SMS marketing has been around now for over 25 years and it still remains the most response direct marketing channel available.
Whether sending SMS via an SMS API of a web-based platform, most companies now use SMS as integrated part of their marketing strategy.
According to Helloworld, SMS has a response rate that is 6 – 8 times higher than email and astonishingly, 98% of texts received are read within 5 minutes.
With SMS being so popular it’s easy to fall into bad habits. Here, we run through a 6-point checklist to consult before sending your next SMS campaign.
Is my SMS campaign legal?
SMS marketing campaigns are subject to strict data protection regulations that govern how personal data can be used for direct marketing.
The rules are in place to protect consumers from receiving an avalanche of SMS spam. Thanks to these new rules, introduced in both the US and EU, SMS spam has largely been wiped out.
Regulators have the power to hand out massive fines to companies that break the SMS marketing rules, so it’s essential that you make sure your mobile data has the appropriate ‘opt in’.
Have you used text speak in your message?
Most people absolutely hate it, so using text speak in your bulk sms campaigns should be avoided at all costs.
It can come across as incredibly unprofessional and what’s worse is that some of your customers might not understand what you mean.
Always use plain English in you texts and keep your offer short, simple and easy to respond to.
Have you included an opt out?
You are required by law to provide a way in which customers can opt out from receiving further texts from you.
To opt out a customer would normally just reply ‘stop’ to the message. It’s then up to the sender to ensure that the customer record is flagged as opted out so that no further messages are sent.
The opt out rules don’t apply to texts that are not about selling. So, if your message is about anything to do with a customer account, then you don’t need to use the opt out.
Have you optimised your website for mobile?
Most text marketing campaigns will be encouraging customers to click through to a website to find out more and respond to the offer.
It’s a fairly obvious point that the website that people visit should be properly optimised for use on a mobile.
Before launching your SMS campaign, ask yourself the following questions.
- What’s the first impression you are giving to customers when they click the link in the text?
- Did the site load quickly and properly?
- Can customers respond to the offer directly from the mobile landing page?
- Is it clear what customers need to do to respond to the offer?
Have you used a URL shortener in the text?
A text only contains 160 characters. It’s not a lot to play with. Within those confines, you have to introduce yourself, make an offer and give prospects a clear and simple way of responding. It’s not an easy task.
By using a URL shortener to reduce the length of the web link in your text, you’ll be maximising the number of characters that you have for convincing your prospects to take up the offer.
There are many URL shorteners to choose from and it’s an easy way of winning back a few precious characters.
Have you segmented your mobile data?
One of the key benefits of using SMS as a marketing tool is that it’s quick and easy to deploy. There are no creative agencies or expensive media planners to get involved.
To take full advantage, you need to make sure that the message you are sending is appropriate to your particular audience.
Most companies hold vast amounts of customer data which can be used to make the text offer as targeted and relevant as possible.
By segmenting your data and sending tailored messages to specific types of customer, you’ll increase your response rate at no additional cost.
SMS marketing is one of the most effective marketing weapons available. If used with care and moderation, it can produce astonishing results that can transform businesses.
But it’s easy to fall into bad habits. It’s easy to dash off another text campaign without much consideration and hope it performs well.
By taking the time to run through this brief checklist before sending your next campaign, you’ll improve you results and ensure that your campaigns are performing as well as they possibly can.
About Henry Cazalet
Henry is a founder and Director of The SMS Works, a low cost and reliable SMS API for developers.
The company has a very simple point of difference. It only charges for delivered SMS. All failed messages are credited back to customers' accounts. Most business SMS companies charge for failed texts.
He has nearly 20 years of experience in mobile and SMS marketing and is keen to help companies of all sizes reduce their business SMS bill.