8 Tips for an Effective SMS Marketing Campaign

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Did you know that text messages remain the most popular form of instant messaging, eclipsing tweets, snaps and averaging about 12 texts for every Facebook message sent?

Text messages are opened quickly and work on mobile phones that aren’t smartphones. That means just about every mobile user can receive your message.

With such a broad base to market to, SMS marketing campaigns are an important part of any multi-channel marketing strategy. Let’s look at some tips for creating effective SMS campaigns.

Audience segmentation

Blasting the same cut and paste message out to your entire database is a surefire road to failure. Not only will you not see the kind of ROI you might like, but the risk of alienating your user base is ever present.

Start by ensuring your CRM is connected to your SMS campaign. Isolate demographics, purchase history, mobile campaigns – any data will help shape your message. Track, report and focus on continual improvement.

Include expiration dates

It’s simple really, open ended campaigns are far less effective than text marketing with an expiration date. Every deal has it’s day. Make sure your customers know when it is.

Experiment with timing

The best times to send a text message to your customers often run counter to other marketing channels. We know that email campaigns aren’t great on weekends but text can be effective. Partially related texts shortly after purchase are a great way to personalise your message. These are triggered messages, and they can work in a variety of contexts.

Triggering your audience

A triggered text is a personalised text sent as the result of a customer action (or inaction). When a customer leaves items in their online cart for more than an hour, trigger a text encouraging them to finalise their checkout. If a regular purchaser is no longer returning, a personalised reminder with a limited time coupon could be the perfect invitation.

Be S.M.A.R.T about your smartphone campaigns

Greg Hickman thinks that marketers should be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Sensitive) about their SMS campaigns, using them as part of a consistent multi-channel marketing campaign. Greg highlights an interesting stat, that around 90% of SMS messages are opened within three minutes of receipt. That’s an incredibly reliable metric for targeted cross channel campaigns.

Collaborate on message

SMS is a pretty simple concept, but ensuring that a company maximises the value of the campaign is a team effort. It’s always good to take a multidisciplinary approach. Bring in relevant team members from IT, in store, digital signage, email and web. Collaborate on the process, and get everyone on message.

Bring calls to action front and center

If you only get one thing right with your SMS marketing campaign, make sure it’s this. Be clear about what your customers need to do.

Text YES to 654710

Where the trigger word is YES, not:

Text the word “YES” to 654710.

Make the call to action (CTA) the focus of your message, and minimise any error or misrepresentation that can occur.

Keep it simple

Just as your call to action should be clear and concise, so too the best overall text campaigns rely on simplicity to connect with the audience. You’ve got about 160 characters to deliver the message, but shorter is definitely sweeter.

20% Off Jeans. Sunday Only. Click Link For More Info.

Use a link shortener to save characters and make the link more ‘click friendly’. If your text campaign is built into your CRM, then you can personalise with a first name. A simple, worthwhile addition to your text message campaign.

What to avoid

Try not to irritate your customers by invading their privacy. The mobile is a very personal tool so obtain your customer’s consent and give them the option to opt-out. This is also important to comply with the Spam Act. You must also ensure your messages contain clear identification of the sender.

Infrequent messaging (months between messages) can cause a high unsubscribe rate. Be sure you have something useful to say with each message, but make sure you message frequently enough that your customers can remember who you are and you stay at the top of their mind.  A good way to help your customer remember you is to provide some context around how they got onto the messaging list.

It is also important to use language that people can easily understand. Jargon and acronyms won’t get your message across efficiently if nobody knows what it means!

Simple yet effective

An SMS marketing campaign can be simple and wide-reaching. Few mediums connect with so much of the population, so it makes sense to use this to your advantage. Treat your SMS contacts with respect, your customers have trusted you with this information and may be put off if you spam.