SMS marketing is more popular than ever before. With more people staying at home and spending more time on their mobile devices, brands are wise to reach out in new and direct ways. While SMS gives you an opportunity to provide valuable content to your users, it also opens them up to potential privacy violations.
According to Marketing Tech News, SMS marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. Approximately 97% of messages get read within the first four minutes they’re received. With such high open rates and inexpensive delivery, expect more brands to tap into the power of SMS customer outreach.
You probably already receive SMS outreach messages from brands you personally do business with. Pay attention to their methods to learn how best to tap into the power of this marketing method.
What Is SMS Customer Outreach?
You’ve likely heard of SMS marketing. Outreach is quite similar in the use of text messaging, but the contact is more personalized. For example, a customer purchases a new product. You follow up a few days after delivery and ask for some feedback.
You can also reach out for their birthday, anniversary, and other special occasions. SMS opens up an entire line of communication you otherwise wouldn’t have with your audience. The last thing you want is to compromise their personal information. Yet, cybercrime and identity theft is an ongoing problem.
So, how can you create highly personalized messages for your users while still keeping them safe? Here are five tips to secure your messages today.
1. Choose the Right Provider
Have you ever wondered what the most used data service in the world is? Text messaging hits the mark with 15,000 texts sent every minute. However, choosing the wrong provider can cause lag times and security concerns.
Search for an SMS provider with the Cyber Essentials certificate. The government-backed classification ensures the company meets certain minimum security standards. Ask questions about how they ensure the safety of their customers and their clients.
2. Understand Regulations
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to you if you have even one customer who is a citizen of a European Union (EU) country. While it might be tempting to assume everyone on your list is in the United States or another country not in the EU, it only takes one to make you subject to fines. Getting hit with disciplinary action can be highly detrimental to small business owners.
It’s probably best to get in the habit of following GDPR guidelines for all your customers to cover your bases. Post your privacy policies on your website where they’re easy to find. Collect and keep only the data you need to do business with the person. Explain the security measures you have in place.
While you can’t 100% control if there is a data breach, you can do everything possible to prevent one. Protecting your clients’ most personal data shows you care about them as individuals and not just as revenue streams.
3. Use Double Opt-Ins
When the customer signs up for text communication, they should get a first text confirming they wanted to do so. Double opt-ins prevent someone from signing them up without their knowledge or accidentally.
Double opt-ins also cover you if someone tries to say you added them to a list without their permission. You’ll have records of the initial sign-up and of them agreeing to get emails via text. They’ll have a hard time arguing they didn’t know with the double-layered subscription model.
4. Choose Easy Opt-Outs
What happens when customers are tired of hearing from you? People wake up to radio ads promoting the latest thing, television advertising, and an inbox overflowing with emails. Statista predicts around 376.4 billion emails will go out daily by 2025.
With such massive amounts of noise, the average consumer doesn’t listen to much of it. They may find they aren’t really paying attention to your text messages or just need a break from all the clutter in their text messaging app.
Make opting-out as simple as texting the word STOP. The best SMS customer outreach programs remind people from time to time how to leave. However, always send an opt-out message after a fabulous offer or interesting news. You want to entice people to stay subscribed even as you offer an easy out.
Although it might be tempting to keep people on your list, you don’t really want to retain those who don’t want to be there. Although the costs for SMS marketing might be minimal, you don’t want to waste money on people who never bother to open your messages or find them aggravating.
5. Use SSL
Secure Socket Layers (SSL) is an encryption protocol used to keep information secure. Not only should any web pages you send your customers have SSL enabled, but you also want to seek an SMS provider who takes SSL certificates seriously.
The SSL certificate should be up to date. You should see a lock icon in the corner of your computer screen before you send a mass message to your users. If you’re unsure how to enable SSL, consult a web developer or security expert. It’s better to invest in security upfront rather than have to fix things after a breach and explain to your customers why their data was compromised.
You will have to pay for a private SSL certificate, but your customers will see you’re serious about protecting them and keeping any links you send them secure. The certificate is well worth the investment and installation work.
Maximum Data Privacy
Taking the steps above helps ensure you keep your customers’ data secure. You must develop a relationship of trust with your customers. Be open about the different measures you take to protect their information. They’ll appreciate it and feel more comfortable sharing things with you in the future.
Regulation can be time-consuming, but you’ll build credibility for your brand. When you go above and beyond what you’re required to do, it gives you instant good press and ups your trust factors. SMS customer outreach can be a powerful tool when used correctly and with protections in place.