How To Prevent Your Promotional Text Messages From Looking Like a Phishing Scam?
This was a year with great challenges for all of us, and many cybercriminals did not hesitate to use the coronavirus outbreak for their own benefit. According to the UK’s Action Fraud center, more than 3,6000 Covid-related phishing email attacks have been received since January. The US Federal Trade Commission pointed out that the US has lost more than $12 million over the nasty phishing scams, many of them came under the names of legitimate organizations.
With this global issue increasingly taking over, more and more phones receive phishing text messages to steal consumer’s data – financial or login details – more often. Overall, these cyberattacks make it more difficult for companies to keep a trustful communication with the target audience via text messages, which is one of the easiest and fastest ways to attract potential customers. According to the Daily Egg, SMS messages have a glorious 98% open rate, which makes text message marketing so effective. But what now?
What is a phishing text message?
Phishing SMS, also known as smishing text messages, are text message attacks used to trick and mislead recipients to get valuable information or use software vulnerabilities to steal money.
Usually, cyberattacks are sent by an organization or person you already know. Hidden under the names of government, police, delivery companies, healthcare organizations, utility services, phishing text messages are sent with a hope the recipient will bite a baited hook and reveal their sensitive credentials, open the link or install an app, making a whopping success to a criminal. Fraudsters are more likely to steal bank credentials by convincing you to log into your account via the link they provide or send personal information back to resolve any problem.
What signs indicate a possible smishing attack?
● Unexpected link, included in the text message
● Request to share a bank account, credit card number, email address or other personal information
● Incorrect, grammatically wrong texts
● Request for urgent help, donation or transfer
● Text includes a name of the company, bank or other brand you are familiar with.
How do I text message my customers safely?
For companies, it is important to be present to their customers and develop strong brand loyalty. Texting services for businesses can successfully support business communications and show immediate results. With more than 7.9 billion mobile subscriptions around the world and the latest technologies, it is possible to easily connect with potential audience.
It is hard to rebuild the trust of customers who have experienced a phishing attack though, and they would probably find it difficult to trust you again, but smart, perfectly timed and personalized messages can encourage many conversions.
Almost every SMS phishing tutorial includes a few common warning signs of how to distinguish a smishing attack from a marketing text message. Spam as well cannot be taken seriously, and creating an effective, non-smishing, spamless text message is a real struggle for smart marketing heads.
Here are a few tricks on how to make your text messages work and sound trustful:
1. Use visually unique, distinguished messages, keeping a style specific only to your business.
2. Be proactive – advise customers to stay updated and install call-blocking apps to stop unwanted text messages.
3. Proofread your texts for grammar, be short, but do not use vulgar expressions or abbreviations.
4. Include answer options and call to action, to make the purpose of your message clear.
5. Bring value to your message. Does your text answer the question “So what?”?
6. Include an option to opt-out from receiving calls or texts. Take a look at the federal law called Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which regulates sales calls.
7. Let customers see the sender’s name, company, or other contact details. Your business will look more credible.
8. Some text messaging services offer SMS branding as a service, enabling to display company’s details into the message: logo and name.
So in fact, these are the main criteria on how to prevent your SMS messages from looking like a smishing attack. You just have to plan the campaign in such a way as to persuade customer’s data is safe and get the maximum feedback for further strategies.
How SMS marketing can help businesses during Covid-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted SMS marketing and is encouraging more and more companies and businesses to change their sales strategies. SMS can reach a person almost anywhere: as a cellular connection has a wider coverage and outreach than, for example, internet-based services.
Eventually, you can use lockdown times as a challenge to reconnect with your old customers, attract new ones, send offers to existing ones and get feedback directly via SMS with the topic of public concern.
Here’s some valuable tactics to make a noticeable impact on your efforts with SMS marketing:
⇒ Engage with your customers about safety precautions observed in your company. Whether it is a restaurant, shopping center, or online store, inform about re-opening, working hours or get feedback about the recent Covid-related products.
⇒ Personalized messages are more frequently used during a pandemic to address customers and target their specific needs.
⇒ Provide engaging and fast customer service – integrate chat and help desk platforms.
⇒ Segment your customers to avoid sending inappropriate information – use their behaviors, shopping habits, or transaction information.
Can SMS campaigns still be effective despite the rise of scammers’ schemes?
The answer is – YES! Consumers are willing to be in touch with the companies and brands they like, and in fact, an average American checks its own phone about 47 times a day. Even more, does those between the age of 18 and 24 – they check phones 86 times a day !
SMS open rates are higher than the opening of emails – as emails can stay unopened in inbox even for days, SMS can be read within the first 3 minutes. Many successful companies use text messaging for good, why can’t your business too? Not to mention, during the Covid-19 struggle many customers spend more time using their phones, looking for the best offer. It may be the best moment to catch their attention and gain loyalty.
Each SMS you send to your customers, represents your company and is a good way to promote your products or services in a manner that’s convenient to your customers. Unfortunately, not all customers have the knowledge to distinguish between “smish-y” messages and promotional SMS. It is hard to find a measure that can help you to strike a balance between safe and effective messages that do not look like a scam. In fact, creating your own natural mental triggers and communication style will drive your efforts into real conversions.
It’s up to you to decide how to build and craft the message, using some of the above-mentioned tips & tricks. Measure all pros and cons, and before you start an SMS campaign, weigh the costs of customer support, customers’ negative feedback, and costs associated with smishing.
Hi, my name is Renata and I turn words into sentences for a living. Currently, I’m a content writer at Senderium – an SMS marketing app for e-commerce that lets you to easily create, launch, and manage text message campaigns for a better customer experience and business growth.