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How to send customised SMS (while saving time)

When it comes to engaging with your audience, adding personal touches to your messaging goes a long way. When you hit send on an SMS, you get 160 characters to make a lasting and personal impression. Meanwhile, coming across as a robot can cause your recipients to not think twice about opting out and looking elsewhere.

These days, mobile phones are often an extension of ourselves; it’s a connection to our nearest and dearest. Psychology research shows that getting a notification on our phones increases dopamine, our happy hormone; anticipation rises. That’s why it’s no surprise that SMS open rates are five times higher than that of emails. Plus, 90% of SMS messages are read within 90 seconds.

That being said, humans have short attention spans. So, if you’re going to capture the attention of your audience, make sure you hold on to it. Small gestures, such as including a friendly greeting and their first name, can make you stand out. Let’s go through other ways you can leverage the power of SMS and human connection.

Let them know they have your undivided attention

According to KPMG’s Customer Experience Excellence Report, personalisation matters most in customer experience in Australia, the US and the UK. Demonstrating customers’ specific circumstances are understood and providing focused attention goes a long way. Tailoring your text messages and validating their needs is an easy way to do this.

There are simple ways to send bulk SMS without sounding generic or insincere. Similar to mail merge, contact lists can include custom fields (or merge tags). Collate mobile numbers, names, addresses, dates, times, services and everything in between in a spreadsheet. Match each column to a tag and we will populate the placeholders when you hit send.

SMS Personalisation in portal

These humble fields impress customers and save countless industries valuable time. Fill in date and time fields to send reminders, delivery updates, shift notifications and more. Confirm a service is booked or a product has been purchased by text, so customers know they’re understood. Here are a few examples:

Hi #FirstName#,
Guess what! Your order #OrderNumber# has been delivered. Please store fridge and freezer items ASAP to keep them fresh. Until next time!

Hi #TenantProspect#,
How did you like #StreetName#? Get in touch for more information about similar property listings in #Suburb#.
To unsubscribe, tap #OptOutLink#

Hi #ClientName#,
This is a friendly reminder that you have a #AppointmentName# tomorrow at #Time#. We look forward to seeing you!
Reply STOP to unsubscribe

Free resource: Grab even more ready-to-use SMS templates for key industries to save you some time.

Get to know your customers and contacts (and vice versa)

A 2019 global study has found that personalisation drives loyalty in 98% of markets. When looking at the 5 pillars of advocacy – personalisation, resolution, empathy, expectations, time and effort  – personalisation was most important. Knowing a company is just a text message away gives customers, patients and clients peace of mind. And there are a few simple features that help people know you are reliable and trustworthy.

Using sender IDs or alpha tags help your recipients to recognise you. Rather than send messages from multiple different numbers, streamline customer service by using a single number in a single conversation string. Dedicated mobile numbers allow you to have two-way conversations. Contacts will be able to initiate communication on their terms, save your number, and look back on a thread.

Recommended reading: Dedicated (virtual) phone numbers and how they work

To let customers know you’ve been paying them extra attention, segment your contact list based on characteristics and past behaviours. Start with the basics, like geography, gender and age, and then progress to more specific buckets. Attributes might include purchasing history and frequency, activity or inactivity, interests, and so on.

Bonus tip: If you are unsure how to gather this data, consider sending out an SMS survey.

Our portal also uses a tagging system, which means a single contact can be in multiple groups at once. For example, assign a location-based tag as well as a ‘not active’ tag to narrow your contact down further. This will not only improve your SMS campaign effectiveness; messages will be more relevant and resonate with your customers better.

Streamline messaging without sounding generic

While using a template sounds like your message could come across as robotic, this doesn’t need to be the case. As mentioned, merge tags allow you to add customised elements for each recipient. In addition to saving you time, using pre-saved templates will keep your tone of voice consistent and compliant. Each message will be in line with your company language, regardless of who in your team is sending it.

SMS Templates in portal

On a similar note, you can set up automated communication flows… without sacrificing on that tailor-made approach. As mentioned, using a dedicated number enables two-way conversations. This means customers can initiate a live conversation experience. Plus, businesses can send customers multiple-choice options and follow-up questions.  Here are some examples of customised auto-replies.

Event Management SMS example
SMS Delivery Tracking example

Bonus tip: Contacts can be split into workflows or automations based on their replies; this works by setting up keyword triggers.

As a business, you want to do it all: increase ROI, save time, and keep your customers and staff happy. By customising messages and streamlining workflows, you can do just that. Daily tasks can run like clockwork while building strong relationships with your customers keeps on ticking. Make sure your data is up to date and sending customised SMS will fall into place.

Additional thoughts, further reading

  • Keep etiquette and social sending in mind and don’t overdo it. Sometimes less is more; focus on the quality of your messages, not the number of SMS broadcasts you send. Always include an opt-out option in your messages and respect their wishes.
  • Don’t limit yourself to text messages alone; stand out with MMS and mobile landing pages. These can include bar codes, individual discount codes or unique links to a survey. For example, you could send a ‘birthday card’ with a redeemable voucher.

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