In today’s ultra-connected world, the importance of SMS marketing has grown (and will likely continue to grow) at a breakneck pace. As with all changes to the business landscape, this challenge is also an opportunity for those who know how to properly adapt to the changing market conditions. Here are five ways to ensure that your SMS campaign is as effective and efficient as it can be.
Preparation Is Paramount
One of the most common mistakes businesses make with their SMS campaigns is to begin a campaign without first building a large enough contact list. Marketing campaigns are a bit like painting a room: you need to spend more time preparing for what you are trying to accomplish than you think. Taping up the windows, floorboards, and door jambs are the equivalent of preliminary campaigns to help develop a lengthy and well-targeted contact list. Both usually take longer than anticipated; both are essential to do a job right. Take the time to build an extensive SMS contact list before you spend the time and money on the SMS campaign itself.
What Gets Measured Gets Better
There is a great deal of truth to this old adage; however, many ventures fail to track much more than the response rate of a given SMS message. The truth is that the better you can understand the metrics associated with your campaign, the better you can develop success moving forward. Look into a few pre-made dashboards for SMS campaigns. These have already been tried and tested by other organizations, and there is no need to reinvent an already very good wheel.
Choose the Correct Frequency (and Stick to it)
Nothing will make you lose customers faster than bombarding them with SMS messages. At the same time, however, if you do not send marketing messages frequently enough, you will lose out on potential sales. To ensure that you are sending texts at the correct frequency, you can do two things. The first is to let the customer know how often they will be receiving texts. For instance, when they sign-up for a promotion, be sure to make it clear that they will receive no more than a given number of texts a month. This will allow you the flexibility to send texts when market or product variables demand it, while also reassuring the customer that they will only receive a limited amount of the most pertinent marketing information over SMS. The second is to stick to a steady schedule as much as possible. You may need to send two messages in a given week, but if at all possible keep to a set messaging schedule. This will allow you to get your message out without disenfranchising customers with too many messages.
Include a Simple Call to Action
Even if a customer opens your SMS, reads your SMS, and wants to buy something, they are unlikely to actually do so unless they can do it right then and there from their phone. One of the worst mistakes you can make in a SMS marketing campaign is to use your messages as mere advertisements. Make sure every message also acts as a portal to an interaction. This can be something as simple as asking the customer to reply to the message for more information, but one of the most powerful tools you can use is a link shortener. This will allow you to include a simple, short, and direct link to your products that a customer can access right from the SMS.
Timing Is Everything
You cannot simply send SMS messages whenever it is convenient for your marketing team. You need to pre-plan what days and times would be best. You will want to consider holidays, of course; however, many people fail to take into account other variables such as the day of the week (Mondays have the worst response rate). You do not want to message people too early in the morning or too late at night. Use 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM as a rough guideline for a window of time to send messages. Finally, be sure to take into account the local time of your customer! Especially in our current borderless marketplace, you want to make sure that your customers in Chicago, LA, and Tokyo are all getting messages that do not wake them up in the middle of the night.
Whatever you are planning for your next SMS marketing campaign, it will pay big dividends to take the time to prepare it well, to measure your results, to send messages at a steady frequency, to include simple calls to action, and to time your messages well. If you adhere to these five simple guidelines, you are likely to see returns on your marketing investment that will make you glad you did.