Why Text Message Marketing?
As an avid real estate marketer and user of Launch Control, I felt it was my responsibility to write a Launch Control review. When it comes to text message marketing, you have a lot of options. I vetted several platforms (and even trialed one) before settling on Launch Control. While Launch Control does check a lot of boxes for me, there are a few pet peeves.
I am a real estate wholesaler, which in a nutshell is a real estate marketer. Our business model revolves around marketing. When the leads dry up, the business comes to a halt. After researching SMS marketing and hearing stories about the low cost per lead, I decided it was a marketing channel worth pursuing.
Is SMS Marketing Unethical?
At first, I was skeptical. I hold my business to high standard of professionalism and the thought of pestering potential sellers with unsolicited texts messages was a big turnoff for me initially. Then I did more research. The reality is, many well-known and successful businesses are using SMS marketing.
If you think about it, this type of B2C solicitation is nothing new. Unsolicited door to door sales is centuries old. While it’s phasing out, telemarketing has been going on since early 80’s. Now SMS marketing is becoming the new norm. Besides, wouldn’t you rather get an unsolicited text message than annoying phone calls at all hours of the day from telemarketers? I know I would. Plus, you can opt in or out and if you type the word “STOP” that usually puts an end to it.
I discovered there were text message marketing companies out there that followed a code of ethics and played nice with the mobile carriers. Things are constantly changing in the world of SMS marketing, and you want to make sure you select a company that keeps everything above board.
Before using Launch Control, I looked at Lead Sherpa, Batch Leads and RESimpli. I use RESimpli as my main CRM, so I figured it made sense to give them a shot first. It was a very basic setup with limited options. We did get a few deals from it, however. I probably would have kept using REsimpli’s platform if they didn’t remove it from their CRM. Because of this, I had to quickly decide on a new SMS marketing platform.
Launch Control Review
I ended up choosing Launch Control for the following reasons. They have an easy to use interface, batch texting, proprietary routing algorithm, drip campaigns, and most importantly they are TCPA compliant.
What Launch Control does really well is automation. We send out 300 text messages a day. In order to operate within the SMS regulations, every message needs to be sent separately. Can you imagine typing out every single text message? Sure, you could use a template and copy and paste it each time – but the carriers have caught onto that too. If you keep sending the same SMS over and over again, you will get flagged and your messages won’t get delivered. Of course, Launch Control found a way around that too.
A big reason why I wanted to write this Launch Control Review was to explain the science behind deliverability and response rates and why it’s so important to choose the right SMS marketing platform. If your text messages aren’t getting delivered, that’s a problem!
Effective text message marketing starts with a good list
First, it starts with a good list. Your skip tracing needs to be as accurate as possible. I haven’t used Launch Control yet for skip tracing, but I plan to do so soon. I have to imagine they invest in robust skip tracing. If their skip tracing was garbage I’m sure they would lose a lot of clients! I use Quality Skips for skip tracing. I have good overall results and it’s only $.07 per skip traced record.
I have yet to find a skip tracing service that is anywhere near 100% accurate. You will get many responses like, “wrong number” or “I’m not Bob”. This is normal. Skip tracing is not an exact science by any means so expect about half of your records to have inaccurate information. If you find a service that does a better job, I’d love to hear about it!
That critical first message
This is one of my favorite features and why I wanted to write a Launch Control review. Deliverability and response rates are a direct result of that critical first message. LC does two things very well.
1) They mix up the initial message. All you have to do is type one simple intro message and they use spinner tokens to give you anywhere from 27-84 different combinations of that same message. Spinner tokens are basically synonyms of a word that alternates for every message sent. Each initial message has 3 or 4 of them. Sending multiple different initial messages is critical to having a high deliverability rate.
2) Launch Control also tells you what keywords not to use. For example, if you type a word such as “sell” or “buy” it will flag those words and tell you to change them. This takes the guesswork out of deciding what words not to use. This is another key feature that has a direct impact on increasing deliverability rates.
Drip Campaigns and Zapier Integration
If you read my RESimpli review, you know I’m a big fan of drip campaigns and automation. Launch Control has these features built in as well. While SMS marketing is an excellent way to contact potential sellers, there are a lot of conversations to manage. 90% of the time, the owner will not have a high level of motivation and the lead will require more follow up to advance them through the sales funnel. Drip campaigns automate the tedious follow up. You are basically one click away from sending a series of pre-written follow up messages to the seller by enabling a drip campaign.
In my business, when I get a warm or hot lead I move that lead into my main CRM (RESimpli). Thankfully, Launch Control and RESimpli play nice together. With the help of Zapier, I can easily push a LC lead to my RESimpli CRM with one click. You can also do the same thing if you have Podio CRM as well as a few others.
TCPA Compliance, Blacklist Litigator and Updates
Just like telemarketing regulations, the TCPA does regulate text messaging. The good news, Launch Control is TCPA compliant. They also have a feature called Blacklist Litigator which offers 5 levels of defense and flags someone that could potentially be a litigator and removes them from your list.
Text messaging marketing is still relatively new and mobile carriers are always making changes to their policies. Launch Control stays ahead of the game and keeps everything above board. In early 2022, there was a new 10DLC regulation created by the carriers in order to reduce spam and improve deliverability. Almost instantly, Launch Control sent a message to all users explaining the regulation and provided a link to register a new market (took about 5 minutes). We were back texting the same day.
Launch Control Complaints
I really like Launch Control but it’s not all sunshine and roses. I’m not a huge fan of their “reminders” feature. A reminder is a task you can schedule for a future date so you don’t forget to follow up with someone. You can’t easily create another reminder from the main prospect screen. Instead, you have to scroll all the way down in the conversations tab, find the conversation and then hit the bell icon. Also, if you have more than one user entering notes for the same prospect, it doesn’t tell you what user typed in the notes.
If you have multiple users like me, there is not a way to assign specific campaigns to specific users. When I contacted support, the answer I got was to give each user admin privileges. Seems kinda odd that you can’t do this. For now, my acquisitions managers (who have admin privileges) have to filter by campaign every time they login. Not a huge deal, but it would make sense for users to have access to their leads only and not all leads.
Launch Control Pricing
I started out on the Lite plan and eventually upgraded to the Core plan. It really depends on how many messages you want to send per month and how many markets you operate in. The Lite plan gave me 2,500 initial contacts per month, which is about initial 120 texts per day (M-F).
Overall, I give Launch Control 4.5 / 5 stars. Text message marketing has become a big part of my business and 30-40% of our wholesaling deals come from SMS. As a business owner, I like that they are TCPA compliant and offer additional protection with Blacklist Litigator. It also seems like they are constantly making updates when necessary to keep everything above board and maintain high deliverability rates.
While there are certainly other options out there, I highly recommend Launch Control for text message marketing. Especially if you are a real estate investor or wholesaler looking to more add more leads and revenue to your bottom line.
Remember, sign up for Launch Control using this link and I will send you the EXACT templates and initial messages I use in my wholesaling business.