In the booming era of digital marketing, one traditional method that’s been overlooked is SMS marketing. A survey by Pew Research Center revealed that 52 percent of adult mobile phone owners sent or received email on their device, 50 percent downloaded a software application, 60 percent accessed the internet, 21 percent participated in a video call, and 81 percent sent or received text messages. This will grow with each passing day.
Don’t miss the bus. Texting your customers works, but it won’t if you do something awkward like sending them texts late at night. An effective SMS campaign has to be a pleasant experience for the consumer. There is a balance to be struck. A tightrope to be walked.
According to CMO Council, 65 percent of US smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of rising and 64 percent check their phones within 15 minutes of going to bed. That means businesses have to fine-tune their SMS marketing strategies.
Here are the DOs and DON’Ts that will make your SMS marketing, a savvy one.
1. Timing is Everything
You’re a busy marketer and expect an overnight success on your email campaigns. You expect soaring open rates and click through rates. This may not be possible with SMS campaigns. SMS is a point of use tool. The timing has to be perfect for the audience to see the message and react to it.
Don’t flood customers with invitations. Keep it to three or four in a month. More than that can be annoying. On the other hand, if you are too slow in messaging, they may not have time to react and initiate a purchase on the sale day. So play your cards wisely.
Juniper Research reports that 97 percent of SMS text messages are read by the cell phone owner. Furthermore, 90 percent of those SMS text messages are read in the first 4-6 minutes of delivery! Send the text when you want a customer to act. If you are a late night eatery with customized packages, limit your messaging evenings and nights. Do your messaging during your business hours.
2. Include a Call to Action
SMS messages are short. Tailor-make them to be easily digestible. In the 160 characters of a standard message, include important details, but spare the customer any excess information. Instead, tell people what they can do next. The length of the CTA should be dependent on the length of the text.
Remember: You’re not texting a friend. You’re pitching a customer. Ensure that your audience is aware of the things they have to do. For example, after a free signup on your website, send a message with a coupon code that offers a discount on a paid subscription. The message has to be clear with the date on which the code expires. CMO Council says that 44 percent of consumers want brands to deliver deals and coupons to their mobile devices.
3. Allow Two-way Communication
It’s good to develop a relationship with your customers. When they reply to your messages asking for more information, throw a few goodies their way. This will invite more communication.
Try to draw a parallel from the “Unsubscribe” button in newsletters. If they are not happy or don’t want your SMS messages in their inbox, give them an option to leave the list. Include instructions on how they can opt-out of the messaging list. A simple reply with “STOP” should suffice. Keep this message clear. It instills confidence about your brand that you are not a spammer.
1. Don’t Send Without Segmentation
Mobile devices are a personal tool. People can get annoyed if they receive messages unrelated to their preferences. It is not the same platform as email. That being said, the open rate of SMS messages is close to 100 percent. Relevant content can bring great results.
Audience / Prospect / Customer segmentation is key to SMS marketing. This helps you send relevant messages and avoid flab.
2. Don’t Send by Schedule
Email marketing is all about consistency and SMS marketing is all about real-time action. When you send an email once or twice a month, you do it consistently. On the other hand, you should use text messages to inform customers with news and updates. Real-time information is what gives value to your SMS marketing initiatives.
3. Don’t be Elaborate
If you have too much to tell in a single short message, rewrite your message. Don’t squeeze everything into an SMS. It will get boring and long-winded. Less is more in SMS marketing. Try to shorten any links so that they won’t eat as many characters. Focus on three Cs: Content, Clarity and Concision.
There’s no question that SMS messaging is a wonderful tool for any marketer’s toy box. The issue boils down to how it is used. Focus on real-time action, timing and an efficiency of language.