Music Business

SMS Text Marketing For Indie Musicians: The Ultimate Guide

Photograph of the blog post author, Sam Jones

Sam Jones

21.7.2021

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Texting is a trivial part of modern-day society. We often prefer this quick, to the point way of communication over the dreaded phone call. Whether it’s sharing memes or asking what’s for dinner, if it can be sent in a text, why would you use any other method? With the rise of the text message, officially known as SMS, marketing has had to evolve to target this means of communication. With phone calls off unknown numbers being unwelcomed by most and emails too professional, SMS text marketing has taken centre stage. In this guide, we will show how Indie musicians can use this marketing technique to their advantage. 

marketing text message

Marketing is important for any musician. To become a successful artist, you have to promote yourself and grab the attention of listeners. The means of doing this is extensive. Social media campaigns, advertising, paid promotions, all sorts of marketing methods can be used to your advantage. Text marketing, however, might not be the first to come to mind. 

Recently, texts have become the preferred means of promotion. They are the perfect balance between marketing and not pestering clients. Phone calls are perceived as too pushy and emails too corporate. Texts are the Goldilocks of marketing. For an indie band, this can be the tool required to push your name into the public eye. We’ll now show you how. 

What Is SMS Text Marketing?

marketing statistics

SMS text marketing is where a business or person uses SMS for promotional campaigns. 

Short message service (SMS) is the fancy way of saying ‘texts’. They are what most of us have used for years now as our preferred platform for communication. Once a rarely used feature that couldn’t even manage to send a photo, texts now dominate the media. 

Advancements in SMS have evolved the technology to support multimedia content. Multimedia messaging service (MMS) is the feature of SMS that enables this. This allows using it for promotional purposes. Sending texts along with links and photos can be an effective way of marketing. 

So, what is SMS text marketing? Like emails, SMS text message marketing is a direct form of marketing. With social media, you create content but have no guarantee that content will reach your intended audience. With both SMS and email marketing, you directly send the content to your audience, reassuring you that they have received it. 

Why Use SMS Text Marketing For Your Music?

musician

Fundamentally, SMS marketing is just sending a promotional text. Now that we’ve touched on that, let’s discuss why this is a useful tool for music marketing. 

It is no secret that being a musician is tough. Earning a substantial living from music is rare and not a viable option for most artists. As a small musician, even playing gigs for free is common, grabbing any opportunity to promote your music. This expectation of artists to play for free is taken advantage of by the industry and has resulted in musicians struggling to make a living all over the world. Marketing can be a good way to boost your visibility and bring around paid opportunities. Paying for promotions can be expensive, however, when your pay is already minimal. This is where SMS message marketing comes into play. 

SMS marketing removes all the issues marketing usually presents. Promotional texts don’t cost extra to send, making this an extremely cheap method compared to the alternatives. Being sent directly to audiences also makes the promotion more personal and builds on fan relationships. 

What Are The Rules Of SMS Text Marketing?

person texting

You probably already know there is a limit to the number of characters you can include in a text. Limited to 160 characters, content longer than that will have to be sent in separate messages. Apart from that, there doesn’t appear to be any rules with SMS marketing. This is certainly not the case and every person considering using SMS for marketing needs to be aware of this. 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) set out rules and guidelines for how businesses can use SMS for marketing purposes. If these rules are not followed, they will hand out hefty fines. To avoid any unexpected fines, ensure you are confident with what you can and can’t do. Your first message must also be a compliance message. You need to explain what the program will consist of, how to opt out and that message rates may apply. 

The CTIA also sets out guidelines about the frequency of texts and when they should be sent. They suggest one message per week to be sent during daytime hours. You would want to stick to this anyways but these rules are in place to protect the recipients.

How Does SMS Text Marketing Differ From Email?

girl texting

Like we previously mentioned, both emails and SMS texts are direct forms of marketing. They are sent directly to audiences and guarantee the content reaches them.

However, with email marketing already being a well-established technique, why would you choose texts instead? 

Open Rate 

Texts have proven to be a much more efficient means of marketing. They have a 98% open rate compared to 20% for emails. Furthermore, the average time in which audiences open the content is extremely faster for texts, being 90 seconds. With a 78% more chance of your content being opened and in a fraction of time, SMS text marketing should already be appealing to you. 

These two factors are the main appeal, but the list of other benefits is extensive. 

Clear & Concise 

Text messages have limited characters. This might seem a hindrance at first, but having concise and clear information is best for maximising engagement.

Audiences won’t be presented with a laborious message packed with information, making them a lot more likely to read it. 

No Spam!

One crippling factor for email marketing is spam. Even after putting in the time and effort making some amazing email marketing content, it may never even reach people’s inboxes.

With a large portion of emails going straight into spam, especially for promotional emails, the recipient isn’t even notified they have received an email. Texts avoid this issue altogether. No matter the subject, audiences will receive the text as they do any other. 

It’s Easy 

A great benefit to using SMS marketing is that it is easy to access. No advanced technology is needed to simply send a text to multiple recipients.

No matter if you’re a struggling artist, if you have a phone, you have the marketing opportunity. 

Getting Started With SMS Text Marketing

multiple people on laptops

You should now be more knowledgeable about SMS texting as a marketing strategy. Now let’s discuss what you need to get started with them.

The beauty of SMS marketing is the lack of required software and resources. Anyone can create them completely for free. However, you do need a plan first. Make sure you have all your upcoming content ready and ensure it is all relevant and easy to understand.

Secondly, even though advanced technology isn’t required, simply sending texts from your phone won’t work. You need to format your content in a certain way which leads us to the next section. 

What SMS Text Marketing Tool Should I Use?

Of course, there is SMS text marketing software available to make this whole process easier. SMS marketing tools are apps that allow you to plan and schedule your SMS content. This makes sending out your content a lot easier and provides you with crucial information. 

The app allows you to select all the relevant recipient numbers and send the content to them. It will also provide recipients with the opt-in, opt-out options which are essential for staying within the law. Finally, they provide you with statistics on the performance of your content. Engagement, click rates, any relevant information can be used to improve your marketing methods. Choosing a specific app depends on the text marketing services you are most interested in. 

TextMagic 

TextMagic logo

TextMagic is the best tool for a quick start with SMS marketing. Simply sign up and within minutes you can send your first promotional text. 

Despite this quick and easy start to using the app, it offers numerous other useful features. There are options so you receive any reply directly into your mobile or email allowing you to see every response.

How you add numbers varies too. You can simply enter them one by one, import a spreadsheet, save the numbers of anyone who texts you, all matter of means to add contacts. 

Twilio

twilio

Twilio isn’t the easiest tool to navigate. Not for someone new to SMS marketing, but if you aren’t, this can be the perfect tool. This app allows you to personalise your SMS marketing however you like.

Even though this is a developer app, connecting it to an API like HubSpot or Zapier will allow you to send and receive texts. If you have some experience with SMS marketing, this platform gives you a blank canvas to design your content in any way that pleases you. 

SimpleText

SimpleText

This app is another simple one to use like TextMagic. For more general campaigns this is perfect for any musician. The set-up of the promotion is super easy to navigate and doesn’t take long to complete.

This app is designed more to send SMS marketing to the same list of people each time. Unless you’re looking to create more targeting content, this is the most viable app to send regular promotions to the same contact list. 

How To Grow Your SMS Text Marketing Audience

hands

Now you’re ready to go and start working on your SMS marketing campaigns! But wait, you don’t have any contacts yet.

In this section, we will discuss how to build your SMS audience and ways of getting them to opt in. Here are some SMS text marketing ideas. 

There is no perfect way to gain contacts. But, here are a few we recommend.

Give Incentives 

Firstly, giving an incentive to opt-in can generate a lot of engagement.

Offering discounted merch is probably the easiest way to do this. However, discounted tickets, competitions, any method to grab people’s attention will work. 

Make It Easy 

If the opt-in process is long and boring, nobody will end up joining. Using keywords as acceptance codes is the best way to avoid this. Again, using an incentive here can be great to entice people. You will have seen this countless times probably, looking something like this: “Text ‘INDIE BAND’ to 11111 now for a chance to win free tickets”. 

This gives the recipient a super-easy way to opt-in and is an effortless way to potentially win free tickets. Even just using a shortcode like this without any incentives is better than making recipients complete a long opt-in process. 

Promote SMS Option 

You want to promote the option of joining SMS campaigns everywhere you can. Make sure this is an option on the top of your website. Take this one step further by promoting it on any social media you have also. 

You can also send opt-in options to anyone on any previous platforms that have opted-in for promotions. For example, if you already have email recipients, send them an email promotion asking them to opt-in for your SMS promotions and tell them why this is a better option. 

What To Write In Music Marketing Texts

person texting

You’re nearly all set to kick off your SMS marketing campaign. What to write in your texts is the next challenge. Here we will give you some ideas on what is normally included.

Song Promo

This is maybe the most obvious use of SMS for marketing. Sending download links for songs to the recipients is a great way to rack up listeners.

Giving people this exclusive download not only promotes your song but will create loyal audiences. Them being part of your promotions allows them to access your music for free. This makes them more likely to engage with any future content. 

Even just sending a link to your Spotify after a new release will create some initial engagement. 

Sending Updates 

Texts are a great way to keep your audiences in the know. This is the best platform for sending updates and relevant information.

Any cancellations, changes to the line-up, any information the audiences need to know can be sent to them via texts. Texts are the most likely form of communication to be received and seen, making it the best way to inform recipients of any relevant information. 

Merchandise 

Merchandise is a great way for musicians to earn some extra income. As an indie band, this is probably a method you already use. Not only does this generate income, but people wearing your merch is an amazing free promotion. Letting your fans know about new merchandise through text is the perfect way to get some exposure. 

Merchandise can also be a great way to get people to opt-in for your SMS promotions. Offering a discount on merch for people who opt-in will encourage people to sign up. 

Now You Know Everything About SMS Text Marketing For Indie Musicians

band

You should now be more than prepared to start your first SMS marketing campaign. As an indie band, promoting yourself is necessary to build on your fan base. Even if your band is the next chart hit, you need to get your music out into the public first. Once that initial fan base has formed, you need to encourage their loyalty to your band. SMS marketing is the most viable way to do so. 

Expensive marketing campaigns are not an option for smaller bands. Already underpaid, forking out extra funds is not possible. This free means of marketing is the perfect way to get around this and has the same impact. 
If you’re trying to grow your audience, promoting yourself at first can seem unnatural. 

If you would like to read more, Your Guide On Reddit Music Promotion, Instagram Music Stories & Promotion and Merch Ideas For Artists & Bands are all reads that should help develop your self-marketing knowledge.

Are You A Musician Or Artist?

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