Knowing the difference between promotional and transactional messages is essential to your conversational messaging strategy.
You need to know:
It’s a lot to unpack.
So in this article, I show you:
Read on for more.
A promotional message is a marketing or sales message. Promotional messages directly promote, sell, up-sell, or advertise products and services or your business or organization. To send promotional messages, in most cases you need to obtain express written consent from your message recipients.
Promotional message examples:
Here’s an example of a conversational promotional SMS text message exchange in MessageDesk:
A transactional message is non-promotional. Transactional messages are informational, time-sensitive responses to customer interactions or requests. To send transactional messages you’ll need express consent from message recipients. You may have already established express consent through an existing business relationship.
Transactional message examples:
Here are examples of conversational transactional text messages sent using MessageDesk:
A conversational message is a one-on-one exchange between a business and a customer. Customers often prefer conversational messaging because it’s informal, more friendly, and highly personalized. Consumer messaging apps used to be the only way to create conversational messaging experiences. Now, many business text messaging services offer these capabilities.
Conversational messaging platforms:
The 4 differences between promotional messages, transactional and conversational messages are:
|Message Purpose||Message Recipient||Required Consent Level||TCPA Opt-in/out Required?|
|Promotional Messages||Marketing & Sales||Leads & Customers||Express Written or Express||Yes|
|Transactional Messages||Information & Updates||Customers||Express or Implied||No|
|Conversational Messages||Any||Any||Express or Implied||No|
Promotional and transactional messages serve varied purposes. This means that each is subject to different regulations and restrictions.
Promotional messages directly promote a good, product, service, or brand. Transactional messages and informational, educational, or account-based.
Promotional messages typically extract information or entice a recipient to take the desired sales action. But transactional messages provide information built on an existing business relationship.
Promotions are often distributed in bulk to multiple recipients. Whereas transactional messages get sent to specific recipients one at a time.
Promotional and transactional messages can both be conversational.
Promotional and transactional messages have different purposes, but both are often intended for customers. The only difference is that promotional messages may target message recipients that don’t already have a business relationship with you.
Transactional emails and SMS are account-based. They’re often initiated by a customer, so the standard for consent to send is much lower.
For example: if a customer texts you first, you can reasonably assume they've permitted you to text them. So long as the SMS remains relevant to their original message.
Making both transactional and promotional message exchanges conversational often leads to improved customer satisfaction.
Conversational SMS and emails provide an opportunity to build solid relationships with customers. Sending personalized messages to targeted customers, makes them feel valued.
For the best messaging results:
To send promotional messages, your business or organization must obtain written opt-in consent from leads and customers.
Don’t risk getting fined by the FCC. Fines are up to $500 for every promotional marketing text sent to people who haven’t opted in and consented.
So consent is essential to know if you’ve got the permission to send a text or email.
Implied consent is the lowest level of consent. It establishes a "reasonable belief" that you've got permission to message someone. You can think of it as a more casual or inferred permission that applies to most conversational transactional messages.
Example: imagine a new lead reaching out and texting your business because you’ve advertised click-to-text from your website. Because they reached out to you, it's reasonable to believe that they’ve given you implied consent to text them back. But this only applies to the context of their original message.
Similarly, consider when someone emails your business and their email signature contains their business number. You can reasonably believe you have implied consent to text or call them because they’re advertising their contact information.
The same goes for receiving someone's business card with their contact details.
Note: if you have an existing business relationship with a customer, then you’re safe to assume you have implied consent. But just having implied consent does not permit you to send marketing messages regarding your services, goods, or products.
Per TCPA guidelines, express consent is an oral or written agreement that indicates permission to receive texts or phone calls. Express consent applies directly to transactional messages.
Leads and customers still opt-in to receive messages. But the standard for gaining consent and receiving messages is lower than express written consent. This is often due to an existing business relationship.
If a shopper purchases your product or service and opts in to receive shipment updates, your business can contact them based on express consent. Customers can grant you express consent through:
Note: if you have an established business relationship with a specific individual, then you're likely to have prior express consent.
Express written consent is written or recorded permission either on paper or electronically. It's a must-have before you send marketing messages or anything promotional.
Example: your business advertises “text DEAL to (phone number)” on your website and print media. When a lead or customer texts that number they see a message that explains consent guidelines.
