There are a few options for delivering your digital rewards - whether they are earned as part of a loyalty program, employee recognition, or something else - including snail mail, email, and text message. While all three options have their charms, today we are going to focus on text messages.
Why Text Messages?
Great question - and the answers are in the stats. While we don’t have definitive stats on snail mail, there is data on email open rates and SMS open rates - at 20% and 82% respectively. The difference in open rates is astonishing! Even more amazing, links included in SMS messages are clicked on 19% of the time.
As your ultimate goal in sending a digital reward is generally to increase brand loyalty or awareness, reward employees and drive increased employee satisfaction, or even to simply execute on a promised payment - you generally want your recipients to, well, open and redeem their digital rewards. And sending these rewards by text message is a great way to improve your reward redemption rate. (Looking for other ideas on how to improve your reward redemption rate - especially by email? Check out our blog article here.)
How to Send Digital Rewards by Text Message
The Text Message
First things first - as with any text messages, you will need a text message platform in order to send your digital rewards via text message. While there are many platforms out there with a wide variety of features for consideration, you will want the platform you choose to allow you to insert custom links into your text message, which are sometimes referred to as query tags, or merge tags. Do your research to find a platform that works best for you, but a couple of options that would work are Tatango or Texting Base.
If you plan on sending marketing text messages in addition to your digital rewards (see below for more info on what constitutes a marketing message), then you will also need to obtain text marketing permission from your recipients. While many text message platforms will help you obtain this opt-in, it is best practice to add an opt-in to any email marketing collection form or account creation pages you may have.
The Digital Reward
Once you have your text message platform in place and are ready to send text messages, you then need your digital rewards to send! Look for a digital rewards provider that can provide you with custom links, which you can then upload to your text message platform to send to your recipients. If you are looking for a provider, learn more about Giftbit and our Gift Links option, which provides your digital rewards in a csv with unique links.
The Rules & Regulations
Text messages are regulated by the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) - you can find a PDF of the regulations here, if you wish to read them. But, the highlights are pretty simple - to send marketing messages requires prior consent, but sending transactional messages does not. However, as there is ongoing litigation to clarify the TCPA application to text messages, with potentially expensive penalties, we encourage you to consult with your legal counsel before proceeding.
Marketing vs. Transactional
In general, marketing messages are intended to drive incremental sales, and often include coupon codes, information about an ongoing or upcoming sale, or encouragement to contact a sales person for a demo or more information.
In contrast, a transactional text message often includes an appointment confirmation, order confirmation or shipping information - with no additional marketing focused text.
If you have read this far, you are probably sold on the idea of sending your digital rewards via text message. As you get started, keep these best practices in mind.
Regular Communication: Sending your digital rewards via text message has the highest success (as measured via open and clicks) when you have previously engaged with the recipient via text - i.e., are regularly communicating with them via text.
Business Name: Be sure to include your business - or project - name in your text message. This is especially important if you don’t regularly communicate with the recipient via text, but it is also a good idea in general - since the recipient may not have your number saved in their contacts.
Avoid Spammy Language: Avoid using words or phrases that may come across as “spammy” - such as easy or free. If in doubt about the legitimacy of your message, your recipient may not feel comfortable clicking on a link to claim their digital rewards.
Consent: While sending marketing text messages requires written consent (which conforms to the TCPA), it is always best practice to obtain consent before sending any text message. To best protect yourself, and provide the best recipient experience for your digital rewards program, we recommend obtaining consent to send the digital reward via text when your recipient signs up for the program.
And, since sometimes we all need a basic example to start our creative thoughts flowing, we’ve created one for a fictional business named Rocketship, Inc. Of course, this example should be customized - at the minimum with your reward amount, business or project name, and why the customer received their digital reward.