SMS messages and texting is growing in preference as a communication channel between businesses, business professionals and consumers. However, conversational messaging for marketing is not the same as whipping out your smartphone to fire off a text to friends or family. An advanced messaging platform is a business tool that requires a strategy for your SMS campaign—just as a marketing automation platform requires for your email marketing campaign. The technology is tactical; what you put into it will directly impact what you get out of it.
Before you start your SMS campaign you need to answer three questions to ensure you have a strong foundation and purpose that’s aligned to your business objectives.
In other words, what’s the business goal for your SMS campaign? Here are a few to consider:
SMS messaging is all about subscribers. This shouldn’t be new to you. Most marketers have been using content marketing to grow audience subscribers for a number of years. This means your content must be compelling and designed to address a relevant context for the recipient.
There are also regulations which mean you have to disclose a few things when asking people to opt-in.
Just as in any other campaign you run in other channels, there must be calls to action (CTAs) that are compelling enough for your audience to act upon. In an email campaign it’s usually a transactional CTA to click on a link or button to download/view content. With an SMS messages campaign you have several options, both transactional and interactive.
The transactional CTA is the same as an email: a link to a content asset, such as a product in your catalog, a video, an infographic, or a short blog post. Transactional messages can also be for utility, including a delivery update on a recent order, a status update on a service request, a helpful tip, or a password verification code.
Where SMS campaigns have an advantage over email is in their two-way, interactive capabilities. One thing your customers unanimously want is responsiveness. SMS messaging is a two-way street, allowing your customers to initiate conversations and respond to them in real time.
Several examples of interactive messaging include:
The immediacy of messaging is also conducive to time-based offers that create a sense of urgency to act, such as last minute sales, limited quantity offers, new product arrivals, and more.
Many of these interactive messaging flows can be automated with workflows that trigger additional messages based on activity or keyword responses. Even better, messaging platforms can alert a human to step in when opportunity arises to extend the conversation as it deepens.
Messaging is concise and easy to use, enabling responsiveness from both parties. With near real-time responses, you’ll have insights to act on immediately. Creating experiences that customers’ value is a top expectation. Messaging is being used in all stages of the customer journey to build more engaged relationships that deliver on those expectations.
And, because messaging is the top-used application on mobile phones, business professionals and consumers alike are always within arm’s reach. In fact, the majority of both groups prefer to communicate with brands and companies via text message. Recent research from KPMG found that half of the people in the U.S. check their phones without being prompted by a notification at least every 10 minutes—evidence that you have a ready audience if you’ve made the effort to create messages that resonate.
Just remember to answer the three questions above before you start your SMS campaign to ensure that your program puts the audience at the center and that you’ve aligned it to business outcomes. Simply the same way you’d approach any other successful marketing program.