Q&A from our "Unlock More Sales and Engagement with Text (SMS) Marketing" webinar

Caitlin_M
Administrator

Adding text or SMS to your marketing strategy is a great way to send exclusive offers and information to your audience while communicating in the channels they prefer. In today’s society, most people keep their phones with them everywhere. When you reach out via text message, you can get your message to your clients nearly instantly. But that’s not the only benefit to this type of marketing.

 

In this free webinar, learn how to unlock sales and engagement with SMS and learn a bit about our SMS marketing tool!

 

We’ll cover:

  • The do’s and don’ts of text marketing
  • How to grow your list to grow your business
  • How to create a positive & effective customer experience

 

 

What's SMS?

SMS stands for Short Message Service and is more commonly known as texting. It's a way to send text-only messages of up to 160 characters between phones. We are partnering with a third-party provider, Sinch, to provide an SMS messaging service in accounts.

 

There are a lot of text messaging services out there. What value do you provide that is different from these other services or add value for current customers?

Constant Contact provides a free phone number to our customers, which gives you higher credibility and deliverability. Our award-winning support is here to help you get started, and since we are more competitively priced than most of our competitors, we make it possible for you to be a more effective marketer at a great price point.

 

Is the SMS Marketing tool included in the regular Email pricing or only available through Email Plus? Are there tiers like we have now?

SMS marketing is an add-on feature for both plans. Like with our email marketing pricing, the pricing tiers are based on the number of messages you send. See how to add SMS marketing to your plan.

 

Great! So how do I get started with using the SMS tool?

You will first need to add SMS to your account plan. We recommend reading our article outlining the guidelines for using SMS. Some really important steps need to be taken before beginning the registration process and help you get started faster:

  • Create an SMS privacy policy and terms of service. You don't need these readily available when registering, but they are required to be added to your account before sending your first SMS campaign. We provide some templates to use but recommend consulting with your legal counsel to ensure that you're being compliant with any applicable regulations for your state or industry.
  • Have your EIN (employer identification number) handy. If you don't have an EIN, you cannot use the SMS tool.

 

Once you are ready, you can then register for SMS within your account.

 

Are we able to pick the phone number that messages come from?

No, the phone number is assigned based on the availability of phone numbers. The number will not be tied to your actual business phone number so the recipient cannot call or text the phone number to contact you. In the near future, we plan to offer a feature allowing customers to request the area code for their number. 

 

Are we be able to include graphics in the messages?

To start, we will not be supporting MMS (media message service). We plan to allow for images and GIFs in the future.

 

Are we able to personalize texts?

Yes, you can personalize the message with your contact's first name when creating an SMS marketing message.

 

What about links?

Links are supported and clickable. You're allowed to have a single clickable link in each SMS campaign. The tool handles the shortening of your links but they count towards the 160-character count.

 

How do my recipients know my business/organization is sending them a message? Is my name included?

Your business name is automatically included in the Sender Name that shows at the start of the message.

 

What kind of reporting is available?

For SMS campaign reporting, you can see how many messages were sent and delivered, as well as the click rate. You'll be able to dive into these reports to see even more information.

 

When using SMS with automated customer journeys, you'll be able to view the reporting for automated SMS campaigns including revenue, conversions, and your conversion rate.

 

So the first step is to ask our contacts if they will accept messages from us. Is there a way to allow or encourage folks already on our email marketing lists to opt in?

Since CASL and anti-spam legislation includes SMS marketing, they will need to opt in. We have a template available in the template picker to invite your email subscribers to opt-in to receiving messages from you.

 

You can encourage new contacts to subscribe to receive messages when enabling SMS opt-in for a Lead Generation Landing Page. This will automatically insert a field for new contacts to provide their phone number and confirm they will receive messages from you, while also linking to your SMS privacy policy.

 

If a contact does business with us already, is it implied they're open to receiving texts?

No, you need to get their explicit permission through an opt-in form that specifically states they want to receive texts from you. You can use the SMS email template to ask your contacts to opt in or provide a link to your Lead Generation landing page.

 

Is the contact list for texting separate from my email lists? How do I control unsubscribes between emails and texting?

Yes, they are separate. When someone unsubscribes from an email, they are only unsubscribing from receiving emails and when they unsubscribe from texts, they only unsubscribe from texts. Contacts can be subscribed in both places but they would have to unsubscribe from each. Just like how emails have an unsubscribe link, your SMS messages include a  STOP message which will remove them from the texting list.

 

How do you combat those individuals that get SMS marketing and glance at or delete the message entirely? Sometimes texts I get from other businesses and find they can be annoying.

Consider this: what about their messages is annoying for you? Do they send too often? Is it relevant content? 

 

When creating your messages, is there something of value that will catch their attention? Think about why they signed up for your emails and see if you can bring it over into your texts as well. Play around with what works for your audience. You may want to think about the timing of the texts. In most cases, you will be sending texts less often than your emails.

 

Note: Want to know more and find out some best practices? Read our SMS Text Message Marketing Best Practices blog post.

 

If a customer were to respond to the text, how would we receive this message? Can we have conversations through the SMS marketing tool?

At launch, we will not support having the ability for two-way texting. However, this is something we are looking to include in a future release. If a recipient replies to your text, we have automated replies to help point them in the right direction.

 

Can we use this to send appointment reminders?

Transactional messages will not be supported in the near term. Based on research we have done, we found most platforms that handle "bookings" also handle reminders so it's better to see what features are available through those platforms.

 

Does the SMS tool have automation features?

Yes, you will be able to welcome and nurture new contacts, send abandoned cart reminders, and even request reviews from your customers after purchase.

 

Can we build a workflow that connects an action a contact takes or doesn’t take in a campaign, similar to segments? For example, my contact opens my email but doesn't click a link.

We are planning to include this functionality in the SMS marketing feature sometime in the future.

 

We have customers and contacts in areas outside of our time zone, including those who are international. How can you control multiple time zones?

We will not be supporting SMS messages sent internationally to start. For messages sent within the US, we allow customers to schedule campaigns as we do with email today. We're taking accountability for "quiet hours" mandated by law and will not allow messages to be sent between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m ET.

 

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Have questions about our SMS tool? Our Support team is here to help! You can post your question on our Get Help board or contact our Support team to speak with a live agent.

3 Comments
KaylaH561
Participant

When will constant contact release a texting feature? I might have missed this response in the webinar. Thank you! 

WendyR725
Regular Participant

Does the opt-in requirement apply to non-marketing type texts (e.g. a landlord might text that rent is past due)?

Caitlin_M
Administrator

Hi @WendyR725. Yes, any kind of text marketing or messaging must have an explicit opt-in from the recipients in alignment with CASL. When we introduce this tool, we will have templates to use. We'll also be updating this post soon with more information.