Here’s a massive statistic: 8.6 Trillion text messages are sent every year on average. 6 Billion per day in the US alone.
That’s over 20 times the number of Tweets and 12 times the number of Facebook messages sent daily.
With all the messaging going on, it’s no wonder marketing teams are finding SMS marketing to be extremely successful. In many industries, mobile messaging provides the most effective direct marketing channel.
If you’re running mobile messaging campaigns, or are thinking about starting, here’s some tips from what we’ve seen work well.
Tip 1 – Segment Your Audience
I often hear people complain about the SMS or email marketing they receive. Most people report “almost all the marketing messages I get are useless.”
But when you dig a bit deeper, you find that when you send the right message to the right customer, they say “I liked that message, but that wasn’t marketing, that was useful!”
Segmentation and targeting means ensuring any individual gets the message most relevant to them. It can make the difference between seeming like an informational message and spam.
Integrate your CRM with your messaging platform. Make sure you use purchase history, demographics and any other data you have to ensure you get the right message to the right people. As most of your customers have smartphones now you can also track which mobile campaigns are getting clicks and engagement, to help you continuously improve over time.
Tip 2 – Timing is Key
As they say, timing is everything. There are two important aspects of timing that you should pay attention to if you want your SMS campaign to be successful. First, open-ended messages are less successful than messages that have deals that expire. Create the text of your SMS to portray that the deal is “expires soon” or something similar.
The second aspect of this tip is completely unrelated to the last. You want to make sure your SMS messages are sent at opportune times. For example when someone buys a particular product, you could send him or her an SMS message about a related product in hopes of getting him or her interested.
Marketing emails on Saturdays often produce dire results, but SMS can often have its best day on a Saturday. Experiment with timing.
Tip 3 – There’s Power in Triggered Messages
The average email open rate climbs gradually after sending for about 24 hours. The average SMS open rate spikes, with 70% of opens happening in the first 60 minutes.
This immediacy allows for triggered SMS messages. For example, if you have a regular customer over a period of time, and they stop coming into your store, you can send them a text with deals to get them to come back.
These messages can be triggered by any action (or inaction) by the customer, from not coming to visit your ecommerce shop to buying a particular product. These triggered messages are also great ways to ask for feedback from your customers. If they make a 5th visit this month, you can present them with a survey to learn more about your VIPs.
Tip 4 – Short, Sweet, and Simple
This may be the most important tip to follow if you want your SMS campaign to be successful. For one thing, remember that most carriers limit the length of a text message to 160 characters. Besides that, however, the faster you get to the meat of your message, the better.
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That’s a fantastic message, since it gets right to the point, offers easy instructions on what to do, and tells the customer that the deal expires soon. You also want to make sure you’re not sending trivialities to your customers. Send things that you know at least some of them will be interested in pursuing further. Frivolous text messages are likely to annoy your customers, which is something you obviously want to try and avoid.
Tip 5 – Prettify Your Links
Let’s face it, URLs are unsightly even when they turn out normally. Add in URL tracking extensions and it can get really ugly. The best way to solve this problem is to use a URL shortener like Google’s Goo.gl or Bit.ly. These take your unsightly URL and transform them into a short URL that looks much better.
(SparkPage automatically shortens links and can use your brand’s custom URL)
There’s another benefit to using a URL shortener: It saves you space. We’ve already talked about how important it is for you to keep things short and simple.
Tip 6 – Don’t Be a Spammer
Finally, remember that the ability to send an SMS to a potential (or past) customer is a privilege, not a right. If you bother them too often, or send messages with no point, then you are likely to lose that privilege. Nobody likes spam so don’t send it.
Good messages should be anticipated, they should be personal and they should be relevant. A good marketing message is one your customer will miss if you don’t send. That’s what you should be aiming for.
SMS campaigns can be hard to get right. While spam in email is something customers are used to ignoring (thanks to spam folders), they aren’t quite as used to it with SMS. That means you want to find the right balance between the content of your message and the time that you send it.
If you can successfully coordinate those two things, you increase your chances of a successful SMS campaign.