How to acquire a new audience by text

Texting is an uncrowded medium with a 95% open rate. It’s also great when you want an instant reaction from the recipient, as the average time it takes for clickthroughs and replies is 3 minutes. 3 minutes?!

BUT texting hadn't been optimized for brand marketing because it has always sounded so robotic and impersonal. It used to look like this:

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Notice that only one sentence of this text is an actual marketing message. Well, this is exactly the opposite of what I advise my clients to do. Gone are the days of impersonal text marketing.

Today I want to go over some foundational concepts for a successful text acquisition campaign, where the goal is to build connection with a new audience.

Use a highly targeted list

The cell phone list you begin with is absolutely the best foundation for a great campaign. If you don’t have the right list, it doesn’t matter if you are crafting the best message in the world.

So what do I mean by a targeted list?

You would have to consider if what you are offering is relevant to the recipient. For example, if you are offering something that is specific to Chicago residents that are between the age of 18–24 with interests in gaming, then you’d only want to text those people. The more targeted your list is, the less money you will spend on texting, and a higher ROI you will likely achieve.

Time it right

The next important factor in a successful campaign is timing. While there are generally successful time slots that are good for texting (6pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends), it truly depends on your objective and the audience.

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Time to not text

  • Commute time
  • before 10am
  • after 8pm

Otherwise expect angry replies!

Texting is a time sensitive medium. Sometimes you may not want to text more than an hour ahead of the call to action. 4pm may not be a good time to text if you are a coupon app trying to get people to redeem cashback for going to McDonalds on a weekend. If the prime time for people going to McDonalds is 1pm on a weekend, then you definitely don’t want to text until it’s 11am.

Be transparent

Most people remember the days of spam texts in 2008. While it is tempting to pretend to be someone and trick people into clicking your link, most people will realize that it is too good to be true.

Even if you are able to offer really great real deals, cut it down a bit so that it seems realistic and believable.

Identify yourself

The worst mistake you can make in an outreach text is to have all of the people text back “Who is this?”

Then you’d 1) miss the opportunity to get them to take action and 2) have to send more texts trying to identify yourself and convincing them to take action.

Always identify yourself like this: “Hi it’s Jess from Handstack. I’m reaching out because..”

Have just one Call To Action

Some of the unsuccessful campaigns we’ve seen had two calls to action: 
1) asking them to reply with any questions and 
2) asking them to click on a link.

To obtain best results, I recommend that you ask for just one Call To Action.

Say the most important thing first

The first text always gets a better conversion rate than the second text. So if you have an important call to action, you should bring it up in the first text. If your core objective is to collect what people think about something, you should ask for a reply. If your objective is to get people to click on your link, you should include that link in your first message.

In conclusion

Consider these rules, send a sample text to yourself, and be honest about how you would evaluate it if you received it. Enjoy crafting them! There are lots of creative ideas to leverage for texting campaigns.

I’m happy to proofread your text copy — drop me a note here.