Part 4: Messaging as a Commercial Medium


The vehicle of messaging you use to communicate with your customers can make or break your product’s success.


Everyone checks their notifications and sending texts is cheap. So if you send out mass texts, then you are bound to receive decent results, right?


Much to the chagrin of marketers, the FCC also thought so and found a way to limit what they deemed as spam. They created the TCPA, which requires written consent for a business to message customers for marketing purposes.


But can I text my customers anyway, without worrying about the repercussions?


Unless you’re a fan of hefty fines, the answer is a resounding no.


You can be sued for as much as $1,500 per text message, if it was proven that you willfully and knowingly violated the law! This even applies if you just texted your potential customer for permission to text them again in the future.


So, how can marketers circumvent these distressing thoughts without having to pay?


  • Provide customers with discounts at the checkout if they submit their phone number and sign off on receiving future texts
  • Advertise that you send discounts and info on sales via text
  • Message what customers want to receive, such as fraud alerts, reminders for payments or appointments, and try to limit what they wouldn’t want, like taking surveys.




Once you get permission from customers to send them texts, it becomes an extremely effective form of marketing. See for yourself:


  • 77% said they were open to receiving text messages from a company they have done business with
  • 50% of internet users were open to receiving info about sales
  • 90% of internet users were open to Short Message Service (SMS) in the first 90 seconds


Domino’s Pizza has embraced SMS marketing by allowing customers to order by texting them “easy order” or a pizza emoji slice to their 6-digit code.


However, most companies have yet to adopt this form of communication with their client base. Only 22% of retailers send their customers SMS messages, compared to 84% of retailers sending them emails.




Besides ordering, SMS has also been a valuable customer service tool.


While the majority of consumers say they prefer a phone call, the current system is clearly not working:


  • 57% of consumers place ‘Reducing hold times’ among their top choices for improving service
  • More than half of consumers will hang up after being on hold for 6-15 minutes
  • 25% of consumers will hang up in 0-5 minutes


Wouldn’t it be easier to simply have customer service text a response to your inquiry? The idea of waiting 20 minutes for a text, rather than being on hold for 20 minutes, does have its appeal.


However, the issue here lies in ameliorating your customers’ satisfaction. The reason they call goes beyond the issue they have. They also have a lot to vent and get off their chest.


Just think of customer service as a fortified wall protecting the company from an onslaught of complaints and concerns catapulted their way. Plus, texting is not as efficient, nor does it appeal to everyone.


A solution to this dilemma would be talking to an operator, and having them give you instructions on what to do next, via text.


Whatsapp is a useful platform to use for text marketing, boasting 1 billion users worldwide and 30 billion sent messages every day.


It’s easy to see how it got so popular, especially when you consider:


  • Texting is free
  • It notifies customers as soon as they receive the message
  • There’s a 70% chance of them opening your text
  • You can chat with multiple people at once


These are among the critical decisions you have to make when setting up your campaign.


You must decide whether to use humans or ‘chatbots’ (think Siri) when creating a back-and-forth messaging campaign.


Both have their benefits, but a human being is always going to be better at identifying your questions and replying with answers you want to hear. Those who want to be cost-effective, however, would likely go with chatbots.


Let’s take a look at two successful Whatsapp campaigns; one is a 1-on-1 with a human, the other uses chatbots:


Hellman’s mayonnaise took the 1-on-1 human approach, encouraging people to take a picture of what ‘was in their fridge’, featuring their Hellman’s. The customers were then connected with chefs that recommended custom meals, depending on what was available in their refrigerator, and coaching them through the process.



Absolute Vodka launched a chatbot campaign when they arrived in Argentina with an exclusive party open to two lucky winners. Users would try convincing “Sven” the chatbot why they were deserving of one of those two spots.



SMS marketing is a growing, cost-effective method of communicating with your customers and bringing your brand directly to your users. It’s just further evidence of our evolving reliance on convenience brought about by new technology.


Want further evidence of how technology can improve your life? Join us at One Twelfth as we employ innovative, unique methods to help you achieve your brand’s goals.


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