SMS is one of the world's most dominant medium of communication, as nearly 100% of all devices on the market are SMS enabled. This makes it the mobile channel with the widest reach possible.
Marketing teams are finding SMS marketing to be extremely successful as it is becoming more relevant in many industries as the most effective direct marketing channel. It is considered the top-rated result-producing marketing method, giving marketers the opportunity to reach their customers anywhere at any time, and even more effectively.
Why should your business consider implementing SMS marketing as part of your overall communications strategy?
- It’s budget-friendly - you can send messages at a very cost effective rate
- It hits the exact target - over 97% of text messages are read within the first four minutes
- It gets your customers to act - 19% of people will click a link in an SMS campaign rather than just 4.2% for emails
- It produces results - 30% of SMS campaigns receive average response rates of 30%, compared to 4% for emails.
Stats Source: Smart Insights
Here are 7 simple steps to get you right on the path towards a successful SMS marketing campaign.
1. Define Your Target Audience
The first step towards a successful SMS marketing campaign is defining your audience. It is very crucial to segment your targeted your audience. Segmentation and targeting involve ensuring any individual gets the message most relevant to them. This helps to avoid the risk of having your messages perceived as spam. Failing to segment can have several negative consequences - from a lower ROI to frustrating customers who feel they are part of a mass marketing campaign. An outcome as such will increase the likelihood of your audience opting out of future communications from you. To effectively segment your audience, focus on demographics, past purchase history, geography and previous response history, which is likely to generate a far higher engagement rate than sending a mass-generated campaign.
2. Have A Clear Call-To-Action
Before launching your SMS marketing campaign you need to consider what your goals are. Every campaign you execute should have a direct, clear call-to-action within the body of the message to encourage your customers to engage with you. It is also equally important to integrate your SMS campaigns seamlessly into all aspects of your company’s marketing strategy. Once you understand what it is you want to achieve and how it will affect other marketing aspects of your business, decide on a powerful and clear call-to-action. If a customer does not understand what they are reading in an SMS or exactly what they need to do once they’ve read it, your campaign will fail. Your call to action needs to be straightforward, making it easy for your customers to take the action you want them to. Give your prospect a compelling reason to engage with your campaign.
3. The Power of Triggered Messages
Make effective use of the power of triggered messages by creating a sense of urgency. It is vital to note that short messages are the way forward. Closely consider that your audience has a very short attention time span. Thus, make sure to explicitly state your brand name. The sender ID is used for this purpose, but what your audience is reading when they receive the text is the text itself. Thus, avoid extremely long messages and communicate straight to the point with a sense of urgency. The most commonly advised message length is within 160 characters.
4. Keep It Personal
5. An Integrated Mobile Experience
It’s important to understand that an SMS campaign does not exist in isolation from the rest of your mobile marketing or general marketing efforts. Clickable links embedded into an SMS helps direct your customers to the right place easily. If you intend on directing people to your site, make sure your site is responsive, i.e. mobile friendly. Create an integrated mobile experience for your prospects. To avoid common errors with links in an SMS, make use of URL shorteners like Goo.gl or Bit.ly. You can customize your shortened URL with your brand name. Using URL shortener saves you space and makes your brand name even more emphatic. Also keep in mind that the easier you make it for your customers to do a certain thing, the more likely they will do it.
6. Provide Incentives
Our mobile device is one of our most personal devices. Every campaign sent out actually disrupt a person's private space and time. Thus, you do not want to take for granted the short time it takes to read an SMS. The consumers that welcome you into their phone, especially through SMS, should be considered some of your most loyal customers. A great way to treat your most loyal customers is by giving something of value. Energize your customer relationship management program by always offering your customers a little something extra to ensure that they engage with your campaign. Discounted offers, exclusive privileges, limited access or unique specials are a great way to guarantee engagement with your campaign. The 2 way SMS is a valuable way to engage and gain insight into your market.
7. Consistency and Follow Up
As a general rule of thumb, people don’t like surprises. People like consistency. And in the case of SMS marketing, this rule holds truer than ever. After sending out your SMS campaigns, it is important to stick to whatever clear call-to-action, sense of urgency, offers. Once you have buy-in from your customers, do not spam them. Most successful campaigns connect with their customers on a weekly basis. Be consistent, reliable and follow up with your targeted audience on a regular basis.