SMS Campaign: 6 Great tips to get the most from your SMS Marketing Campaigns
Whether or not you already use an SMS Marketing system to drive your business, you are probably aware of the benefits SMS has over standard email or other marketing systems. If considering a jump into the SMS arena, here are some tips that will ease the transition and help you avoid common mistakes often made when dealing with an SMS marketing campaign. If you are an old hand at this, these tips will give your business the extra boost it may have been missing by explaining and then correcting some fundamental flaws.
1. Always Include A Call To Action
The general consensus is that the open rate of text messages hovers right around the 95 percentile mark, so it is a fair bet you will get people’s attention by sending out messages. So now you have their undivided attention. What do you want from them? You must give the customer an option to interact. In other words, have a clear call to action. Include a feature requesting a reply, visitation of a physical address or website, obtain a coupon or simply call a number. In short, tell people what you want them to do.
Expressing what you want to be done is really only half the battle. Entice them! Sweeten the deal by offering something in return. Perhaps you have some super cool software exclusively for customers to try out. Maybe you have written a point paper on some subject that is of interest. Maybe you just want to show appreciation by offering a half-off coupon during a special weekend sales event. Make it available as a download upon customer sign up. The bottom line is they should know in advance what they are getting into before clicking any actionable button you provide.
2. Segment Your Customers
If you are not segmenting you are losing out on a wealth of potential sales. With SMS you can precisely examine your customer base according to individual interests. Services (or a product) can be offered to match what they need or want. Keep your segments small in number and make an honest effort to categorize them in such a way your company can cater to those specific needs. For example, create a segment for customers that purchase product s in large quantities. Another segment may include customers that need a lot of customer service and are willing to pay for it. Still, another segment could be reserved for people who purchase products and expect them to be delivered immediately regardless of cost. These people would be placed in a group needing specialized delivery services. This technique of segmentation will allow for simplicity and better focus on the core needs and desires of your customer base. Stay tuned, since this subject is so important, we will dive into it a bit more in depth in a later post.
3. Be Brief
The nature of SMS is brief, to begin with; at 160 character length limits short, sweet and to the point will serve you best. Maximize information density. Respect your audience and do not attempt to pad an offer with false importance. Learn to give the most information with the least number of words. The best analogy to drive home the point is to imagine you want to learn how to write a simple computer program. You find two books on the subject teaching the exact same thing. Time is of the essence and you need to learn it quickly. One book is 200 pages; the other is 100 pages long. Provided that both are written with clarity and competence, which would you pick? The same concept is at work here. Customers have better things to do than read advertisements all day long. Give them the offer, tell them what you want to be done, provide something in return to sweeten the deal, send a message of thanks and prepare for the next step.
4. Don’t Be Greedy
Just because you are capable of spamming some poor chap’s phone with a never-ending stream of messages, that does not mean you should. There is no fighting with junk mail filters or spam blockers. Your messages go directly to the target audience and bypass all those customers killing advertisement sentinels. With this power comes great responsibility. Don’t overload the customer’s phone with repetitive messages. If you have repeat customers, when sending follow up messages, do not include calls to action that have already been completed. “REGISTER NOW” should not be seen. You already have that person’s information so why ask for it again. It looks like you are paying attention to neither the individual nor what you are offering them. Give them new options or reinforce options they did not initially choose. Finally, allow at least two weeks before you resume sending texts. This is a decent and respectful amount of time, allowing the customer to fully consider what you have offered, before moving on to something else.
5. Always Let the Customer Choose
Many marketing types will tell you that it is not a good idea to let a potential customer off easily. Don’t give them the chance to drop that “hook” you have sunk into them – they say. This is unethical and just bad business. If the product you offer is really of value to the person, there is no need to play games keeping their business. They will continue on their own accord, appreciate your ethical practices and stay loyal.
With the use of participation codes, customers may choose to accept offers by keying in pre-planned codes. This same feature will allow un-registering if the customer is no longer interested. Unsubscribe options should be on every offer you put forth. Examples of such options could include: reply with a “STOP” or “UNSUBSCRIBE” code, a link for them to unsubscribe, or simply provide a phone number to do the same. Not only is this good business practice, it is also the LAW!
6. Guarantee Customer Privacy
This is perhaps the most important aspect of SMS marketing. It is a 100% permission-based medium and operates on trust. Your SMS provider MUST assure confidentiality of your customer information. No one else should be allowed to send messages to your customers other than YOU. The SMS provider should also promise to never sell your customer list or even share it. If you run your own server based SMS service this is a moot point, but most often the independent entrepreneur uses an SMS service where the risks of pilfering client lists are real.
Words are only as strong as the character of the company behind them. If your company starts down the path to a negative reputation with customer privacy, you may as well close your doors. You absolutely must assure your customers that their information is safe. Also, when signing up new customers, only take vital information. The extra demographic data is nice to have but ultimately, not essential. If you think if could scare away potential customers, don’t even think of asking for it. Work with the necessary information, email, phone number etc. Later on, when your relationship with a repeat customer becomes a bit cozier, then additional information may be warranted, but not to begin with. Just like on a first date, go slow!
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