It may not be as popular as it was back then, especially with the prevalence of instant messaging technology, but text messaging is still the most widely-used form of communication today. For this reason alone, it’s almost always worth adopting text messages to your marketing strategy.
Not only is it an excellent channel on its own, but you can also use text marketing to support or complement your other marketing mediums, such as email and social media. However, such a strategy would necessitate the use of text marketing software, which can be tricky, seeing as how some software can be lackluster or too pricey for its value.
For that reason, this guide should help in that regard. This post tackles eleven crucial features of text marketing software.
1. Mass Texting And Voicemails
Considering that it takes at least 10 seconds to compose a copy-pasted text, you’re potentially looking at a few hours of staring at your computer or phone if you plan to send text messages to hundreds of prospects. What’s worse is this is only for a single text message. If you want to keep your customers up-to-date, one text message won’t do. After all, you’re going to have to send texts for things like:
- Promo codes
- Upcoming events (e.g., sales, contests, etc.)
Due to the absurd amount of time you’ll spend texting all your prospects, you may be better off spending money on software with the mass texting feature, which is arguably one of the most crucial features of text marketing software. It can save you a considerable amount of time that you would’ve otherwise spent writing texts for each contact individually.
Take note that specific software, like Drop Cowboy Ringless Voicemail, also offers personalized mass texting. It’s basically the same feature, except it allows you to personalize parts of the text.
For example, you can send text messages to a hundred contacts, with each text mentioning the name of that specific client. This doesn’t require much effort, though it does involve some coding which also shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Nevertheless, while it may not seem much, some contacts would most definitely appreciate personalized texts.
But aside from mass texting, some software and apps can also enable you to make voicemails and send prerecorded messages to your potential leads’ voicemails systems in bulk. You can learn more about how ringless voicemail works in this video:
2. Automated Text Replies
This feature is pretty self-explanatory. It basically allows the software to respond to text messages automatically. Suppose you send text messages introducing your business to your contacts. If the recipient has questions about your company, chances are they’ll respond with a message that looks like this: “What’s your company about?” or this: “Where can I find you?”
The automated text reply feature essentially provides the software with the ability to respond to replies of recipients automatically. So, looping back to the previous examples, it can respond to the recipient’s questions with a preset answer, like the contents of your website about page or your complete address. This can then potentially increase the engagement rate of text marketing campaigns.
You can also utilize this feature outside of marketing. In particular, automated replies can be pretty handy when sending transactional messages as it lets you complete transactions automatically. For example, if a customer wants to confirm their purchase order for a specific product, they can text back using the term “Confirm.” The software will detect this and automatically reply with a text message confirming the order details, such as the product name, price, and delivery date.
Other examples of transactional text messages that can benefit from this feature include:
- Order confirmations
- Billing reminders
- Shipping updates
- Order status updates
It may not always be helpful, but there are cases where this particular feature truly shines.
3. Agent Forwarding
Agent forwarding follows the same logic as automated text replies. It’s one of the many responses text marketing software can make when a recipient replies to your marketing text message.
However, rather than replying in the form of a text message, the software forwards the series of text messages to your call center, wherein one of your agents can continue the conversation. This, in turn, can keep the recipients engaged, which is one of the main goals of text marketing.
Suppose you send a welcome text message to prospects, and they respond with a question about your company. Rather than sending an automatic reply, it forwards the text to an agent instead. Usually, this is much better than the latter since agents can answer the recipient’s questions about your company more flexibly. Furthermore, potential clients are more likely to appreciate answers from fellow human beings. And if done right, the conversation can even lead to a sale or conversion.
However, keep in mind that both the text message forwarding and automated text replies functionality require one other feature to work correctly, and that is keyword recognition.
4. Keyword Recognition
One of the main goals of text marketing is to encourage a potential client or lead to take specific actions that usually involve engaging with your business. Examples of such actions include:
- Subscribing to the newsletter
- Using a discount voucher
- Talking to an agent
- Finding out more about the business
Businesses refer to these as call-to-actions. Of course, if the prospect or lead does take action, they typically do so by typing in and sending a specific term as a reply to the text message.
As for what that term may be, establishments usually specify that themselves. For example, when sending a marketing text, at the end of the text, you can include sentences like the following:
- Text ‘SUBSCRIBE’ to subscribe to our newsletter
- Text ‘DISCOUNT’ to use the discount voucher
- Text ‘LEARN’ to find out more about our business
- Text ‘AGENT’ to talk to an agent
Since these call-to-actions are pretty common, it’d be easy to assume text messaging services can recognize keywords, but no. Only specific text marketing software has keyword recognition capabilities. With that said, make sure your text marketing software can recognize keywords.
