simple.
So, practice good etiquette when sending messages by following the 6 strategies in this post to increase the deliverability of your text messages, and see the full power this marketing strategy can give your business.