If you are on a budget and need a simple group messaging solution, you can build a free, no-cost, text marketing list. This approach takes advantage of a seldom used feature of Twitter to promote your business for free.
Did you know that Twitter has a short code that can be used to follow Twitter accounts and receive those messages as SMS text? Anybody can subscribe to, and follow a twitter account, and it works with almost every mobile phone on the planet, not just smartphones. You will need a Twitter client to send messages, and you need to set up a separate Twitter account for your messages to subscribers so that they receive every “thank you, retweet, and FF” message that you send.
Go to Twitter and create a new account for your business, using a unique name that identifies you and the purpose of the twitter account. For instance, you can create a name with the word “promo” or “offers” in the name. If your business is David’s Bagels, for example, you might name your new account BagelSpecials or DavidsDeals. Make the name easy to remember and easy to associate with your business.
To subscribe to your Twitter feed, people need to text Follow (your twitter account) to 40404. So, in our example you can tell customers to text “Follow DavidsDeals to 40404” to get great offers and discounts. Use a clever call-to-action and you will get more subscribers. Eac time you tweet an offer with the DavidsDeals Twitter account, your customers will receive a text message.
When customers text “Follow DavidsDeals ” to 40404, they will not only receive future tweets, they also receive the LAST TWEET that was previously sent.
Customers do not have to have a Twitter account in order to receive these text messages, they just have to text “follow (username)” to 40404 and they will be subscribed.
The new Twitter account you set-up is JUST for text message offers. It does not replace your regular Twitter account. You don’t want to burn out your subscribers with too many messages, consider 1-2 offers per week as a good frequency level for retail businesses, and 1-2 per month for service businesses.
While this approach is free and easy to implement, it comes with some caveats. Twitter texting is “bare-bones”. It is a great way to test the waters, but a full featured text marketing system like DashMobi.com offers a huge range of features such as message scheduling, appointment reminders, and multiple list management.
Beginning on October 16th, 2013 the TCPA made it mandatory for businesses to receive “prior express written consent” before they sending text messages to customers. Consent has to be “clear and conspicuous”. You can’t trick customers into giving consent, or mislead them about what they are giving their consent to.
You must tell customers that opting in will result in text messages being sent to the mobile phone number provided by the consumer, that opting in is not required to complete a purchase or other transaction.
The new rules also require express prior written consent, as recorded through reply text, key press, digital signature, or other form allowed by state or federal law. In a nutshell, If you tell your customers that they are subscribing to a marketing program and you don’t add them without their knowledge and consent, you are covered. Break the law and you could face stiff penalties amounting to hundreds of dollars per message.