How to Fail at Text Marketing

Many companies in all sizes are utilizing and adopting Text Message Marketing as a prime form of marketing for their business model. Though many companies adopt this form of marketing not all are experts in this field; therefore many fail.

This post is going to be very black and white. It’s simple when it comes to failing at this option. It takes very minimal effort to see this outlet go to waste. The majority of all companies who offer text message marketing service make it fool proof to get started growing your list at a good pace.

In the marketing field I see many companies large and small fail every day using this outlet. It is not rocket science and I do believe by educating your self you can become great at this resource. Lets take a look at what you can do to fail.


STEP 1: Sign up for a Text Message Marketing service

Since failing at something means you must be already doing it you will have to sign up for a text message marketing service. Many companies offer a free trial that you can test, so get a hold of one. I will include suggestions below.


STEP 2: Create a complicated Keyword

When creating a keyword it is highly recommended that you stay away from certain characters and symbols do to confusion. This is not the case 100% of the time but you are making a risky decision when choosing to do so. Hard to type keywords influence people not to join your list.


STEP 3: DO NOT set up your auto-reply as a mobile coupon

Simply put, if you do not set up your auto reply as a mobile coupon for immediate use you are missing out. There are a few simple components in creating your auto-reply message.

  1. Thank the customer for joining
  2. Present incentive they can redeem
  3. Time pressure it with an expiration date
  4. Beef it up with a URL or phone number (if you have enough characters)

Side Note: As a best practice you will want to always start with proper English and then moved to text message lingo for the sake of saving characters.

STEP 3: DO NOT offer a good incentive or at all

The incentive is the most important part in enticing your customer to join your list. With any good text message marketing company such as or many others you have an option to customize the confirmation message. This is called the auto-reply. See our previous post for creating a great auto reply.

STEP 4: DO NOT use a call-to-action

What? No call-to-action? Yes, that’s right. You must not understand permission based marketing if you do not have a strong call-to-action. Every form of marketing that is opt. in style where the customer is giving you permission to market to them on a personal level requires some sort of great incentive for joining your list. See our post under, “Good Advice – The Value of the Message” for more info.


STEP 5: DO NOT promote or advertise your list

Advertising your text message marketing list is a key component here. The majority of all text message-marketing services offer a flyer generator where you can create and print your very own flyers to post in your establishment.

Smart marketers using text message marketing understand that creating professional flyers is a better option. Sometimes this is done in house by your own graphic designer or contracted out to a third party and sometimes your text marketing service will assist you in coming up with flyers for you.

Promoting your list is a key component. With all the companies I consult on digital marketing I typically spend the most time on text marketing.  Over time I have found that businesses do much better growing their lists when they promote their text message marketing call-to-action in every previously used advertising outlet. See our previous post, “Good Advice – Funnel This!”.

Side Note: Best tip for any brick and mortar business is to have the employees directly ask your patrons and customers to join face to face. This is very similar to a sales person up selling right before point of sale.

Example 1:    Server: Hello! Today you guys have the opportunity to receive a FREE appetizer of your choice.

Customer: Awesome! How?

Server: Simply text, “ KEYWORD “ to Short-code # to get the deal and join our text VIP list.

Example 2:    Sales Associate: Would you like to receive $10 OFF your purchase of $50 or more today?

Customer: Sure!

Sales Associate: Text, “ KEYWORD ” to Short-code #. To get the deal and join our text VIP list.

This technique is easy enough but the majority of users of text message marketing are lacking motivation to really grow their list. This lack of motivation can easily be cured. Simply make it protocol in your business or organization to execute this technique.

STEP 6: DO NOT send on a regular frequency 

Yes it is true that infrequent campaigns can cause confusion. Make sure you have a minimal amount of campaigns set for each month that you want to send out. Do not over do it though. See our previous post on, “Good Advice – Over use & Under use”.

STEP 7: DO NOT Provide exclusive value in your message

So often businesses forget to provide value worth receiving. You have to remember text is personal and if you can’t provide and insane deal worth redeeming how then, are you going to push traffic into your establishment?

Often I see companies using text marketing and they start great but then over time start lacking value in the delivered message.

Example 1:    This weekend at Joes Bar & Grill Restaurant our specials are this, this and this. Stop in or call us for reservations.

The point of text message marketing is to drive traffic not announce your ongoing deals and business hours. Come on now!

This does not provide any value and is just telling me about your specials for the weekend. Why would I want to receive this if I can simply hop on your website or Facebook and get your menu there and make reservations.

You need to be specific and offer something to your text customers that is valued and special only for those VIP members. Do not give the same deals as your other marketing outlets.

Do not get overly specific either. Keep your campaigns vague and highly valued. Make them timed pressured and keep give your receivers value they can not get anywhere else.

Example 1:    This weekend at Joes Bar & Grill during late night all

text VIP members get a FREE appetizer with the purchase of entrée. Offer expires after 8 PM. Hurry in or make reservations (phone  number here)

This example announces the business, provides value, exclusivity, and time pressures the deal; a perfect combination when designing text message marketing campaigns.

STEP 8: Take no progressive steps at all

This is as easy as it sounds. Sign up and don’t do anything. Thinking that your marketing efforts will handle themselves is foolish. Step up and take your business by the horns. If you can’t handle this task then assign someone to handle it for you.

Many companies using text message marketing often think service providers are there to provide a list of opted in customers to receive deals. In the permission based marketing industry this is un-true. All customers who join a specific text message marketing list must 100% opt into receive your deals.


Did you like this? Share it: