A year of text messaging... the results

A year of text messaging... the results

With social media visibility on the decline, and newsletters competing for inbox attention, I recently turned my attention to text message marketing. With text messages boosting of 90%+ deliverability rates, I was curious to see the affect that they might have on my sales.

I spent a year testing text message marketing my novels, and here are four things you need to know about text message marketing:

  1. It’s extremely difficult to get signups. I promoted THE HECK out of my signup. It was an easy enough process. If a reader texted TORRE to 313131, they would automatically be signed up. They would get a confirmation text, and then not receive anything from me via text until my next release. I widely advertised the signup, put it on my newsletter list and social media, then sat back and waited for the swarms of text-happy readers to enroll.


    Where were all of my loyal readers? My happy newsletter subscribers? With a combined audience of over 100,000 readers, I had less than 300 sign up for text alerts. And I had to BEG shamelessly on social media for those 300.

    Eventually, I hit 5,000 text subscribers, but that was only after running two separate giveaways, with other authors, that required a phone number to enter AND had juicy, irresistible prizes.

  2. It’s for US readers only. That’s just the way the text marketing companies work. It’s possible to have set up other services, in other countries, but that’s a headache to promote and I’d suggest just sticking to the United States.

  3. It’s trackable. One really nice feature is your ability to divide your subscriber list into who clicked on your links and who didn’t. You can also export your contacts at any time, so you aren’t ‘tied’ into any one provider.

  4. It’s pricey. Compared to email marketing, text messages will cost per message sent, along with charging you a monthly fee for ‘keywords’. Here’s the basic charge structure: Monthly Fee + Keyword Charge + Pay-Per-Text:

    1. Monthly Fee. You can skip the monthly bundle fee and pay a la carte, but that normally ends up increasing your overall spend. A bundle will start around $35/month, and will include a some credits and a keyword (or two). Each time you send a text message to a subscriber, you’ll use a credit, but you also use credits every time someone subscribes to your text messages and gets a confirmation text back. It’s important to note that on some plans monthly credits roll over, and others they don’t.

    2. Keyword Charge. Keywords cost money, but are a necessity. When I post “text TORRE to 313131 to get book updates” - TORRE is the keyword. I have to pay for that keyword. Otherwise, I can use the keyword they provide me, but it’s a jumbled mess that no one would ever use, so my posts would look something like “text 1Z23kkl443d to 313131.” Yucky, right? You typically have to pay $25 per keyword per month, unless you have a monthly plan that includes them. Having a second keyword can be handy, so you can say “text SALES to 313131 to be notified when I have a sale” but typically isn’t worth the monthly fee to pay for that second keyword.

    3. Pay per text. If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee (except for your keyword charge) or if you’re short on credits, you can pay-per-text, typically between 3.5¢ and 5¢ per message. If you’re paying for a monthly bundle, it’s typically on the cheaper end of that scale.

Now… let’s discuss results.

I had four different text campaigns that I delivered this year. Below are the results. As you will see, two of the text messages had images, and two didn’t. It doesn’t appear that the image affected the click rate, as they all seemed to be between 11% and 13%.

text message results image fixed.png

Initially, these results look great! A total of 3,049 clicks.

Let’s look at what those clicks cost.

I paid roughly 4.5¢ per text message sent. That cost doesn’t include promotion of the text message signup, or any giveaways I held to increase signups. When we add those costs to the results, we get the cost per click (see below image).


Throwing out the giveaway text, the average cost per click was 38¢. That’s an expensive cost per click compared to Facebook or Amazon AMS ads. I will keep text messaging in my marketing package, but will probably be fairly strict on removing non-clickers from my list, which will increase that conversion and lower that cost per click.

Which text messaging service should I use?

I highly recommend EZ-Texting. One benefit of EZ-Texting is that you can add subscribers for free if you import them in. This is great if you are switching from one carrier to another, or if you want to collect phone numbers on a google form and then import them in, without having to pay that credit to confirm the subscriber.

Have you tried text message marketing? Do you have any feedback? Comment below!


Want to increase your marketing skills? We have beginner and advanced classes in marketing at this year’s INKERS CON! This annual conference is designed to bring your sales, writing, and productivity to the next level and includes over twenty presentations from bestselling authors and industry experts. Attend live in Dallas, enjoy the conference from home, or enroll in our aspiring author bootcamp!

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