Marketing September 11, 2014 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,746 Reads share

The 7 Deadly Sins Of SMS Marketing And How To Avoid Them

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Where is your mobile phone right now? Chances are it is either in your pocket, on your desk, or maybe you are reading this off your phone. Is your phone somewhere within reach? I bet it is.

The point I am trying make here is that everybody (me and you including) is chronically attached to their phones and with this comes the question ‘How can marketers can make the most of this new opportunity?’. We can now check our emails on our mobile devices, we use QR codes but SMS remains to be the most personal way you can contact someone. SMS marketing presents a fantastic opportunity for businesses to get close and personal with customers by reaching them on the device they almost always carry with them, their mobile phone.

SMS marketing has some clear advantages to other marketing communication tools (it is cheap, easy to use and unlike emails, text messages tend to get opened and red almost instantaneously, to name a few) but what are the pitfalls? Surely there are ways to get it right and there are ways to get it wrong. And today I would like to present you with the top 7 mistakes people make most often when using SMS marketing, or as I like to call them dramatically: The 7 Sins of SMS Marketing.

# 1. Texting without permission

Contacting someone without their permission is a major faux pas. It is unethical and presents you and your business in bad light. Whenever I receive an unsolicited message my first reaction is ‘How did they get my number?’ I don’t even stop to think twice about the actual message, I know I did not give my permission, the text gets immediately deleted and the phone number gets blocked. There goes your marketing money down the drain.

So don’t buy phone number lists, instead earn your right to send messages. If a person has agreed for you to send them communications, that means they are already interested in your business. Build on that and only send text to people who have agreed to receive them.

# 2. Forgetting to tell customers who you are

The amount of times I have received a text with an exclusive offer and 50% off from … well, I will never know I suppose. We all know that the characters you can use in a text are limited but that is no excuse not to introduce yourself. Write the name of your company and the beginning or the end of the message is not that hard but it might cost you your entire campaign.

What if you send a cleverly written SMS only for the receiver not to know who it is from? Exclusive discount voucher? Great! But where should I redeem it? The coffee shop? My favourite store?

Never assume anything. Introduce yourself!

# 3. Bad Spelling

I myself am guilty of this one. I have sent out a campaign only for someone to point out a silly spelling mistake later. It is not the end of the world but it sure makes a bad impression. Errors can be costly since they can make your business unprofessional and untrustworthy.

This could be easily avoided if you just ask someone else read the message before you send it. Someone you need an extra pair of eyes of spot a mistake.

# 4. Complex messages

Don’t overload your SMS with fluff. Be sharp and to the point. Shorter and more concise messages deliver much better results than long, overloaded with excess words messages. Introduce your business, introduce your offer, a clear call to action and a goodbye are all you need.

Remember, it is called ‘Short Message Service’ for a reason!

# 5. No call to action

The call to action is the most impart part of a message yet so many people forget about it. After all that is the whole idea behind sending SMS.

Whether you ask the receiver to visit your shop or your website, sign up for something or like you one Facebook, your message needs a point.

Even if you send a simple message saying Happy Birthday or Happy New Year, you can still add ‘visit our website for an exclusive discount’.

# 6. Frequency

Another obvious one, but it is crucial to get it right.

You can either fall a victim of what I like to call ‘ghost messenger’ – sending SMS once in a blue moon and the receiver almost forgetting about you or getting the impression that you forget about them. Or going the other end of the spectrum completely – bombarding the client with messages.

Depending on what your business is about, the frequency of SMS you send may vary but 2-3 short SMS a month is considered to be the golden mean.

# 7. Poor timing

This one is pretty logical. If you own a restaurant for example, you can send out SMS announcing a lunch deal at 11.30 or at 3pm. Which one do you think would get more response? Schedule your messages for when the reader would need them or for when they will have the free time to read them and take action.

These are the mistakes a person can make when using SMS marketing. Avoid these and your campaign is bound to be a success.

So tell me, which of these 7 sins are you guilty of?

Images: ”Close up of a man using mobile smart phone/


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Didi Zheleva

Didi Zheleva

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