SMS Marketing can create a great positive effect on targeted audience whether it’s an online business or a brick-and-mortar business. Activities related to selling, purchasing, and advertising of any products and services using mobile devices are classified as mobile marketing. Of course, you always want to be on top in your business and mobile will help you greatly. Astounding use of mobile in day to day life results in popularity of mobile marketing in business. The increment in a number of mobile users over desktop users is one of the reasons to include mobile marketing in business strategies.
Successful SMS Marketing Strategies
If you’re ready to dive into SMS marketing and leverage this amazingly powerful channel it’s important that you’re set up for success and not just using mobile for mobile sake.
Understand Your Goals
When diving into mobile marketing, it’s common to approach it as its own initiative. That’s typically the worst direction to take. Businesses that approach mobile as a silo will almost never get the results they were hoping for or even expected. Before diving into your execution, it’s wise to review your business and marketing goals so that you’re creating your SMS campaign through a lens that takes your current business goals into account.
Having S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Specific) will assure your SMS campaign is executed in a way that meets your objectives.
It’s important to understand that your SMS campaign will likely impact many parts of your organization, so communicating your goals and strategy clearly throughout the organization is critical.
Build an Ark
Just like your 8 steps to a social media strategy, no one person can manage the entire SMS strategy. Your SMS mobile campaign will impact many departments of your company. Having a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the SMS programs will be one of the most important parts of winning with SMS.
One of the most common reasons SMS campaigns fail is that the call-to-action isn’t presented in a way that the consumer recognizes or understands what to do.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Our mobile device is one of, if not the most personal device we have. The consumers that welcome you into their phone, especially through SMS, should be considered some of your most loyal customers.
With that said, you want to treat your most loyal customers with some extra love, and a great way to do that incentivizes customers to opt-in by giving something of value.
Permission Is Required
Just like email, SMS is a permission-based opt-in channel.
Your customer needs to clearly opt-in to receiving what you’re offering.
This can happen one of two ways:
- By texting a keyword to a short code (such as the Pepsi example from above), or
- By submitting their number via a web-form.
Either way, it needs to be obvious the customer has consented to receive these messages.
You can’t just look through old customer records and add mobile numbers to your database and then message those customers.
In addition to permission, your SMS campaigns need to be compliant.
There are three entities that govern the mobile industry, specifically SMS. i.e. The CTIA, FCC, and the Mobile Marketing Association.
The FCC is responsible for The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act). As of October 16th, 2013, there were new changes to the TCP that affected all organizations using SMS.
The new changes include:
- “Established business relationship” requirement replaced “prior written express consent” requirement.
- “Prior written express consent” can’t be a condition of any purchase.
- Both requirements need to be clearly displayed to customers before they opted for a text message marketing campaign.
To account for “prior written express consent,” you must include language similar to the below:
“By participating, you consent to receive text messages sent by an automatic dialing system.”
To account for the condition of purchase consent, include:
“Consent to these terms is not a condition of purchase.”
And to comply with the wireless carriers, you need to include:
- STOP and HELP, instructions
- Terms and Conditions
- Business entity
- Disclosure of additional carrier charges
Over 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes. That makes SMS one of, if not the most immediate channel available to connect with your audience.
Understanding this immediacy is important to your success and driving customer action.
If you have an event on Friday evening, sending an SMS message any time before Thursday evening is too soon.
With your messages guaranteed to reach your customer and disrupt whatever it is they are doing, it’s important that you aim to deliver extremely high value via a very clear and concise call-to-action.
Since SMS messages only allow for 160 characters (some of which requires your compliance language from above) it’s important to be short, sweet, and to the point.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when using SMS is not sending messages consistently enough.
Like any other aspect of marketing, you should be leveraging any marketing or promotional character at your disposal. If there isn’t one, you should be sure to create one and use that as the foundation for your messaging calendar.
When it comes to messaging your customers, you obviously want to have something of value to say within each message, but going months without connecting via SMS is likely going to cause a high unsubscribe rate with every send.
Some of the most successful businesses leveraging SMS today, such as Starbucks, Target, Macy’s, JC Penney, are sending at least one message a week to stay at the top of the minds of their customers.
In general, mobile is one of the most dependent marketing channels that exist. When it comes time to promote your SMS program and drive adoption, it’s important to leverage all of your existing media outlets, whether that’s TV, radio, print, in-store signage, online, social, email, etc.
Performing an audit of your existing media assets to identify where you can integrate your SMS calls-to-action will help align you with the right teams to make sure the creative development process includes the SMS integration.
Remember, you’ll want to make sure the SMS CTA is clear and easy to read—not buried somewhere in the signage.
