As an accountant, you already know just how competitive the field can be. Differentiating yourself from other accounting firms in your area means ramping up your marketing efforts from every angle. One specific marketing strategy that you may want to consider implementing (if you haven’t already) is text message marketing. By sending out texts directly to your clients, you can more effectively stay in touch with them and keep your firm relevant.
Still, a poorly executed text marketing strategy can do more harm than good—so it’s important to keep some tips and best practices in mind before you hit “send.”
Why Use Text Message Marketing?
CPAs and accounting firms have a lot to gain from implementing text message marketing campaigns. For starters, text messages get noticed. Consider, for example, the fact that 90% of SMS text messages are read within three minutes. Meanwhile, the average American checks their phone 47 times per day. When you use texts to reach your clients, your messages are more likely to be seen than if you were to send an email or other form of communication.
Meanwhile, text messaging is a great way to keep your firm relevant—especially as more accounting firms and other small businesses are using text messages to stay in touch with clients. If you want to be perceived as being up-to-date with technology and effective in your communication, text messaging is the way to go.
Finally, from a budgeting standpoint, text messaging marketing is one of the most cost-effective options out there. Text messages are inexpensive to send out (especially when compared to the money you’d spend placing an online ad)—and you know your messages are going to people who are already interested in your business/services.
How to Get Started With Text Message Marketing
Now that you understand what you stand to gain from a text message marketing strategy, how can you get started? There are a few steps you can take to launch your first campaign with confidence.
Choose the Right Service
Begin by selecting a text messaging service that’s specifically designed for marketing use. Specifically, you’ll want to look for an easy-to-use platform that allows for mass texting. This will allow you to type out a single text and send it out to a large group of people, saving you the time and hassle of sending out individual texts manually. When selecting a text messaging service, make sure to read the fine print—especially as it relates to contact limits, text message limits, and pricing structures.
Expand Your List
Next, make sure that you have a robust contact list of phone numbers you can text. One way to do this is to include an opt-in form on your website that allows your clients to add their phone numbers to your contact list and begin receiving text messages. You can also share this sign-up form via email and on your social media pages.
Having trouble getting people to opt into your text message alerts? Consider running a special contest or promotion that requires a phone number to enter; just be sure your users can easily opt-out at any time. In fact, by law, your business is required to include an option for users to opt-out of receiving your texts. Likewise, you should also include a disclaimer stating that “message and data rates may apply” before a customer opts in.
Schedule Your Texts
Before you launch your first texting campaign, get familiar with the software. Many text messaging platforms these days allow you to type out and schedule your texts ahead of time. This way, you can make sure your texts are being sent out at exactly the right time without having to lift a finger. It’s a good idea to “test” these features out by scheduling texts to yourself first.
When is the best time to send a text, anyway? Ultimately, this will boil down to knowing your audience. However, sending a text at midday (around lunchtime) is usually a pretty safe bet.
Tips For Crafting Compelling Texts
Aside from the logistical side of your text message marketing campaign, there are some practical text message marketing tips accountants will need to keep in mind. By following these best practices, you can increase your open rates and create more successful campaigns.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Think about the length of the “typical” text messages you send in your everyday life. They’re probably relatively short. In general, the texts you’re sending out as part of your campaign should also be short. Type to keep your marketing texts to about 160 characters or less. When users see a large block of text from an unfamiliar number, they’re more likely to ignore it—so it’s best to get to the point.
Personalize When Possible
It’s no secret that personalization in marketing can be extremely effective. In fact, according to a Statista survey, 63% of marketers report that personalization increases customer interactions and leads to better conversions overall. When sending out text messages, then, look for practical ways to personalize them. Some text messaging platforms, for example, will allow you to automatically add a recipient’s name to the beginning of each text. This is a great way to capture your recipient’s attention and keep them engaged.
Don’t Forget the CTA
Every text message that you send out should include a compelling call-to-action. Whether you want your readers to take advantage of a special promotion or complete a survey, this should be clear in your text. At the same time, it can be difficult to keep texts short when you have a CTA to include. This is where using short, branded links in your text messages can make all the difference. These links can point back to your website, a sign-up page, a survey, or just about anything else you can imagine without significantly increasing the character count on your message.
Limit the Output
While text messages can be extremely effective as part of your marketing strategy, you shouldn’t rely on them too much. If your firm is sending out too many texts, these can be viewed as spam; this can annoy your recipients and cause them to opt-out of your texting services altogether.
In general, you should limit the number of texts you send out. Keep an eye on your engagement rates to see how well your campaigns are working. If you’re not getting much engagement through your text messages, then it may be time to dial things back even further until you can revamp your strategy. The last thing you want is to annoy your subscribers with your texts.
Send Valuable Texts
Last but not least, make sure that the texts you’re sending out provide as much value to your recipients as possible. There are a few types of messages that your recipients will likely appreciate and engage with coming from an accounting firm:
- Appointment reminders – these can be a great way to remind a client about an upcoming appointment with your firm. You can also add an option that allows the recipient to confirm or cancel the appointment conveniently via text.
- Exclusive discounts and promotions – these texts allow you to share special discounts or other promotions with your contact list, which can generate more business and revenue.
- Service notifications – these can alert your clients to the status of a specific service. For example, if your firm is helping a small business with tax filing, you may send out a text to let the client know that a Federal return has been accepted by the IRS.
- Industry/company news – when exciting things are going on within your firm, you can share the news with your clients via text. For instance, you might announce the grand opening of a new office location and include a link to the location’s website.
Ultimately, when crafting a text to send to your subscribers, it’s important to ask yourself whether or not this is a text you would want to receive. If it’s not, then it’s unlikely that your recipients will find value in the message.
Surefire Local Can Elevate Your Marketing Strategy
A well-crafted text marketing strategy is a great way to put your marketing dollars to work for your accounting firm while staying relevant with your clients. As you can see, there are a lot of nuances to be aware of as you plan for your first text messaging campaign. At the end of the day, it boils down to respecting your recipients’ time (and inboxes) while providing them with content that’s genuinely valuable.
Looking to optimize your text message marketing strategy? Surefire Local is here to help! Our messaging platform allows you to easily reach customers wherever they are with an easy-to-use, centralized inbox. Find out more about our innovative Text & Go feature and the other features included in our platform by reaching out to our team to request a demo!