5. Scheduling Of Text Messages Sending
As much as you’d like to send all text messages in one swoop to get everything done in a single day, it’s often not advisable. In most cases, you’ll have to delay the delivery of certain texts. This is particularly true for texts related to business events or special occasions, such as a sale day or a grand opening. In most cases, you’ll have to set a date to deliver these types of messages.
For that reason, scheduling is essentially a feature that makes this particular task easier. More precisely, it allows you to set a date on which the messages will be sent. Once the scheduled date arrives, the software will automatically deliver the text messages as you specified.
6. Reporting And Analytics
Reporting and analytics have always been and will always be an essential part of any marketing strategy. It allows you to distinguish patterns that potential leads and clients may have, as well as determine areas in your current strategy that require improvement. You can use these patterns and insights to make changes to your strategy and potentially improve your metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs).
Some text marketing programs have platforms or dashboards where you can find all sorts of info about your past text marketing campaigns. These may include info like:
- Positive-negative feedback ratio
- Open rate
- Engagement rate
- Response times
With these pieces of info, you can compare text marketing campaigns side-by-side to figure out the approach that works best for your potential leads and clients, which you can then adapt as your primary approach.
Granted, you can perform the analytics without software by collecting the info yourself, but that often requires a lot of time and knowledge of data management. And more so, you could save time and resources by investing in text marketing software with reporting and analytics capabilities.
7. Unlimited Character Count
Normally, when you compose a text message, it can only contain up to 160 characters. If the text exceeds this limit, it’ll be split into several messages. Naturally, this will place a limitation on your text marketing strategy, though admittedly, long-form text messages tend to have worse KPIs than regular text messages. Nevertheless, it’s still quite handy to be able to write long texts to better communicate your message.
But for that to happen, you must find and use a tool or software that can bypass this character limit, and as you might have guessed, this is one of the features you can find in text marketing software.
Some text marketing tools can bypass the character limit and allow you to compose texts of any length by using a technique called concatenation. Concatenation is essentially the process of combining text messages with less than 160 characters as segments to create a longer text. It may be a bit tricky to find tools with this feature, but it’s almost always worth the search.
8. Text Inbox
Now and then, you may find the need to look at past conversations with your prospects or leads. Of course, you can always look it up manually by searching for your device’s inbox. However, such a method is frankly quite inefficient. If you want to monitor past conversations without spending much time or effort, make sure your software has a built-in text inbox where all text conversations are located.
Not only does it allow you to find any and all text messages in one place, but the text inbox feature also gives you the ability to revisit certain conversations if, suppose, you want to send a follow-up message. Overall, the text inbox is not necessarily a feature text marketing software must-have, but it’s a feature that’s certainly nice to have if you want to save a lot of time.
9. Data Capture
One of the main goals of text marketing is to capture leads. That’s why every once in a while, you must send messages that ask for their contact information, like their email address, for example. Unfortunately, phone carriers normally don’t have a way to capture these pieces of data. That’s why when getting your text marketing software, you must ensure it has the ability to collect data.
Apart from capturing contact information, this feature can also come in handy if you want to collect a specific piece of data, say, for example, you want to determine the age range of your prospects. With the data capture or collection feature, such tasks should be possible.
However, keep in mind that text marketing software must not only have a simple data collection feature. Rather, the software must be able to organize these pieces of data systematically. More specifically, the tool should be able to separate different types of information from one another. For example, it should have a separate database for email addresses, ZIP codes, birthdays, age, and other data. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend time organizing them yourself.
10. Formatting Features
If you want to keep recipients engaged with your business, using a simple text letter format is usually not enough. After all, a text-only message is too plain and may get boring in no time.
For that reason, most companies incorporate other formatting styles in their text messages. For example, they make use of images, links, and even surveys or polls. Of course, most of these can’t be composed if you rely solely on your device’s built-in text messaging capabilities. For that, you need text marketing software that allows you to format your texts in various ways.
Examples of formatting styles that text marketing software may have include:
- Multimedia attachments (e.g., images, videos, audio)
- Bullet points and numberings
- Selections (e.g., polls)
- Signup forms
11. System Integration
Seeing as how you’re looking for text messaging software, you most likely already have several other systems or apps in place for your business. Examples of such systems include:
- Billing system
- Invoice and quote management system
- Customer-relationship management (CRM) system
- Direct mail system
- Lead generation system
If you plan on using text marketing software as part of your business processes, it might be a good idea to integrate the software into your existing systems. However, keep in mind that not all text marketing software can integrate freely into any system you want. It must be integrable, which is why it’s important that you first check if system integration is one of its features.
Text marketing can be an effective strategy to boost your business’s visibility and generate potential sales. While this can be time-consuming, investing in effective text marketing software can help streamline your process.
As powerful as these features may be, keep in mind that only a few text marketing programs have all these functionalities. Some may have four or five, but not all. Furthermore, the more features the software has, the pricier it tends to be. And as such, when investing in text marketing software, know which features are your priority to help you narrow down your options and choose the right software.