13 July 2015

8 tips for more powerful SMS marketing

SMS marketing may sound simple, but there are certain practices you need to be familiar with to take advantage of this successful method of marketing.

We all know that SMS marketing can be a wonderful direct marketing tool. The personal and portable nature of a mobile phone means you can reach customers anywhere, around the clock. SMS also has a much higher engagement rate than email marketing, with an amazing 90 percent read rate within 30 seconds of receipt.

But like anything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do SMS marketing. How do you implement SMS marketing for your business? Here are eight tips to help you get it right.

1. Make it opt-in

Encourage customers to opt in rather than blasting them with a surprise message. The mobile phone is an intensely personal device, and messages from an unfamiliar number can feel intrusive.

2. Offer value

Ensure your message delivers something of value and relevance to the target recipient: whether that’s a special offer, coupon code, exclusive invitation or useful information.

3. Get the timing right

Sending a message at 3:00 am is an obvious no-no, but consider what your target audience might be doing at a particular time of day. Many people use their phones during the morning commute, but not if they’re driving. Sports fans aren’t going to want a big game disrupted, however, relevant messages may be welcomed at half time, for example, ‘Win tickets to the finals’ or ‘Click here to guess the final score and win’.

4. Be interactive

Always include a call-to-action. SMS text messaging is highly interactive, with URLs enjoying much higher click-through rates than links in emails. You can use SMS messages to prompt customers to vote, complete questionnaires or take part in research surveys. This is a great way to gain knowledge to help shape future marketing strategies.

5. Speak the right language

Even if you think your target audience are teens or hipsters, avoid text speak. You are a business. You want to appear professional as well as engaging, so use language to reflect that. People don’t go to their bank or their supermarket for a slang-filled conversation of ‘ROFL’ and ‘YOLO’ – it just makes customers cringe. Just be yourself. Be clear, be accurate, be friendly.

6. Exploit the urgency

The instant nature of text messaging, with its near-immediate read rates, means that you can offer ‘spot’ deals to customers. Messages are sent in real time and instantly delivered via an SMS gateway, so there’s none of the delay you get with email and other forms of direct marketing.

7. Respond quickly

Customers expect a quick response with text messaging, so if you’ve asked them to interact, confirm their actions immediately. Customer participation can be easily and quickly rewarded, and if the campaign is tightly integrated across multiple channels and uses various other mobile social media, customers can even promote and share your message.

8. Measure your success

Track the delivery of your message and the response rate, such as open rates and click-throughs to a URL. This can help you compare with previous campaigns so you can analyse what worked and what didn’t, and tailor future campaigns using your findings.

Consider your business and how it would benefit from location-based or mobile communication focused promotions. Your potential audience is huge, with high and ever-increasing mobile phone ownership rates across the globe, as well as a significant consumer preference for texting over other forms of communication. This presents a great opportunity for savvy marketers whose product or service logically applies to SMS marketing.

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