The effectiveness of SMS campaigns continues to grow as marketers use text messaging to connect with their target audience on a personal level. Let’s face it, your customers increasingly live on their mobile devices In 2018, 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3% in the previous year (Statista, 2018).
Once you have decided to use SMS campaigns, three factors are key initiate campaigns.
- Business Text Messaging Solution: A business text messaging platform that integrates with your CRM, records conversational histories to lead objects and enables you and your team to easily manage consent and connected conversations, send automated campaigns and measure performance (like an email marketing platform) is your foundation for SMS marketing.
- Active Database: To start SMS marketing, you’ll need mobile phone numbers for your contact database to send text messages. This data can be acquired via opt-in invitations at various touch points with your target audience.
- Customer Consent: Consent from a prospect or customer is required by various regulations, including GDPR, TCPA, and others. Fines for non-compliance are expensive. You’ll want to make sure that the business text messaging solution you choose provides a process flow that ensures you meet compliance regulations.
Once you’ve addressed these factors, you can initiate your SMS campaign. To ensure your SMS marketing campaigns are successful, you’ll want to incorporate best practices in execution.
Best Practices for SMS Campaigns
- S.M.A.R.T. Goals: Setting a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable and Time Specific (S.M.A.R.T.) Goal before starting SMS campaign defines the objectives and business goals for each SMS marketing campaign.
- Call-To-Action: A all-to-action is what you want your customers to do interact with the brand/company. A call-to-action can take a variety of forms, including a keyword response, clicking a link embedded in the message or redeeming an offer or promotion presented in a message. A keyword is a unique word or phrase that people text to a short or long code to opt-in or participate in your campaign. For example, Rachel, a salon owner, is opening a new salon. To build a customer base she posts signs around the location with this message: Text HAIRCUT20 to 520520 and get 20% off your haircut.
- Leverage Incentives: Incentives provide something valuable to your customer, something relevant to them that will motivate their intent to engage with and buy from you. Incentive can be monetary as well as non-monetary.Examples of non-monetary incentives include:
- Personalization – “We’ll notify you when your favorite item comes in.”
- Reminders – “Your shipment will be delivered today.”
- Engagement – “Tell us how we can help you.”
- Access – “You’re receiving exclusive early access to this New Summer Collection because you’re a VIP.”
- Privileges – “Earn VIP points with every purchase to redeem as you choose.”
- Permission required: A customer’s consent is essential for a successful SMS campaign. Opt-Ins can be achieved in two ways:a) The Call-To-Action as mentioned in best practice #2, above
b) A prospect or customer including their mobile number via a web form or personally, during an event in agreement to receive text messages from you.
For example, a real estate broker holds an open house for home buyers and asks those who tour the home to sign a guest log and check a box to receive text messages alerting them to similar listings in the future. When a suitable listing becomes available, she sends these contacts a text message, alerting them to the listing. She also includes: “To learn more, reply 74OAKST or you may reply STOP to opt out from receiving messages.” This information ensures the prospective home buyers have the option to choose whether to permit the broker to continue sending them text messages or not.
- Timing: You want to make sure you’re sending messages that align with your business and your customers. Best practices follow business hours of between 9AM and 6PM.Of course, if you’re a night club and you’re promoting open seats right before a show at 9PM, your customers’ expectations will vary. The key is to understand that the nature of text messages is considered in real-time. Sending your messages in a time frame that relates to your offer and your audience will generate better response.
- Consistency: Timing and consistency are related and can help build expectations from your prospects and customers. For example, a restaurant that sends a text offering discounts every Thursday at noon for weekend specials will have customers come to expect these texts on Thursdays.
- Less is Better: Text messages allow for 160 characters. The format forces brevity. It’s best to write concise messages using correct grammar, rather than try to fit too much in by using acronyms or emojis your audience wouldn’t expect from you. Focus on one key point and make clear what’s in it for them and what you’re asking them to do.
- Measurement: SMS Marketing is measurable. You can easily track messages sent, messages delivered, keyword responses and conversations, as well as promotions redeemed, as long as the promotion has a code used only in your SMS marketing campaign. After every SMS campaign, you should evaluate your strategy and iterate for improvements in future campaigns based on what you learn from the results.
The Bottom Line
SMS campaigns are growing in receptiveness for your prospects and customers due to their increasing reliance on their mobile devices. Business text messaging platforms, like SMS-Magic, can help you comply with regulations and embrace best practices to build relevant conversations that grow your business more easily than other channels where it’s becoming more difficult to rise about the noise.