Bulk Texting Etiquette

So imagine this. You get a text message from someone you haven’t

talked to in quite some time. You’re pleasantly surprised and then go to open your text message to read it. Then… you discover it’s a bulk text promoting something.

“Hey!” you think, peeved that someone that you know is daring to send you a bulk and insincere text. You almost feel like you got robbed. You were looking forward to seeing what that person had to say to you, to only you, and then you got that.

Person using their smart phone to sent out a text.So what does that do for the sender? Not a whole lot. The recipient will likely feel put off and won’t be happy about it. I got two such messages last week, and talk about annoyed. Now in the past I’ve gotten bulk texts from friends about certain things (and it always annoys me when I can tell it’s bulk), but my view is: if you’re going to send a bulk text message, you shouldn’t let the sender know that it’s bulk.

If you have a message to send to people promoting an event, think about your different distribution options. You have email (BCC, of course), you have programs like Constant Contact, you have Facebook events (free!), you have posting on your wall, you have status updates on social media, you have good old fashioned mail, and yes – the personal one to one text message (among other things).

The challenge with any marketing is making the person on the receiving end want to receive your message and have a positive reaction, and given the very nature of marketing is anything but personal, that’s pretty tough to do, right? Well, things like social media (Facebook is obviously my favorite) have given us greater ways to get in touch with people in a more personal way, but still en masse. Distribution of your message in a personal yet efficient manner is and always will be a challenge, for the simple reason that there’s only so many hours in the day, and just so much of you to go around. I 100% get the struggle… I deal with it too!

Now to be fair, I’m the “annoyed recipient,” but aside from that, objectively, I am still very much against sending bulk text messages, especially for promotions. Not only do you run the risk of having the recipient incur a charge to receive your bulk text, but you run the risk of that person not being too happy with you for it. Do you really want that to happen?

When a prospect is annoyed at you for marketing to them and costing them money to have it happen – your well-intended effort will often have the opposite effect you’d intended! And that’s the last thing you want!

Text messages are one of the last things I will ever endorse as a marketing medium. While I have an unlimited plan and can get as many as I want for the same flat rate (thank Goodness), not everyone does and it’s not the point.

What ever happened to good old fashioned one-to-one communication? People love their digital toys, and baby, I am their queen. Trust me on that one. But there is a line. My line is in keeping personal gadgets and the related modes of communication personal.

If you absolutely insist on sending bulk texts, let’s look at a pair of samples so you know what is tolerable, and what’s not.

Not Acceptable:

Hello All, join me tonight at the Business After Hours. My company is sponsoring. Bring a friend. $10 at the door. See you soon.

Join us today as my restaurant celebrates the opening of our new sidewalk cafe. Cocktails now being served outdoors. $5 Absolut vodka mixed drinks, $6 Absolut vodka martinis

Acceptable:

Hey, are you going to tonight’s Business After Hours? It’s a $10 cover, but it should be pretty great networking!! I’m sponsoring, so I’d love to see you there! Think you can make it?

Hey! Haven’t talked to you in a while, how are you? Listen – we’re having a celebration today at the restaurant to open the sidewalk cafe… want to come? Maybe I can lure you with $5 Absolut drinks? πŸ˜‰

Let’s talk about the difference. In the first examples, they SOUND like a blast, don’t they? It’s not personal, and it’s not talking with the recipient. It’s talking AT them and clearly advertising. In the second examples, they sound personal, and it sounds as though it was actually intended just for that recipient, and only that recipient.

Do you need to ask the question and get a reply? No, but that’s not the point. The point is making the person on the other end of the text feel like they matter. Know why? They do matter.

You’re ensured a much higher positive response rate if you follow better formatting and taking care to work carefully to craft how you say the what. The what becomes irrelevant if you don’t pay attention to the how.

Remember the old saying, “think before you speak?” For this, remember: “think before you text.”

So in parting, if you want to be friends with me, don’t send me bulk texts. And if you do, you’d better take my advice and be sneaky about it. πŸ˜‰

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About the author : Laura DiBenedetto