Your goal isn’t to check a box by having an SMS CTA integrated within your existing media; it’s to extend the reach and interactivity of your existing media and create an opportunity for continued engagement.
Performing an audit will identify all of the media outlets to integrate your CTA so that you can be on the same page as the rest of your cross-functional team.
When it comes to SMS there are a handful of things you can do from a measurement perspective. The great thing is that they are all fairly easy to manage. Here are a few metrics to follow when executing an SMS campaign:
- Subscriber Growth: Monitor your growth rate each and week and identify which activities make the list grow.
- Subscriber Churn Rate: This is the frequency at which people are opting out of your SMS program over time. Ideally, your program never goes over 2-3% churn rate.
- Cross-Channel Engagement (by keyword): By using different SMS keywords within different media outlets, you can quickly measure which types of media and media locations are performing best and optimize based on engagement.
- Redemption Rate: This is something you’ll monitor on a campaign-by-campaign basis (or by message) to determine the percentage of customers that redeem your offers and what rates.
- Cost per Redeeming Subscriber: From the redemption rate, you can determine the cost of communicating with each customer that receives your SMS messages.
When it comes time to plan and launch your next SMS marketing campaign, be sure to account for these 10 components and you’ll be well on your way to a successful SMS marketing campaign.
SMS Marketing Best Strategies
Make Sure Your SMS Messages are High Value
Text messaging is an incredibly personal medium. We only give our cell numbers out to a limited circle of people. Even then, we expect only a small number of those people to text us.
That means, at a minimum, you need to know exactly who your audience is and what they expect from your text messaging. An unwanted and/or irrelevant text message from you can be about as creepy as that guy on the subway with no concept of personal space.
Instances to Use SMS Marketing:
- Webinar follow-up
- Appointment or meeting reminders
- Exclusive promotions and news
2. Give People a Reason to Sign Up
SMS marketing should always be permission-based. If you blast out random messages to people who never opted-in, you’ll not only tick them off, but you’ll probably violate an SMS regulation or two.
To avoid that headache, ask customers when they first sign-up what kind of information they wish to receive through SMS. Additionally, let subscribers know how many messages a month they can expect and follow-through.
On the flip-side, provide an option to opt-out of your SMS messages. You’ll establish trust and credibility with your subscribers by including, “Text STOP to unsubscribe,” in your messages to them.
If you want your SMS marketing to work, offer people tantalizing incentives in exchange for their cell number. Offer special coupons, exclusive deals, or insider access to people when they opt-in. Not only will this make them feel like they’re part of an exclusive community, but it’ll ensure a higher rate of engagement on your future SMS communications.
3. Inject Some Urgency into Your SMS
If you send out a marketing text—whether it’s for an upcoming webinar or a new product release—be sure to create a sense of urgency and attach a timeline to it. Don’t merely invite people to download your new piece of content. Instead, give them 24 hours to access it at a discount (or for free).
By attaching a simple expiration on your promotional SMS messages, you’ll motivate people to take action right away rather than letting your text message slip immediately off their radar.
4. Use Fewer Numbers
If you need to create your own shortcode checks out the U.S. Short Code Directory. Not only can you see what companies are using which shortcodes but you can also find out how each shortcode is being used and find inspiration to what to use as yours.
The shortcode directory doesn’t only provide information on who is using which shortcodes because when it comes time to purchase your own shortcode, you can receive help for that through the site as well.
5. Measure and Track Your Success
You can get away with sending several emails to a subscriber once a week or even in a day. The same doesn’t apply to SMS marketing. In fact, four or five messages can be considered excessive. So tracking and measuring the success and impact of your SMS campaign is critical.
Here are five of the most important marketing metrics to track in your SMS campaign:
- Open rates
- Response rates (If the message requires a response.)
- Offers or opt-ins used
- Call tracking (If you invite a subscriber to call a number for more information.)
- Click tracking
5. It’s Easy to Implement, Manage, and Track
With most SMS platforms, you can quickly and easily monitor and measure the performance of each SMS campaign. Because Text Marketing is permission-based, you’re off to an excellent start: you know exactly who you are messaging and, because of that, you can capture highly specific data about your customers including demographics, interests, purchase history, and more! Proving marketing value is the Holy Grail for every marketer, and SMS Marketing, if properly integrated into your CRM, allows you to measure the real-time performance of your text messaging campaigns — even mass texting can be tracked with proficiency.
Have you tried using SMS yet in your business? If so, have you seen success? If you haven’t started, are you thinking of giving it a shot? Contact BulkQ today! Also, stay tuned with us to know more about SMS Marketing!