But when reaching out to our customers, where do we draw the line? We want to stay on their minds, and be in front of them, but when do we cross over from “SMS marketing directly to our audience” to the dreaded “S” word?
Are you sending SPAM to your customers and don’t realize it? If so, this is shooting your marketing in the foot, and you need to fine-tune your strategy.
You want to be sure you’re sending the right offer to the right person at the right time to get conversions, and you never want to edge into being annoying– and certainly don’t want to be considered SPAM or junk.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to clean up your affiliate SMS flow to maximize conversions, eliminate complaints, and never fall into the trap of sending SPAM.
What is SPAMMY?
So what are some earmarks that are synonymous with SPAM texts?
Firstly (and we have to say it), if you’re sending any sort of total junk links or doing anything that isn’t ethical you’re sending SPAM. Still not sure? Are trying to trick people into opting in, or get their information without permission? You’re sending SPAM. There’s no justification for it, and you should stop immediately– you’re giving the rest of us a bad name. SMS marketing is a strong enough marketing channel that you don’t need to resort to cheap tricks and breaking the law to get results, you just have to get better at it (and we’re going to help).
Also worth an explicit mention when talking about what is spammy: there are certain things you are legally not allowed to promote through an SMS message. Under no circumstances should you send any text message marketing related to tobacco, firearms, pornography, illegal drugs and substances, or alcohol.
Now, considering you’re following the rules, what else is considered SPAM? Well, it depends, but there are some things that are often considered SPAM right away:
All Caps: Don’t yell at your customers. Sure you can make a specific word or promotional code pop out by using CAPS, but DON’T TYPE AN ENTIRE TEXT MESSAGE IN CAPS BECAUSE IT COMES ACROSS AS SPAMMY AND IS ALSO HARDER TO READ. (See?) It’s unprofessional, don’t do it.
Sending Duplicate Messages: Are you blasting out the same text over and over to your list? Then you’re technically sending SPAM. Mindless, duplicate content plays a big part in the categorization of SPAM, so don’t just fire off the same message lazily to your list. (It’s also a bad look if your customers open up their latest SMS message from you and see that the exact same text is directly above it because it’s the last one you sent.)
Back to Back Messages: Send a message, and then let it do its work. Don’t fire off back-to-back texts like a machine gun, or you’re definitely sending SPAM. When you’re going the rapid-fire route, you’re not having a text conversation. These are your customers. People get annoyed quickly if you blow them up, and you’re far more likely to have them block you or report your number. Avoid this to avoid complaints.
Overdoing Emojis: A well-placed emoji can make your message pop, but if you use too many, you’re not only going to look unprofessional, but you’re also edging into SPAM territory. Emojis (and other special characters like roman numerals) are considered to be Unicode. That means that they are characters that are accepted throughout the world universally. Overusing Unicode can get you flagged quickly. This is most commonly the case with emojis, but dollar signs are also known to trigger SPAM filters quickly.
Attaching Files, Images, or GIFs: If your audience knows you, and it fits your brand, a GIF or image can bring a smile to their face. But be sure you send carefully and don’t overspend. A GIF or an image should never be “just because.” It should support your offer and make sense (and typically try to bring a laugh). Never send anything that would toe the line of being inappropriate. Know that images and GIFs are often abused by scummy spammers, so they commonly trigger SPAM filters when sent to a large group.
Careful of the URLs: Your offer will almost certainly contain a URL that you’re looking for people to click to make a sale. Be especially careful with URLs, and make sure they lead to a safe, valid landing page (or website if you absolutely must, but make sure it’s optimized for conversions). Some argue you should use link shorteners (which can be helpful with character count), but only do so if you have your SMS list’s trust since they won’t be able to see the URL destination.
SMS Marketing Best Practices: Send Offers, NOT SPAM
So what is the secret sauce to sending an SMS marketing campaign that converts but that doesn’t fall into the trap of being to SPAMMY? Here are some things to consider when writing your affiliate SMS messages.
Send Relevant Offers: We’re not trying to be cute here, this is the foundation of not sending SPAM. Are you sending a solid offer that has good value to a list that wants to hear about it? If you have an offer that you know isn’t really of interest to your list, don’t send it. It’s not worth ticking off the majority of your list with something that looks like SPAM to get a handful of conversions from a few people. Sending offers that matter to your specific list is the #1 way to avoid sending SPAM.
Shoot Straight and Be Clear: Don’t try to schmooze or get around the fact that you’re sending people an offer. Be upfront, and be clear with who you are, and why you’re sliding into their SMS inbox. Present an offer that has value, and then ask for their business with a clear call to action. This simple, straightforward approach is one that people on your list tend to appreciate, and if they get the sense you’re being upfront, they’re less likely to consider you as SPAM.
Personalize When Possible: If you can insert your customer’s name into the SMS message automatically using software, you can give customers a personalized experience that can help conversion rates. You should also segment your lists when you are able so you can target customers by interest, location, age, etc. If a customer feels like an offer is tailor-made, there’s no way they would consider it SPAM– it feels personalized.
Deliver What You Promise: If you tout a sale, discount code, or anything else in your offer, make sure it’s functional on your site, and accurate. There’s a very special kind of frustration a customer experiences when they click through your offer and then the offer doesn’t work as advertised. Whether it’s that your free shipping isn’t appearing in their cart, your coupon code isn’t working, or a discount isn’t registering– it’s hard to win back prospects who click through and experience a faulty offer.
Proofread Your Messages: And then proofread them again. Typos are one of the quickest ways to destroy trust in your offer (or worse, make your brand look incompetent). You also want to make sure your offer makes sense, and that you haven’t forgotten any words in your message (or especially your call to action). It might not seem like much, but a well-written, proofread message goes a long way to increase your conversions and keep your messages from being perceived as SPAM.
Opt-Out Info: It’s not something we like to do, but offering people a way to opt out of your text message campaign is something you should strongly consider. It may seem counterintuitive, but if someone doesn’t want to be on your list, you don’t want them to be on your list. Sometimes people want to unsubscribe, and that’s okay. If you don’t let them, you’re more likely to aggravate them, and they’re more likely to lodge a formal complaint and report you.
SPAM Can Cost You Thousands
Depending on where your customers are based globally, there are various laws that are in play when sending any sort of SMS message to your list. Consider brushing up on the following laws to avoid formal complaints. All violations of any of these laws and rules can result in a monetary penalty or fine.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) – The is applicable in the USA and is the leading regulatory rules of SMS marketing and illicit telemarketing enforced by the FCC.
CAN-SPAM Act – Also based in the USA, this works in tandem with TCPA and applies heavily to text/SMS marketing campaigns.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Applicable in the European Union, this affects any of your text campaigns and other electronic communications to anyone who falls within that union.
Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) – Applicable in the United Kingdom, this works in tandem with the GDPR and the Data Protection Act.
Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) – Applicable in Canada, and requires any business that wants to send electronic messages to abide by its core requirements.
TextCalibur Is The Tool You Need
TextCalibur is the premier online SMS service that can help your business send automated SMS messages and campaigns to your subscriber lists seamlessly.
Our software has features that help legitimate companies stay out of the “SPAM” category for good.