Express written consent can take the form of:
Note: express written content can not be assumed or implied. Contacts that opt-out of messaging should be placed in a do-not-contact list.
You should only contact customers for promotions when they opt-in to receive your texts or emails. Hence the need for the "right" opt-in procedures to:
Fortunately, MessageDesk and other business messaging provide the opt-in tools needed for TCPA compliance.
Here’s an example of what automatic opt-in and opt-out messages look like in MessageDesk:
Examples of TCPA compliant opt-ins:
Suggested article: Complete TCPA Guide and Checklist
Looking to send bulk SMS promotional messages? Mass texting can get up to 98% open rates compared to email at 20%.
So here are a few marketing and promotional SMS templates and messages you can use to increase engagement.
But before you craft an SMS promotional campaign, know that many promotional SMS service providers may flag certain buzzwords. These include "free" and capitalizing complete words (SALE, TODAY, SIGN UP, etc.). Such tactics are considered spammy and may result in carrier restrictions.
As a best practice, send SMS text promotions and emails that you'd want to receive.
Given their high open and engagement rates, promotional texts are a great marketing tool for alerting customers of products or services.
Sending new merchandise alerts can boost sales – especially from engaged customers, excited to see what new products are in store.
Promotional SMS sample from 310 Nutrition:
This text is great for several reasons:
Example promotional SMS template:
Promotional text messages are a great way to share special coupons and discount codes. They get high engagement and redemption rates.
Example from Super Coffee:
Discount code SMS templates:
Sales and clearance events are another great time to send promotional SMS and emails.
For best results, ensure your sales alerts include:
Example from Patagonia:
Sales alert SMS template:
Shoppers spend billions on online holiday shopping. And sharing your promotional messages via text message can help you cut through the holiday noise.
For best results, include holiday-themed photos, emoji, and other imagery.
On Christmas Eve, my love gave me a 15% off cashmere! Shop [BRAND] today and gift your SO something luxurious. [URL]
Holiday promotion SMS templates:
Get your gifts with ease this Christmas! We've deals on [Product], and 75% off [Line]. But the deal won't last, so hurry and order now: [URL]. Text STOP to opt-out.
Christmas is just around the corner! Here are some new [GIFTS] to gift your loved ones: [URL].
Flash sales run for short periods and often feature a limited quantity of products.
Flash sale SMS template:
48% of U.S. consumers would rather receive loyalty-specific communication via text than over other forms of communication.
Plus, using texts in your business's reward program allows you to combine two customer engagement and retention efforts. Customers keep coming back - receiving points keeps them motivated.
Loyalty rewards SMS template:
The major difference between promotional and transactional SMS is needing to include opt-in and opt-out instructions. For almost every transactional message, there’s no need to display this message.
But as a best transactional SMS practice, message recipients should always be able to opt out of messages. This is where a messaging platform with granular permission levels can help.
Here are some examples of transactional SMS messages.
Do customers or clients book meetings with you or your staff through a meeting scheduler or meeting scheduling software? When they do, this is a great time to text them an appointment or consultation confirmation.
Appointment confirmation SMS template:
Appointment reminder SMS template:
You can update your customer about their recurring bills, reminding them of an upcoming payment. Doing so helps keep your customers organized with their monthly bills.
Recurring billing reminder SMS template:
The same goes for welcome texts, receipts, appointment reminders, etc.
Small businesses often struggle with invoicing and reminding customers to pay. Sending invoice reminders and text-to-pay messages can help you run a cashless business and reduce monthly accounts receivable.
Invoice reminder SMS template:
Service updates are a great way to provide conversational customer service. If you provide on-site service or have logistical considerations like drive time etc., then texting service updates with a text dispatch software is often useful.
Service update SMS template:
Order status gets sent to shoppers who opt-in for shipping updates. They typically convey that the order is:
Order status SMS template:
A delivery notification helps relay information when a package is delivered or out of delivery. They are the second step after shipping updates.
You can leverage delivery alerts to:
Delivery notification SMS template:
Text and email are essential parts of your messaging strategy. However, you must ensure compliance with the set law and regulations or risk hefty fines.
MessageDesk supports the mass texting and opt-in mechanisms necessary to stay TCPA compliant. All while ensuring your SMS campaign is scalable.
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