There is no doubt that SMS marketing has become increasingly popular for businesses around the globe. Consumers can’t seem to get off their mobile phones, or at least always have them in arms reach, so sending a simple text message is the best way to grab their attention.
Studies have shown that 96% of adults in the US own a mobile phone, and most text messages being read within 3 minutes of being received. So, it’s no wonder that SMS marketing is becoming the fastest growing marketing channel.
However, as this direct form of communication is highly personal and somewhat invasive, there is an art sending mass text messages in a way that is positive, and valuable to your business.
According to the experts at SMS Comparison, here are the 6 top tips to remember:
1. Gain permission
The first and probably most important factor to consider when planning to conduct any form of text message marketing is getting consent from the recipient. There are many American laws and regulations surrounding mobile marketing, like those set by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), so businesses must make note of the do’s and don’ts before engaging in an SMS marketing campaign.
Without gaining permission to send text messages, businesses can land themselves in hot water. Luckily, getting people to opt-in to your SMS marketing campaign is simple. The most popular way to get people to opt-in is by sending a text message with a keyword or shortcode. Other ways are to sign up online or complete a form by hand. Either way, businesses should be completely transparent and not be deceptive in their marketing messages. This will diminish any likelihood of legal consequences for unsolicited text messages being sent without consent.
What’s just as important, is the ability for consumers to also opt-out, whether this is through text STOP messages or be given opportunities to be taken off the business’s contact list.
2. Provide value
You must provide value in every single text message sent. This includes knowing what the meaning of the text message is, and the expectations of the business. Without this, recipients will most likely opt-out, or simply not take any further action.
In order to provide value, businesses should consider what the overarching object is. Are you sending regular updates regarding upcoming sales and discounts? Or are you sending alerts or reminders for bookings and appointments? Customers must know the reason they are being texted, and why it is valuable to them.
When we think of customer value, we typically think of monetary savings and discounts. However, value can also be offered through things like reminders and alerts, early access to events or campaigns, or other privileges that may only be offered to those who opt-in to the SMS service.
Thus, before beginning the SMS marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to map out the schedule ahead of time, with planned text messages, the timing of them, and who you will be sending them to.
3. Clear call to action
In conjunction with creating that customer value, a business must provide a clear call to action. There is no point in creating value through a text message if customers don’t know what they are supposed to do with the information. The call to action must be clear and easy for the customer to conduct the desired behavior.
There are many ways a business can incorporate call to actions in their text message marketing campaigns. This includes shortcodes (texting a code to a number to enter a competition), clickable links, or other clear instructions to promote activity.
A business must also create an incentive for the behavior by highlighting the key benefits of that action. These incentives must align with the overarching value, for example, include great savings, or be as simple as confirming a restaurant booking.
Ultimately, it is these incentives, along with the core values, and clear call to actions which is key to the success of an SMS marketing campaign.
4. Timing and consistency (without being spammy)
Timing is everything when it comes to sending a text message. Receiving an SMS at a bad time can be the difference between whether your message is received positively or negatively.
A business must understand the best times to send a text message that will be likely to result in behavior. For example, 4 am in the morning would not be an effective time, nor would rush hour on the way to work, so maybe choosing a time during the day would be best, or in the evening when the recipient is likely to be at home.
If you are sending an appointment reminder, ensure you are reminding the user at least 24 hours beforehand, as well as closer to the time.
Along with timing, comes consistency. Regular text message reminders can help audiences not forget about things like upcoming sales or new product releases.
With the help of automated messaging and keyword tracking, businesses can remain consistent, and time their SMS bursts to ensure they are sending messages to the right people at the right times.
5. Measure success
As with any marketing campaign or platform, it is important that you measure the success of your efforts and whether you’re gaining a return-on-investment (ROI). This will ensure that you’re not simply throwing money down the drain and the SMS marketing is benefiting the company.
Many SMS providers offer delivery reports, and text message analytics to enable businesses to analyze effectiveness through things such as open rates and click-through rates (CTR). Ultimately, with this information, businesses can work out the conversion rate of the desired activity.
6. Choose the right SMS provider
It’s important to understand that not all SMS providers are created equally. Some companies pride themselves on offering the cheapest prices per text message with lower reliability, whilst other premium providers focus more on customer service and the ability to send large volumes of text messages immediately, with a 100% success rate.
Businesses must determine what their individual SMS marketing needs are and whether they require things like immediacy or further customer support.
However, in the highly-saturated SMS market, choosing the right provider for your business isn’t an easy task. Luckily, SMS Comparison has done the hard work for you and provides a simple, comprehensive SMS gateway comparison table. This compares the leading mass text message providers based on key selection criteria.
In conclusion, these 6 core factors are essential for USA businesses of any size to consider before undertaking SMS marketing behaviors. Businesses must understand and respect the values of the industry, as well as their audiences to promote a successful mass text message campaign.