What you need to know about SMS Marketing
SMS marketing is a perfect business choice if you want to communicate with your customers/audience in a fast, efficient and inexpensive way. There are more than 6 billion mobile devices in the world today. SMS reached more than 3 billion people using these 6 billion devices. This means that SMS is ruling the mobile market and is the most used tool on smartphones, despite mobile development with an abundance of mobile apps and easiness to access and browse the net on a mobile phone.
SMS marketing or text messaging marketing is one of the most efficient ways to engage customers, grab their attention and gain their loyalty. To support this claim, we’ll give you just a few interesting data points:
- 98% of SMS messages are opened and read
- 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes
- 10X higher redemption rate of mobile coupons vs. printed coupons
Knowing all this, it might seem easy to use SMS for marketing purposes. But, communicating effectively via SMS takes quite a bit of effort. But, like any other marketing activity, SMS marketing has its own rules and good and bad practices. Here are the top 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts of SMS marketing.
SMS messages are short. Just 160 characters long. One of the best ways to craft an effective message is to use the “5 W’s and one H” of journalism – Who, What, Where, When, Why & How. The last W (Why) and the H (How) are the best foundation for your call-to-action (CTA). You’re telling customers what to do after they read your SMS marketing message. Example: WHY – to get your coupon; HOW – by texting the keyword to a shortcode.
2. Be brief
As we mentioned above, SMS is a short form. You must be focused and skillful to write short, yet effective SMS marketing message to grab your customers’ attention. The best way to do this is by applying the KISS principle: Keep it Short and Simple.
3. Start with an attention grabber
One more tip related to only 160 characters to play with. You must use each character smartly! This is the reason why you must find something effective that will engage your customers and immediately grab their attention. Start your SMS marketing message with an attention grabber – one or a couple of words in capitals. Example: “NEWS,” “SALE” or “SPECIAL OFFER.”
4. Make your customers feel like VIPs
SMS marketing is permission-based. You’re not allowed to contact people without their permission. So, the audience that permitted you to market to them, expects to receive valuable information from you. Furthermore, they expect to feel special. Reward their loyalty by making them feel like a part of an exclusive VIP club – offer them value, special offers, exclusive discounts, etc. that aren’t available elsewhere.
5. Timing is everything
SMS is very personal. It lands directly into customers’ hands so you must consider the times of day when it is most appropriate to send your marketing messages. It is crucial to choose the right time. Simply, try walking in your customers’ shoes – would you like to receive promotional messages late at night, very early in the morning or during the rush hour? Of course not! To quote Confucius: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
1. Don’t bombard customers with messages
Timing is crucial, but the frequency is equally important. Never ever send messages just to say you’re sending something. If you don’t have anything useful to say or offer, simply stay silent. Your SMS marketing messages must deliver value and a real-time benefit to those who opted in for your SMS communication. Otherwise, you’ll just annoy people and eventually start losing subscribers. Remember, less is more!
2. Avoid text slang and abbreviations
Although you have just 160 characters to work with, texting abbreviations are risky to use in business communication. The same applies to a text slang. Remember, not everyone understands texting abbreviations and slang. Although it might seem smart to take advantage of the limited space in a more rational way, you’re risking to confuse your customers. You can even disable them so they can understand your message correctly. If your audience has no idea what you’re talking about, they will simply ignore the message, or even worse, decide to unsubscribe. Professionalism in SMS marketing communication has to stay on a certain level. Furthermore, unprofessional language can harm the perception of your brand.
3. Don’t forget a call-to-action
We’ve already explained that CTA is a huge must, not only in SMS marketing communication but in marketing and advertising in general. People simply like to be told what to do after they’ve seen certain marketing message. If you don’t tell them what their next action should be after they’ve read your marketing content, your message has no point at all. Don’t leave your customers confused or expect them to figure out on their own what to do. Just, tell them!
4. Don’t try to sell – ALWAYS
Seth Godin said that your prospects are exposed to some 3,000 marketing messages a day. Now, imagine a majority of them being a sales pitch? As many are. The consumer market is over-saturated with marketing messages. Have this in mind when planning your SMS marketing campaign. It is legitimate that you want to sell more products/services, but you must have boundaries. Remember, you are speaking to people, after all. Don’t forget to take a more personal and human approach when communicating with your audience. They will appreciate it much more than if you’re just pitching to them.
5. Don’t forget to identify yourself
As in any other situation in life, when you’re meeting someone new, the first thing you do is introducing yourself. Why would SMS marketing communication be any different? Make sure your subscribers know who is texting them because this is of key importance for your brand recognition. Once you clearly identify yourself to your audience, your messages immediately become relevant and engaging. Otherwise, if you text anonymously, your messages might be considered SPAM.
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